At the end of October 2016, the machinery of raise funds for Mara. Mara is a 16 year old girl with a rare disease –Idic15 syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes epilepsy and severe disability– about which there was hardly any research in Spain. At 36, his father decided to study medicine to understand what was happening to him and at 42, about to graduate, his story came out in the newspaper The world. From there they echoed more media until they reached television, where the presenter Javier Cardenas He saw it before deciding to get involved.
“[Javier] He contacted me and said: I’m going to get around this house that I have because I have to do something for humanity“, says Miguel Angel Orquin, father of Mara.” We reached his heart. Sometimes life surprises you with these responses from people who don’t know you at all. ”
Orquin was looking for 123,000 euros to finance research on Idic15 at the University of Valencia, led by Eulalia Alonso, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “It is a disease that is not investigated,” says Alonso. “While Michelangelo was studying, I designed a project and a research team. We usually finance ourselves with national research funds, so I presented it to two calls. But the first thing they ask is that you have experience in that specific topic and it was a line where we didn’t work. ” The 123,000 euros would be used to study patients with this disease, whom Orquin managed to group in an association.
Two months before starting the promotion of the draw, Zaragoza was created in Great Chance S.L, the company through which the raffle was executed. It was created by Alejandro Munoz Basols, a neighbor of the city and known of Cardenas for other raffles he had organized. Munoz had been a Superbigbox partner, a company that distributed prizes (a car, a luxury trip or a salary of 1,500 euros a month for twelve months), sometimes making them coincide with the Christmas lottery draw. In January 2015, Cardenas interviewed Alejandro Munoz in your program Get up and Cardenas on account of a raffle that offered as a prize a basket valued at 400,000 euros.
“We are three young entrepreneurs who have created the largest basket in the world. We wanted to do something different, that would change someone’s life,” Munoz said. “And, most importantly: we are with Sonia Pena, the director of the Sigo Adelante Foundation. We are going to make a donation of 10,000 euros. And you have to help us, Javier, because if we can sell all the tickets we will donate 50,000 euros.” The raffles were beneficial, since Munoz and his partner pledged to donate part of the money raised to some cause. A charity raffle is much more juicy for the one who rides it than a normal one, because is taxed at 7% instead of 20%, The tax rate of the game.
Munoz created the company on August 4, 2016. A month later a sale of social interests was made -andThat is, the company went from being sole proprietorship to having partners that entered as shareholders. According to the file of the Mercantile Registry of Zaragoza, Alejandro Munoz was the holder of 750 shares and Carlos Marinosa, his partner in Superbigbox, of another 750. The remaining 1,500, 50%, fell to Javier Cardenas. Asked about this newspaper, both Cardenas and Munoz have repeatedly denied that the presenter had any participation in the company.
“Javier Cardenas has nothing to do with all this. What he did was donate the house, as promised, and entrust us, as experts in game issues, the management of the raffle,” said the Zaragoza in his first version. But official documents show that it did have to do and that, in addition, it was the majority shareholder of the company.
Weeks after denying Cardenas’s relationship with Great Chance S.L, both Munoz and the host’s lawyers explained and documented that Cardenas transferred 38,000 euros at the time of the constitution “to start the project”.
“Having spent so much time, you will understand that I did not remember that Javier had anything to do with society,” Munoz said in his second version. “By pulling from memory and reviewing the little documentation I keep, it is true that a sale of shares of the company in which Javier entered as a partner because he previously made a contribution, given that the partners did not have enough money to start the project. “According to both, the idea was to return the 38,000 euros through dividends.
At the time the company was created, their Twitter account, Facebook and the website where everything would be publicized were born: unacasaunavida.es. Three weeks later, Great Chance requested in the General Directorate of Game Management the raffle authorization of the presenter’s house. Shortly after approving it, on October 7, 2016, Cardenas joined the dissemination of the raffle.
