Last April a judge ordered the public sale by judicial auction of Velintonia, the Vicente Aleixandre’s house in Madrid. The ruling came two months before the Ministry of Culture urged the Ministry of Culture of the Community of Madrid to grant the home of the Nobel Prize legal protection. The technicians decided that it would be under the figure of Asset of Heritage Interest (BIP), whose initiation file has been processed since the beginning of December. Neither of the two administrations involved had reported this judicial situation.
In the judgment of the case, to which ABC has had access, the Court of First Instance number 35 of Madrid declares the extinction of the condominium
about the property and the sale of the house that sheltered the poet and where he received the Generation of 27 and a large part of the postwar writers. This decision puts an end to the existing division between the heirs, who over the last few years have been unable to reach an agreement to sell the ‘House of Poetry’, either to public institutions or to private buyers.
Those who decided to go to court for the extinction of the condominium, at the end of last year, were three of the four heirs of the Merlo branch. These four brothers own 40 percent of the property. Amaya aleixandre, great-niece of the poet and visible face of the family, holds the other 60 percent. The judge, before the search of the two defendants and taking into account that at this time “there has not been an express opposition to the sale of the property but only that the co-owners have disagreed with its price”, establishes an auction that would be effective if the starting price is covered.
The date of execution of the auction will be decided by the court, which is currently in the process of verifying formal requirements for its publication, as clarified to this newspaper Jose Rodriguez, husband of one of the heiresses and spokesperson for the Merlo-Usera family. Its intention is that, “as established in the final judgment” and regardless of the initiation of the BIP file on Velintonia, the sale by public auction is carried out. “We are going to go ahead with the auction, always. If it is deserted, we will call a second auction, and so on, “he said.
Before, they will use their right as interested parties of the resolution published on the 13th of this month for the initiation of the Velintonia BIP file and will notify the Ministry that directs Marta Rivera de la Cruz his opposition to a measure that, in his opinion, “distorts the auction price.”
In a letter sent to this public body last August, three heirs of the Merlo branch regretted that after fifteen years in which the public administrations have agreed to affirm that Velintonia “lacks any special historical, artistic or architectural significance” that makes it worthy of this kind of protection, it is now “to assess this matter” again just when “the sale of the property at public auction has been agreed.”
The Community of Madrid, on August 13, had advanced to them that “the protection that in their case could be granted to the property is independent of the judicial procedure” of the condominium. The general director of Heritage, Elena Hernando, stressed that “the declaration as BIP does not prevent the sale of the property from being carried out.” Indeed, the resolution does not prevent the sale, but it does limit the use of the house by forcing to maintain the layout of some of the rooms.
According to what José Rodríguez and Victor Usera, two of the heirs, “it is an opportunistic depreciation, an expropriation without just price. Any act they carry out that involves manipulation to alter the auction price will have an answer in the courts, “and they expressed their surprise at how events have precipitated.
When they decided to resort to judicial means to resolve differences over inheritance, there was a visit by José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes to Velintonia, the first by a minister in 38 years, the writing in June of a report by the ministry that endorsed the BIP declaration, a letter from Miquel Iceta urging Rivera de la Cruz to do so in July and the resolution of this month of December. “After 25 years of contempt and inaction, when they know that we intend to sell it, as we legitimately can, all of a sudden they put out a report that contradicts a series of previous reports,” they say.
In 2020, Elena Hernando stated at the parliamentary headquarters that “taking into account the low architectural value of the property itself, as well as the absence of movable or documentary content in the house, it does not have the value required by the figure of BIC according to the framework current legal system, as well as a special significance to be able to consider it BIP ”. I followed the line marked by Paloma Sobrini, her predecessor in office, who in 2017 explained that none of these protection modalities were in line with the Velintonia case.
A report commissioned by the Community of Madrid to Jose Carlos Mainer, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the University of Zaragoza, defended the conservation of Velintonia in 2019, but without specifying what type of protection should be applied. «Preserving those corners and the memory of those who inhabited them seems very important to me. And within this framework of action, the rescue of the house is something that is not easy to get rid of, “he settled in the document, released by ‘El País’.
Regarding the possible BIP declaration of Velintonia, Amaya Aleixandre commented to ABC that she considers it “more important and necessary that the administrations agree on the acquisition of the property than on its protection.” «Of course, it is my priority [venderla a la administración pública], but I can’t be sure what the other homeowners want. I suppose we all want to sell it at a reasonable price, but I don’t know if the administrations are going to do something to make this a reality, “he concluded.
The Ministry of Culture intends to convene a working meeting with the Community and the City Council when the procedures for the file are completed.