A COUNTRY property owner in Ojen has gone on hunger strike over a fine of almost €600,000 he was given for putting up buildings on his land.
Baltasar Lorenzo, originally from Zamora, bought a La Cascada country plot of 8,000 metres in 2006.
In 2012, municipal technicians reported that a swimming pool and nine dwellings had been illegally built on the land, which is catalogued by the Junta de Andalucia regional government as protected.
Ojen council was forced to act, and following the end of the voluntary payment period the landowner’s bank accounts were blocked.
The 53-year-old man, who appeared on TV and radio shows in 2008 when he decided to embrace a natural life philosophy involving nudism and a raw diet to reach mental and physical harmony and invited people to health and yoga retreats at the wooden buildings on his land (allegedly free of charge), insisted that the main house and swimming pool were already in place when he bought the property and he had no idea he needed permission to erect wooden buildings.
After more than a week of swallowing water to kill his hunger pangs, Lorenzo is becoming weak and has stopped working his vegetable garden and watering his fruit trees.
“Going on hunger strike is my last resort and it’s hard. I let the day go by and when I feel the need to eat I drink some water,” said the farmer, adding that the €589,310 was more than double what the property was worth and he was scared he would end up losing it.
Although Lorenzo has visited Ojen Mayor Jose Antonio Gomez to plead for help, Gomez declared that although the fine appeared to be excessive the council’s hands were tied in the matter.