Brasilia's Homeless Take Shelter In Ex-Senator's Empty Mansion - plus55


The capital's homeless population take shelter in the empty mansion, whose owner left it after inspectors found it to be public land
Brazil Politics

Businessman and ex-senator Valmir Amaral has new guests in his abandoned Brasilia mansion. The mansion occupies what the capital considers to be public land due to Amaral’s debts. In August 2016, the Federal District Inspection Agency (Agefis) complied with a 2010 court decision to liberate the space. Since then, some of the capital’s homeless population have settled into the spacious living quarters.

The mansion occupies 19,800 square meters in one of the richest areas of the nation’s capital. The spacious property includes three football fields, a mini-parking lot, and a helicopter landing point.

mansion senator brasilia aerial view

The ex-senator pays one house servant to upkeep the property. People drop by regularly to swim in the pool, which is turning green. Rainwater fills the abandoned hot tub. Locals also take advantage of the mansion’s boat deck on the Paranoá Lake to do their weekend fishing.

Amaral was living in the mansion with his mother. They fled the property once inspectors knocked down the security gates. However, the ex-senator left almost everything on the property as it was. As a result, looters have since invaded the mansion, stealing six televisions and gas cylinders from the property.

Deep in debt

While the ex-senator has liberated 20 meters of public land, he risks losing the entire property. In fact, the Court of Justice wants to auction off the house to cover Amaral’s overdue labor debts, which total more than 8 million BRL. The court also issued a 1 million BRL fine to the Amaral family for violating environmental regulations in the mansion’s construction.

Although the family has postponed the auction so far, the court will likely schedule the auction for this fiscal semester. The starting auction price for the property is 15 million BRL.

The Federal District Court has also suspended Amaral’s passport and driver’s license. According to the Justice, these are are necessary measures to help ensure the ex-senator pays up. The ex-senator inherited his father’s Amaral Group, which managed public transport in the nation’s capital for over 40 years. The court declared the company bankrupt back in April.

The Amaral Group has also been accused of sending 200,000 BRL in bribes to Temer’s current Chief of Staff, Eliseu Padilha, back when Padilha was the Minister of Transportation.