As a matter of closure to our ill-fated investment in Costa Rica, we thought it would be helpful to remind everyone where we started, what transpired and the final outcome.
VVP SBM I LLC was a partnership made up of individual investors, including us, the four managing members. The general partner of VVP SBM I LLC was Vista Verde Partners LLC, which consisted of us, the four managing members who are first time entrepreneurs. The investment in Sea Breeze Mountain failed to return a single dollar and was a complete loss. It is not easy to write that, let alone publish it on our website, but sometimes the truth hurts and we are embarrassed.
VVP SBM I LLC was created to invest in a housing community development in Costa Rica called Sea Breeze Mountain, whose primary developer was Mr. Schiettekatte. VVP SBM I LLC agreed to fund the construction of 5 homes, and Mr. Schiettekatte would build and sell them. Mr. Schiettekatte, a Canadian citizen living in Costa Rica, managed the entire development and was our partnership’s only avenue for information regarding construction updates, interest in home sales and the project’s financial condition. In the end, zero homes were even completed, let alone sold.
Beginning in 4th Quarter 2007, when we began our partnership’s investment, Mr. Schiettekatte was responsive to requests for information and building progress, but he never sent financial details like expenses incurred. Beginning 3rd Quarter 2008, the financial crisis was setting in and Mr. Schiettekatte ran into governmental issues that shut down the project. In the 2nd Quarter of 2010, work was stopped and never started again. This is when project updates became infrequent. No financial information was still ever sent. Mr. Schiettekatte eventually went radio silent and didn’t return phone calls or emails. Sometime during or after 2011, Mr. Schiettekatte fled Costa Rica.
At this juncture, we also tried to work with Mr. Schiettekatte’s attorney for financial and project updates, but nothing was received. Out of desperation, we started contacting known associates of Mr. Schiekatte’s in an effort to obtain project and financial updates. However, Mr. Schiettekatte remained out of contact, despite our efforts.
Through contact with other separate investors, we learned that there is a lien on Sea Breeze Mountain from a creditor, a lien on Sea Breeze Mountain from a Costa Rica environmental tribunal and the project is involved in numerous other legal actions.
The project is defunct and we have dissolved both Vista Verde Partners LLC and VVP SBM I LLC. In short, the investment is worthless.
Below is a timeline of Vista Verde Partners LLC / VVP SBM I LLC:
- Q4 2007: First funding to Mr. Schiettekatte
- Q1 2008: Final funding to Mr. Schiettekatte
- Q3 2008: Mr. Schiettekatte’s Sea Breeze Mountain project received a ‘cease work’ order from Environmental Tribunal of Costa Rica
- Q3 2009: Work is restarted, but home construction never restarted on our partnership’s five lots
- Q2 2010: Full work-stoppage, project never to restart again
- Q1 2011: Exploring liquidation options, without participation of Mr. Shiettekatte who had reduced communication to being almost non existent
- Q2 2011: Last option for potential recovery abandoned, which was an attempt to sell to the largest equity holder of Sea Breeze Mountain (we understand they also lost everything)
- Q3 2011: Mr. Schiettekatte attempted to sue the government of Costa Rica for damages
- Q3 2011 – Q3 2015: Communicating with other investors to find out if they have any update on the whereabouts of Mr. Schiettekatte and any update on Sea Breeze Mountain – no info gathered. With the trust initiative not moving forward, all investors went their separate ways to figure out what to do next to try and get even a portion of their investment back (to our knowledge, no investor was successful)
- Since 2011: Mr. Schiettekatte received requests from investors to file bankruptcy for project, so finances/entities could be resolved, but Mr. Schiettekatte never acted on those requests. No financial information was ever shared. It was learned from other independent investors in Sea Breeze Mountain that Mr. Schiettekatte had fled Costa Rica. To the best of our knowledge, all underlying assets were liened by local banks and government jurisdictions.
- Q3 2013 – Final correspondence with a Costa Rican attorney that was working with many of the Sea Breeze Mountain investors to gauge recovery options and no viable option was identified.
- Q4 2015: Vista Verde Partners LLC and VVP SBM I LLC dissolved once it was 100% clear the investment was a total loss.
To be clear, Mr. Schiettekatte, the person with all the information, local contacts, development experience, created the business plan, etc. failed, which resulted in this investment’s failure.
Just as you the investor lost everything, so did the four managing members. We wish the outcome were different, but a complete loss is a complete loss and there is no other way to say it.
Vista Verde Partners