Publica Bank was bustling when Kip and Rosa entered. Ms. Ortiz was in her office but with a mound of paperwork and her back turned to the interior windows of her office.
“We have all the corporation papers, right?” Kip put his arm around Rosa and guided her to the waiting area.
“When I talked to Ms. Ortiz yesterday she said all arrangements would be made.”
“Kip I still don’t understand this.”
“You will, you will.”
Five minutes later Ms. Ortiz welcomed Kip and Rosa into her office.
“As I understand Mr. Waller, you wish to move everything except the primary investment into a company account; is that correct?”
“Essentially, yes. This does not include the bank boxes. The first one, number 101 I will clean out today and turn back in to the bank. I simply want to change the card on the seven boxes to allow Rosa access if she needs. Payment for the boxes now will be billed to the special fund interest account before accumulation.”
She typed on her computer. “I see that you and Mr. Salas had special arrangements for the interest from the primary account and principal investment. Though that interest is waning these days.”
“Right, that agreement is null and void. The interest from the primary account will now only accumulate in the interest account which will pay rent on the boxes and then I want 75 percent of the balance of payments to the Corporate Retirement Fund the accumulation of which should be formidable in the future. Rosa has all of our corporation papers. I also want to close my regular account, and all of that balance be transferred to our Business Account in Scotia Bank. Any remaining monies please post in a typical passbook savings, we’ll call it a Christmas fund. We have the transfer information for you.” Interbank transfers are common in business transactions.
Ms. Ortiz looked over her glasses. “Okay, that’s done. Moving money with the banking computer systems today can be done in minutes where it used to take days.” She thumbed through Rosa’s papers, made some notes then handed them back. “Thank you. I have most of that from the first time you came in. I have changed the ownership of the boxes in the computer, and created the savings account; what we need is the key signatures.” She signaled a clerk.
Both Kip and Rosa signed bank cards and documents while Ms. Ortiz sorted the papers. Finally, Kip and Rosa shook hands with the bank manager and followed the clerk to the vault. This time there were separate cards made up for the corporation boxes as well as Kip signing into his main box.
“Kip, what’s in those seven boxes?”
“Oh, Salas and I put away some money and there’s some other things you need to see. Right now we need to clean out this box.” The clerk led them into the vault and with a rolling table they secured the box and carried to a private room.
“I will want to open one of the other boxes too. I have the keys. I’ll let you know to come back.”
“Okay, I’ll just bring the ledger with me.” The clerk started to close the door. “Just let me know when.”
“Okay.” Kip waved.
Rosa opened the canvas bag. “Kip, what will we do with this money and all this?”
“Your brother and I have a box at Scotia Bank, we’ll just combine this with that.”
Kip piled the five hundred dollar bills as well as a few thousand dollar bills and stacks of hundreds into the canvas bags, on top of it he placed the envelope that held his disc drives and chips, and finally he covered the contents with passports and papers. Two bundles of hundreds he stuffed in his jacket, and two bundles he held in front of Rosa. “Bra padding.”
Rosa blushed. “What?”
“Undo your blouse I putting forty grand in your bra.”
“I don’t think there’s room.” Rosa began undoing her blouse. She took the bundles of cash and slid them carefully into the soft material. “Satisfied?”
Kip laughed. “My wife just grew several bra sizes.”
Rosa buttoned her blouse. “Mind in the gutter.”
“Okay, the other boxes.” Kip moved the satchel to the floor, opened the door, and called the clerk. “I’d like to examine one of my other boxes now. I don’t need to do anything but look in and check it. I have the key.” Kip gave the clerk his key ring.” He and Rosa picked up the satchel and walked into the vault.
Ten minutes later one of the boxes was exposed but the lid was not opened.
The clerk left the vault and Kip retracted the first box but left it on its railings, and opened the lid. Rosa looked in and gasped.
“What am I looking at?”
Kip smiled. “Columbian Emeralds.” Colombian land is the richest source of emeralds in the world. The mining of this gem began in the pre-colonial era when the Spanish conquistadores exploited the royal mines commercially and internationally. There is a pure type of emerald, which is most popular variant on this land which was created as a result of the geological forces which led to the rise of Andes. This stone is still mined in many of these mines. He slid the box into the hold.
“We have three of these.” He closed two more boxes and slid them into their holders. “These boxes,” he said, as he pointed out two more boxes and are Chilean gold. And, these two.” He pointed out two additional boxes. “Are Bolivian silver.” He turned back to the emerald box. “Salas and I have been buying with the investment interest for nearly twenty years.”
Rosa’s face was pale. “Kip, what is all this?”
He hugged her. “Savings. My precious. I show you this, because if the politics of the world should change, we’ll be okay.”
“How much is there, Kip?” She shuttered. “I mean is this legal?”
“How much, I don’t know, we have to have it appraised. Nobody, except you, me, and Jorge know what’s in the boxes. Legal. Well, it’s not illegal. The American monies are still in the account, the purchases in the boxes are all interest, indeed it is half of the interest that has been accumulated.”
Rosa sat stunned and then looked around and tried to pick up the satchel. “I can’t lift this Kip.”
He laughed, “Not sure I can but I’ll try.” They pushed the cart out and Kip authorized the return of the box and presented his bank key as well as a key he kept hidden. “I have pulled my key on the other box, you just need to do the bank thing.”
“No problem. Be right back.” She walked into the bank and sealed all of the boxes. Then she gave him a receipt and Kip and Rosa walked out of the bank holding hands.
“Rosa put your hand on mine, that way it won’t look so heavy.”
“Kip we have to talk.”
“I know, think about what I said, but right now we have to meet Paulo.”
They quickly got into to Kip’s Toyota and drove to Scotia bank. Paulo was waiting for them.
