Friday, April 16

State and Sada coincide in demanding that the bad faith in the possession of the Pazo de Meirás reaches Franco’s grandchildren


Judgment for the ownership of the pazo de Meirás

Judgment for the ownership of the pazo de Meirás
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The Provincial Court already has in its possession the appeals of all administrations against the sentence that ratifies that the pazo de Meirás It is public but condemns the State to compensate the heirs of the dictator for expenses in good faith since 1975. The State Attorney and the legal representatives of the Diputación and municipalities of Sada and A Coruña basically agree in their arguments in the Supreme Court, although with differences in the appeal of their resources.

The State and Sada are the only ones who agree in claiming that the bad faith in the possession of the Meirás pazo reach out to the dictator’s grandchildren. The Government demands that the Supreme Court certify this point and, if it does not do so, that it admit that knowledge of the illicit nature of the title in the dictator’s wife, Carmen Polo, with whom he was married in a community property regime, and of their daughter, Carmen Franco. Sada claims that bad faith also covers the current heirs, without nuances or subsidiary requests.

The Xunta asks, instead, that the bad faith be extended only until December 29, 2017, date of the death of Carmen Franco, and renounces to claim that this knowledge in the vices of the possession title is extended to the grandchildren of the military coup plotter. The Provincial Council opts for a third way and demands that the pronouncement of the first instance sentence be confirmed, which ordered the Francs to return the pazo without liquidation of the possessory state (A possibility ruled out by the Court when it understood that it contravened the law).

The resources coincide fundamentally in their arguments, although with differences in nuance. While the Xunta and the City Council of Sada demand an express pronouncement on Franco’s bad faith, the State argues that the bad faith possessing the dictator is deduced without a doubt from the sentence and focuses on defending that Carmen Polo, Carmen Franco and the latter’s children were aware of the vices of the possession title, the result of a writing that the Audiencia itself qualifies as “total fantasy”.

All administrations agree when arguing that the sentence contradicts the Civil Code, which establishes that only a person who is ignorant of the fact that there is a defect in their property title or in the way in which they acquired it can be considered a possessor in good faith, as long as in the case of irregularities that are not noticed with a medium diligence. All the administrations consider that this medium diligence would have been enough for both Carmen Polo, witness to the process, and her daughter, Carmen Franco, who lived during all the summers of the dictatorship in the pazo and who inherited the property in 1982, when she still had public surveillance, they would have collected the radical vices of nullity in their possession for continued use as an official residence, maintained with public funds and personnel throughout the dictatorship. And they argue that It has been proven that the deed by which Franco registered the property in his name in 1941 was a “total fantasy”, without any price, and which was intended to “create a fiction”, given that the Pro Pazo Board had already donated the property to the dictator three years earlier, a fact that his wife and daughter were aware of.

They allege that, applying “a medium diligence”, neither Carmen Polo nor her daughter could be believed to be the legitimate owners of the pazo. The State also influences its appeal, that before Carmen Franco inherited the property, in 1982, the first political voices and initiatives had already emerged to claim the return of the property. They affect the statements of the grandchildren who defended that the pazo was a gift, which does not match the title in which they protect the property. In the case of the grandchildren, the State argues that they themselves referred to the pazo as a gift to their grandfather, which does not match the title they defend.

The Council of Sada follows this same argument but also opens another line. The City Council places the accent, like the Xunta, on the importance of the Justice expressly accrediting bad faith in Franco’s possession of the Meirás pazo and alleges that this original vice in possession, contrary to what The Hearing concludes, it is transmitted to the heirs, who would in any case be responsible for proving that they were unaware of the irregularities. The lawyer contributes diverse jurisprudence of the Supreme Court that supports his thesis.

Arguments aside, there is a shared objective among all administrations, that of preventing the Francs from taking advantage of the return of the pazo. And to avoid this, it is essential that the Justice sees the bad faith proven, which entitles the holder to be compensated for the necessary expenses (maintenance), but which would oblige him to pay the fruits received and those that the holder could have received. The Council of Sada is clear that, in that case, it would be Franco’s grandchildren who would have to compensate the State.


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