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(from Kurt Smith July 13, 2002 - not sure of current status)

Man, have I got bad news !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, the Rancho Cerro Gordo is closed!

There are four other places to stay:
Homeros, La Pagoda, La Posada and Checkos.... please read the following and send to everyone you know!

Thank you for the last four years of energy, support and all the new friends we made in Mexico.

Also I'm sorry for the mass mailed letter, but I need to email about 300 people today and tell our story....

We have had many problems with Mel, his sister Suzy and her husband Valentin (rcg taxi guy) over the years. They make deals with us in front of witnesses and then reneg. They have committed many acts of fraud against us and stolen the rancho. Here's the quick version: (The whole story will be on our website later).

We were in Austin the last three weeks working to go on tour and raise money for the Access Fund again. We left the rancho thinking all was well. We were ready to return and build our house and raise a family in Hidalgo. We returned to our land with barbed wire on it and not the dimensions that I bought and later was to be added ('Cause of the deal we made, the money I put into fixing his house he was going to give me more land). Then Mel comes up and we ask what's up? What happened to our deal? He says what deal?

We say the deal we made, fixed up your house for more land. He says no he paid for the fix up it's his house, his Rancho, his business, his casitas and get the <censored> off his land!

At which that point he shows us the pistol in his pocket and says pack your <censored> and leave. Suzy and him return an hour later and threaten us again to leave by 10pm! The 12 people at the campground are shocked and come to our aid and we move all our stuff to Emilio's in two hours! Then we return to the rancho to drop off our friends and drink beers and have our last campfire together!

Mel arrives at 10pm with the police and says we stole his stove, refridgerator, boiler and water pump from the round house! We/I bought that frig 5 years ago while living at Homeros. My mom bought that stove for our Xmas present and the boiler and pump I bought. He says we stole $5000 from deposito and that the cops are coming back to put us in jail! Well, we were in Austin and Mel and Tomas said Mel collected the money and that was about $1200 and that it is at Mel's house!

The next day we leave for Monterey, get a paper that says he can't put us in jail and then talk with the US consulate and the best lawyer in all of Mexico. This woman makes Johnny Cochran look small time! Anyway, we are fighting these accusations and taking him to court. They have been planning this for at least three years and have committed many acts of federal fraud. The first one being he has no papers for the whole rancho, that is Federal land and you are not allowed to sell it! He has threatened ours and Tomas' life; Mel, Val and Suzy will go to jail! More info will come later.

Please do not go to the rancho! Don't get in a taxi driven by Suzy, Valentin, Suzy Jr. or Valentin Jr.!!!!

Please tell everyone you know (this story)! We still love Mexico, believe it or not! We have a lot of friends here and many are coming to our aid right now. I still have a place in my heart for the Potrero and will return someday soon to be a climber and bolt again!!!!!

Thank you for all the support and your energy and friendship over the years...... Kurt and Elaina