“Cleaned out the Publica bank box and had a bank direct draft sent here to the business account. I think the equity just went up considerably.” Kip handed Paulo the bag. “Put this bag and all into our box.”
“Did you bring bricks.”
Rosa laughed. “I couldn’t pick it up.”
The three went into the bank with Rosa remaining in the lobby. When they came out of the vault Kip had two bags.
“Okay, we are set. “ Kip started to walk.
“What are we going to do with the Calones bills?” Paulo peeked in the bag.
“House account, for the main house and the immediate property. In the states they call it petty cash. Best we have some on hand for everything from post office to pool supply guy.” The trio walked out of the bank with Paulo carrying the loaded bag and Kip arm in arm with Rosa.
In another part of San Jose a telephone conference was taking place.
“He took everything out of one account and transferred it, then he cleaned out his primary box, but left the others although he opened one then closed it. I watched on the camera, the box seemed to have gems in it or something. Per the investment, he didn’t touch the investment but made sure the interest simply accumulated in an account which now is in a Retirement Fund and protected under Costa Rican law with some monies going to a Christmas fund account—just minor monies, less than a few dollars each month.”
A male voice answered. “He’s playing into our hands. Let him run his little business. The more he stays away form the bank the better. You didn’t give him a printout did you? Did he ask about any other boxes or investments?”
“No to both questions.”
“His little retirement account has me worried though, he must be working with a lawyer but that is a penitence to the key account in Publica Bank.”
“I have everything ready for your arrival.”
“Good, don’t contact me again unless he comes back into the bank and call me when you see him not after you talk to him.”
“I want to have this matter resolved before the US State Department comes snooping, just play dumb banker when that happens. Show them everything including the payouts from the main investment account. You can even show them the account he’s been accumulating interest although they are not entitled to the retirement funds. That’s his responsibility and insured. If they ask about the boxes or other investments don’t volunteer anything. We’ll give him his little box and retirement fund. We’re clean on this. Well, sorta. You’re just a simple banker moving money where you’re told.” He laughed and they disconnected.
Back in Florincia Kip and Rosa found a secluded table at El restaurante Veroliz in the hotel.
Rosa leaned on the table. “I called Linda to join us.”
“Good.” Kip looked around. “Did Paulo get lost?”
“He went to the house to get Maria and change clothes, he didn’t feel he wanted to be seen in blue jeans and a sweatshirt in a hotel like this.”
Kip laughed. “I suppose not.”
Within the hour the group had gathered. Linda was dwarfed by Paulo but sat on one side and Maria on the other.
“Linda, you brought a notepad.”
“Then let this be the first corporate board meeting of the MAR Properties Corporation, a held stock corporation of Costa Rica. Represented in the meeting are Linda Cortez, secretary. Paulo Torres, properties director, Rosa Smith, executive vice president and treasurer, and myself Kip Waller, controlling officer and President of the corporation and Maria, a visitor.
Kip had arranged for the group to meet in the restaurant but the servers would leave them alone until notified, although each had procured a drink upon sitting down.
“First item of business. Rosa Smith has conveyed a third of her stock holdings to Paulo Torres in exchange for services rendered in formation of the corporation and organization of properties. Are there any questions?
Maria who spoke almost no English sat in her chair, munched on crackers, sipped on a soft drink and smiled. Occasionally, Paulo would lean over and whisper summaries to her.
Second item on the agenda. Paulo and Rosa have secured fourteen more properties for our inventory. Which makes me jump a couple of things on the agenda. One of the properties, Paulo and Maria will occupy.” He looked at Paulo. “I believe it is in this neighborhood?”
Linda added. “The details of the purchase and subsequent lease are to be worked out, and will be reported in the next meeting.”
Paulo nodded with a big smile.
A third item involves our corporate secretary Linda Cortez. For the record, she has located from the pool house to an office in Scotia Bank building in San Jose. We are leasing the office from the bank holding company, which gives us a tax break. And, Linda, this was just settled. We have an apartment for you in the San Pedro district near the university but easy access to the courts and government buildings, while you are working out the details of Paulo’s lease you can do your own.” Kip chuckled.
Linda looked surprised by the announcement and then large smile crossed her face.
“Rosa, it’s your turn. Treasurer’s report.”
Rosa opened her notebook and began her report. “At the formation of the corporation we had a little over a million dollars US in property assets. That included my house, Paulo’s house, Linda’s office and additional office spaces, and the beach properties. As of today we have those same properties plus four new office condos, the house in Florencia, a second cottage in Florencia, twelve new beach condos, and a condo apartment in San Jose San Pedro neighborhood. Additionally, we have cash on hand and savings of five million dollars US. We have working capital revenue now in excess of one hundred thousand American dollars per month. Additionally, we had a five hundred thousand dollar infusion of cash just recently, which is now in working capital maintenance fund. A new funded retirement plan has in excess of seventy million dollars. We are doing well and paying taxes.”
Paulo raised a finger. “All of our properties are occupied and paying rent. Well, two of which may be paying rent soon.”
“Old business.” He looked around the table. “The advantage of a new corporation, is that we have little or no old business, except for Paulo’s report on properties, construction, remodeling, and other works in progress.”
Paulo’s report was detailed and obviously prepared by Rosa and Linda. An important item mentioned was the still pending property discussions with the owners of the remaining properties in the apartment complex in which the corporation now owned ten of the twenty units.
Kip closed the meeting and they all dined and partied into the wee hours of the morning.
At ten the next morning Rosa got a call from Giles. She immediately handed the phone to Kip.
“Kip, listen be on notice. I am to confiscate all the properties of Mike Smith, any US funds being held therein by Mike and any alias foreign and domestic. It’s signed by the Vice President.”
To be continued