“Hi, I’m Javier Cardenas and I wanted to talk to you about Mara, who has a rare, strange disease, called Idic15. It’s so weird that it has no name“, he explained in his first promotional video.” His father decided to study Medicine and he got it by being quite old. Today I want to tell you that I raffle my second residence. I can live without her, but Mara can’t live without help. We have created a website where you will find all the information. You will see that for ten euros you can win a house and a parking space. Surrounded by vineyards. As I said, I can live without that house, but Mara cannot live without help. Today is her, tomorrow can be our children, nephews, grandchildren. Let’s help Mara. Remember: it is not for the prize, it is not for the house that I draw, it is for helping so many people who suffer from rare diseases. Thank you”.
In November of that year the journalist Angela Bernardo had uncovered the case of Nadias father (which also made a report of popular The world). Cardenas did not hesitate to use it as a throwing weapon to differentiate himself. “Let’s be supportive, let’s participate. Just put a little eye,” he said in Rush hour When he delivered the awards. “Do not trust people who do not know where it comes from, because it can happen to Nadias father“.
Cardenas promoted the contest in Rush hour, his program on public television TVE, November 15, 2016. He took Miguel Angel Orquin, dedicated ten minutes of interview (the program lasted just over half an hour) and put a sign with the website where the ballots were sold. He also publicized the story in his radio morning. The dynamic was simple, similar to that of other housing raffles: whoever wanted to participate should buy their ballot for ten euros. The winner would be the number that matched the fat Christmas. If that ballot was not sold, the prize returned to the presenter. Coincidentally, Cardenas had also interviewed Pepe Bolumar in early 2015, one of the first people who raffled his house in Spain. “I guess he was inspired,” says Bolumar.
The bases described the prize. It was a house of 69 square meters, 59 useful, and two rooms in the small Barcelona town of El Pla del Penedes. “Having this floor, with all those vineyards in front of me, is something I had always dreamed of. Can I do without this? I do. But can Mara live without help? Do not”, Read the web. In the papers, the house was valued at 139,000 euros, which added to the 21,000 euros of the garage, 8,000 gift voucher for furniture and take care of taxes amounted to just over 200,000 euros. This was the total value of the award.
Finance allows the organizer to sell ballots for up to five times the value of the prize. And so did Cardenas and his friend. Great Chance S.L issued one hundred thousand tickets worth ten euros each, that is, for one million euros. The specific number of how many sold —And therefore, how much they collected— It didn’t happen at the time. Being linked to the Christmas raffle, there was no need to have a notarial certificate.
An article of the Herald of Aragon He mentioned “more than 40,000 participants” (400,000 euros). In another article of Vanitatis, published on draw day, Cardenas said that if they did not reach 123,000 euros it did not matter, “because what we lack I will cover”. He also commented that it was “very possible” that they did not reach that figure.
“At the beginning of December, Javier called me and told me that they had not raised even 75,000 euros,” recalls Maras father. “He told me: we didn’t arrive, but don’t worry if I don’t put it in my pocket. And the day after the draw, the University had him in.”
The company raised more than half a million
Great Chance S.L was founded in August 2016 and was dissolved in January 2018. It only submitted accounts in 2016, the draw and its only year of activity. Between August and December, the company entered 541,260 euros, as recorded in the accounts of the Commercial Registry. Is or are 54,126 ballots sold. The Cardenas partner confirms that all these revenues come from the sale of tickets. The amount is more than four times higher than that committed for donation, 123,000 euros.
The company’s expenses include the 123,000 euros donated to the University and another 260,535 euros of operating expenses. According to the partner, those 260,000 euros were to pay “taxes, paperwork, paperwork and advertising.” The actions of publicity consisted of setting up a web page and accounts in social networks, because the rest of the promotion was made by the presenter on his radio program and on public television.
Discounted those expenses, the benefit declared by the company in that year was greater than the donation itself. Great Chance earned 157,227 euros in 2016 and, according to its accounts, distributed a dividend of 60,000 euros to its three shareholders that year. The rest of the profit remained in the company, which was dissolved in January 2018.
Only the accounts of 2016 are presented in the commercial register. Not so those of 2017 nor those of the year of its dissolution, although there is no record that the company organized any other raffle. This newspaper has confirmed with the General Directorate of the Game that Great Chance has only done that raffle in its entire history.
If the benefits were distributed proportionally according to the shares of each shareholder, Cardenas accounted for half of the total, since it owned 50% of the company. The second version of the lawyers of Cardenas and Munoz was that the presenter would only have collected 38,000 euros in dividends, which would correspond to the contribution he made to “start the project”.
