Michael Lobo claimed his was a rags to riches story. Certainly riches for him, but as a result he nudged some into a rags situation. He began as a land broker, who in Goa, is a much bigger beneficiary than the govt. Thus the legend was born and he now owns a construction company currently into over 40 projects, a travel agency, the Baga Deck which locals claim falls within 500 metres of CRZ , the Terra Paraiso among others.

September 27, 2019

Lionel Messias

You don’t go from dishwasher to Merc owner unless of course you are starring in a Hollywood serial, certainly not in ten years; importantly not even if you are Michael Lobo who claimed on September 19 that his was a rags to riches story. Certainly riches for him, but as a result he nudged a few people into a rags situation with his Madoff-like methods, some would say . Lobo began his fast track career primarily as a land broker which in Goa earns you a two percentage brokerage from the seller as well as the buyer on the negotiated price (black plus white)and not the substantially undervalued price declared in the sale deed. Which makes a land broker as an individual, a much bigger beneficiary than the government. Which is why almost everybody is a broker in Goa, and that includes the hoi polloi and all those lovely Page 3 people featured in English dailies as a matter of routine. If they aren’t, it’s only because they are waiting on the sidelines eager to sell their bhatcars' property when the holy call cometh.

M for mysterious methods, M for Michael

Lobo reportedly brokered a land sale for an NRI (who may have had a partner) wanting to build a hotel on the pre-condition (a route he always adopted) he be given the contract to build it and his personal guarantee that he would get all the official approvals. He kept his promise, but the NRI couldn’t ‘handle’ Lobo, in a manner of speaking which implies also that the NRI ended up in a bit of that rags situation! Thus the legend was born and the modus operandi fine-tuned to higher levels of achievement. Lobo owns a construction company called One Stop which it is said is currently into over 40 projects. He also owns a travel agency.

Lobo also owns the popular Baga Deck which locals claim falls within 500 meters of the CRZ on the Calangute-Baga road, the Terra Paraiso in Gauravaddo and Nazri hotel in Sauntavaddo also on the Calangute-Baga road. It is said Lobo may be only a junior partner in the firm that owns Nazri hotel; whose senior partners are Nazarius Lobo and Franky Viegas, owner of Tuff Security. Finally, there is Café Looda in St. Michael Vaddo, Flea Market, Anjuna, whose ownership he reportedly transferred to his sister. So, Michael Lobo from dishwasher to millionaire hotelier is pure bunkum. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But, to his credit Lobo is the only other MLA in the list of 38 who did not take a Rs 30,00,00 house loan or a Rs 15,00,000 car loan?

Sometime in December 2010 I wrote this in my column that appeared in the Herald.

Hardly Shanti

Shanti Almeida is a woman you don’t want to mess with despite her name. Ask Vishwajit Rane. This resident of Sagar Housing Colony and central government employee mind you, is opposing his illegal encroachment on government land he claims is his. His firm is called Meridien Real Estate. What you don’t know is the bungalow he is expanding was once owned by a Mapusa lad who owed Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate money.

Now, borrowing from Monserrate involves the principal amount plus heavily accruing interest equals you lose your land because his recovery methods are a bit like Citibank’s. He takes your keys and you take a hike. Next Monserrate sells to Rane the single level bungalow that he turns into an emblematic Dona Paula monstrosity. I digress.

Rane, almost a minister without portfolio, ensures the Talathi under Dy. Collector Agnel Fernandes hides Shanti’s complaint file in a steel cupboard despite the fact he was ordered to make a site inspection on February 2, 2007. The only ‘official’ who made an appearance there for the investigation was Jennifer Monserrate (wife of the Taleigao MLA), who had the temerity to ask Shanti, “Now what do you want?” Was it money she hinted at? Rane also got three water connections from his single water meter and that is why he never hires water tankers.