Brit expat who ran Benidorm bar left broke by ‘scam’ after the real owner changed the locks
A BRIT expat who “put her whole heart” into running a Benidorm bar – spending thousands on its revamp – was left with just £36 after an alleged scam.
Karen Wadrop, originally from Middlesbrough, was “shocked” to find her so-called landlord was a tenant in rent arrears of £40,000, when the real owner turned up and demanded his money, say reports.
The 47-year-old told The Olive Press that it had been her “dream” to run a bar in the Spanish holiday hot spot popular with Brits like her.
A man, named Ali, was keen to rent a pub in the Rincon de Loix area, at the start of June.
So, she ploughed in “every penny she owned” to refurbish Jake’s Pub & Karaoke Bar, including its redecoration, new stock – all while covering the staff’s wages.
It was named Jake’s Bar after her only grandson, who she describes as her “pride and joy”.
But then, on Monday August 12 she arrived as normal at the pub to find its front doors had new locks, which she didn’t have the keys for.
Behind the firmly shut entrance was nearly £3,000 of stock, “including barrels” that she had personally paid for.
Karen explained to the Olive Press that she had no clue about Ali’s predicament, as right up until a fortnight ago he was telling her that she had accomplished an “amazing job” in the bar, and that he was “happy to sign it over to me”.
Admittedly, alarm bells rang when the breweries didn’t want to deal with him, so all [invoices] were in my name and I paid on delivery.
The pub was popular with fellow Brits, and local residents, and Karen said that she “loved” Jake’s Bar “with every bone in my body”.
Teeside Live reports that: “He told me if I made the bar a success in 12 months he would sign it over to me at no cost.
“I asked why he would do this and he said he liked to help people.
“Admittedly, alarm bells rang when the breweries didn’t want to deal with him, so all [invoices] were in my name and I paid on delivery.”
Ali asked her to pay rent but, feeling confused and “sceptical”, Karen told him she’d pay “when I have my contract.
“Then boom, locks changed.”
It transpired that he owed rent money himself, and had been served papers demanding that he leave the premises.
REAL LANDLORD TURNS UP
She told the Olive Press that it was obvious that Ali had wanted to “put the bar in my name and saddle me with his €45,000 debt”.
The bar’s real landlord, Moises, told the publication that he although he had complained to cops about Ali months ago, they had given him until the end of September to pay off the debt, and leave the bar.
Moises added that the premises had been licensed and insured as a “shop”, not a pub.
Since going public about being “scammed”, Karen has received plenty of sympathy, with one woman commenting: “Omg I was there in July and u hadn’t long opened hope u get the scum of a landlord out and get back in all the best hope it gets sorted soon [sic].”
Another person asked: “I don’t wanna sound funny but why in the world would you spend all that money on refurbing, stock etc without checking any licences or signing any sort of contract?”
Karen replied to her: “I was constantly asking for the paperwork I needed. He paid the refurb I got the stock.”
One supporter chipped in with: “Karen needs support hun not negative comments… Karen’s a lovely lady who puts her whole heart into everything.”
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In answer to further questions about the way in which she was ripped off, she explained: “I’m a very intelligent woman and fought from prior opening for the documents I knew I needed.
“I was conned by a man who knew what he was doing and had already been denounced for non payment.”
Karen later posted on Facebook: “I’m just gonna say thank you to every single person that’s helped me this last few weeks.
“Whether it’s a simple message of support, ten minutes of your time or that you’ve gone out of your way to come and do something for me, then thank you from the very bottom of my heart.”