Asked about these figures, Javier Cardenas himself refused to make any kind of clarification for having filed a lawsuit against eldiario.es and its director, Ignacio Escolar. “I dismiss talking to you, because unfortunately we ALL know that you will try to hurt instead of looking for the beauty of history.” Munoz, on the other hand, assures that the raffle was not solidary (although it appears as a “charity raffle” in the authorization of the Treasury) and that they paid 20% of game taxes (108,000 euros) instead of 7% ( 37,882 euros).
“While it is true that some 540,000 euros of tickets sold were entered, that does not mean that the company had that benefit,” says Munoz. “Many expenses were paid: taxes on the game, municipal capital gain … There were also significant operating expenses, because we had to pay different professionals, advertising expenses … After that there was a benefit that was distributed among the partners, such as it can’t be otherwise. ”
Cardenas denies having set up this raffle to do business, despite the fact that he owned half of the company, that he declared benefits and that it had no more activity. The winners of the prize always told them that he met Alejandro Munoz after interviewing him, that he liked the idea of making a raffle and that he hired his company Superbigbox to manage it, but that he was not part of society. Superbigbox, on the other hand, had not done anything wrong with its solidarity raffles: in 2015, more than half a million euros came in, of which 125,000 remained.
“If I had wanted to make money, which I have not done at all, I would have done it through a foundation. It would have saved me a lot,” the presenter adds in a voice note. “I had to pay to get around my flat. I said my flat and on top I paid the Treasury.”
In the article of Vanitatis, Cardenas complained about the “stick” of the treasury. “I have paid the surplus value of the apartment (70,000 euros) because the Treasury does not understand if you are supportive or not.”
If the house had been really valued at 139,000 euros, the municipal capital gain, the tax paid to the City Councils for the increase in land value, would not exceed 6,000 euros, according to the calculation made by eldiario.es based on data of the Tax Agency.
“People would tell me: what if he has taken more money? And I said: how are you so twisted?”
The 123,000 euros promised arrived at the University of Valencia at Christmas. “His gesture was a pass. I did not believe it“, says Eulalia Alonso, the research director.” I was on vacation and it was hard for me to manage it. What I don’t know is if it was a poisoned gift, because for us it is assuming blood, sweat and tears. It is abandoning your line of research. You have to see it as an NGO. ”
With the money, Dr. Alonso and her team have studied a group of 28 patients with Idic15. “Now we are in the phase of analyzing the data. We have to see where we are, publish in good magazines that guarantee that we are working on this and that allow us to ask for other funds. We have taken it to some conferences, but they are preliminary analyzes. The novelty The study is that it is a Spanish population.It is a rare disease, probably underdiagnosed.In other diseases patients are nailed, but here it depends on the piece of chromosome that they have more: some are made dust, others have nothing … It is complicated . Let’s see what we can find to help them. ”
On whether more money would have been good, Alonso is clear. “All help will be welcome. But right now what we need is to stop and see where we are so as not to lose perspective. The investigation must be seen in the long term, “he says.” If they gave me more funding now, I would not know where to derive it. “
Orquin, meanwhile, is specializing as a family and community care doctor. His daughter Mara is still serious. “Epilepsy is uncontrolled. More than three years ago it is pharmacologically palliative and we cannot leave it alone for a second.”, account. After fighting against the administration to obtain resources by dependency and now that he works as a doctor, he recognizes that the biggest problem is not money but that he does not find who takes care of it professionally. “Despite having financial resources, we have not found assistance. Mara has epilepsy, is disabled with serious problems. They see the picture and say they will think about it. More than a respite, we need a caregiver. And that never comes.” .
Regarding the possibility that Cardenas would profit from his case, he is also clear about it. “I didn’t even want to know or care. At the end of the day, they gave me the research. People would tell me: what if he had taken more money? And I said: how are you so twisted?” He concludes. “As if he has drawn two million using the image of my daughter. I do not care. I don’t know where the information comes from, nor have I ever been interested in knowing it. If I had taken more money I would not have felt used, I would continue to thank him the same“.