Five corporations (Sociedades Anominas or S.A.s’), controlled by three families, receive 24% of the ¢1.589 billion colones that 15 government agencies pay monthly in the rental of 303 properties.
An investigative report by Amelia Rueda reveals the companies, controlled by the families Marín Raventós, Saavedra Raventós, and Escobar Pardo, invoice the government ¢382 million colones (US$682,000 dollars) monthly (US$8.185 million annually) for leasing five properties.
The five buildings are the Edificio Rofas (across from the San Juan de Dios hospital), the Edificio La Llacuna (diagonal to the Plaza de la Cultura), Edificio Raventós (next to the Banco de Costa Rica), Centro Corporativo Internacional Torre B and Torre C in Barrio Don Bosco.
The Rofas building, titled to the Compañía Comercial Rofas, whose board of directors are the sisters Saavedra Raventós, is rented by the Ministry of Education, that also rents space in the Raventós Building, owned by the Compañía Galletano S.A., of the Marín Raventós family.
The Llacuna building, also the property of the Compañía Galletano, is rented to the Ministry of Finance, which also rents space in the Centro Corporativo Internacional Torre B and Torre C, owned by Hogares de Costa Rica and CCI Torre C, controlled by Juan Francisco Escobar Crespo and his sons.
The five properties are part of the 10 highest rents paid monthly by the government, and in all cases, the rentals comply with the requirements established by law.
The Raventos family dates back to Pedro Raventós Gual, who emigrated from Spain to Costa Rica in 1912. Today, the rental business is run by the Adriana Marín Raventós, José Marín Raventós and her brother, Jose Marin Raventos; the board of directors includes Nuria Marín and María Gabriela, grandchildren of Don Pedro.
With the death of Don Pedro ii 1976, the family business was continued by his daughter Nuria Raventós López, mother to Adriana, José, Nuria and Gabriela. Doña Muria died in December 2014.
All in the family
The Raventos family has ties to the Escobar Pardo family by way of marriage between Adriana Marín Raventós and Jose Francisco Escobar Pardo, son of the founder of Hogares de Costa Rica S.A. (Centro Corporativo Internacional) Juan Francisco Escobar Crespo, who emigrated from Colombia to Costa Rica in 1965. The couple separated in 2005. Adriana later married Manuel Francisco Jiménez Echeverría, exceutive president of Grupo Nación.
In the Costa Rican business world, real estate is not the only business of the Marín Raventós. They have also ventured into food franchises, agriculture and commercial activities related to the sale of clothing and shoes.
José Marín Raventós, vice president of Compañía Galletano and Compañía La Llacuna, presides over the Cachos Group (store stores), and participates in the Vertigo, Lacoste and Timberland stores.
Nuria Marin Raventos is currently married to legislator and presidential candidate for the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), Antonio Álvarez Desanti.
Nuria is the founder of the Corporación Álvarez y Marín, that has businesses in agricultural, tourism and fast food that included the Wendy’s franchise in Costa Rica (closed in December 2014) and Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Older sider, Gabriela Marín, has a doctorate in business administration and is dedicated to academic work at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).
The Marín Raventós are cousins of Ana and Isabel Saavedra Raventós, owners of the Rofas property.
All together now
Besides the five properties rented to the government, the three families also own tens of other properties that include Centro Comercial de Guadalupe, Centro Comercial del Sur, Jardines del Recuerdo (cemetery) and most recent acquisition, Hotel Park Inn.
The Amelia Rueda investigation reveals that Escobar Crespo family has more than 70 corporations, according to the Registro Nacional (National Property Registry).
The Escobar and the Raventós are ranked for having the most expensive buildings, by other well-known national businessmen.
Among the ties linked to the Escobar and Raventos are Elena Terán Ferrer and her husband Richard Beck, who also rent space to the government, raking in millions of colones monthly in rental payments.
Beck was the founder of Atlas Electric, the Banco Agro Industrial y de Exportaciones S.A. (Banex), the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo (Cinde) and the Centro de Formación en Tecnologías de Información (Cenfotec), to name some of his activities.
Donald Formal Arias, is another businessman linked to the Escobar and Raventos. Formal is known for Mall San Pedro and Outlet Mall (also in San Pedro) and also rents space to the government.