There are some good, honest and sincere people who hang out on the BajaNomad message board. Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-good people there too. The dregs of humanity: lunatics, crooks, druggies, perverts, paranoid schizophrenics, psychopaths, sociopaths, alcoholics, senile old farts, pedophiles and plain weirdos. Even more unfortunate is that the person who runs the forum cannot differentiate the good from the bad. Or, maybe that is by design. I don’t know. Even worse than the forum moderator’s inability to sort it all out, is that many innocent readers don’t know what lies beneath. They sometimes get caught unaware in the riptide.
BajaNomad Jesse is Jesus Chávez Partida, and is currently the part-owner and chef at Las Tres Virgenes in La Paz, Baja California Sur. Jesse is one of the original Baja Nomads, having come over in 2002 from the defunct “Amigos de Baja” message board. He is a Mexican who was born and raised in Baja California.
Jesse started his career as a timeshare salesman in Cabo San Lucas back in the 1990’s. That should be an omen of things to come. After that he drifted back to Tijuana and worked at the Hard Rock Cafe on Avenida Revolución for about four years. While working at the Hard Rock Cafe, one of his work buddies was Geoffrey Lujan Pruitt, a member of a well-connected Baja California family. This friendship would serve Jesse well later, as we will see.
Jesse dreamed of owning and operating his own restaurant and in 2005 an opportunity came his way. A well known restaurant in Tijuana Zona Rio was in trouble and Jesse came in to turn it around. The story related by Jesse on BajaNomads is that the operator of Hacienda Cien Años was stealing from the owner and left to form his own restaurant, called Cien Años, without the “Hacienda” in the name. Well, that was Jesse’s story to the BajaNomads.
The real story behind the story is more interesting. Just a few months after Jesse reopened his “turnaround” opportunity, which was now renamed La Hacienda de Tijuana, Jesse announced on BajaNomads that the name and concept of the restaurant has been changed to Trez Restaurant & Lounge, because the new concept was more profitable.
|Change of concept|
Now, anybody in the restaurant business knows you don’t spend a lot of time and tons of money developing a menu, a service team and a chef and then change it all in just a few months. In any event, a few more months after Jesse announced the change in concept, he was out of work in Tijuana.
The story behind the story is that the owners of the property where La Hacienda de Tijuana was located are drug money launderers who are listed on the Foreign Narcotic Kingpin Designation Act. It seems Jesse’s first venture into the restaurant business was financed with drug money.
While all this was happening, another poster on BajaNomads, Aldo Salato, took note of Jesse’s restaurant activities. Aldo Salato was an Italian and a naturalized Mexican citizen married to a Mexican woman. He had a property in La Paz and wanted to start a restaurant named “Las Tres Virgenes.” Jesse was out of work and broke in Tijuana, and Aldo made him an incredible offer.
Aldo’s wife died from cancer in 2007, just months after “Las Tres Virgenes” opened, leaving Aldo a widower with three small children. Tragically, in December 2010, Aldo Salato died in a diving accident in the Sea of Cortez. Before he died, Aldo wanted to let the world know the story of his experience with Jesse, but knew that politics in Baja California Sur would make it too dangerous a story to tell. It was a story that had to wait until after his death. Here, in Aldo’s own words, is his story:
I was the guy that 4 years ago approached Jesse when he was living in TJ with NO job and NO money. I offered him to be the front man to open Las Tres Virgenes restaurant on my own building in La Paz. I paid for everything and for his Chilean girlfriend Maria Jose’ to come to La Paz and become a known chef after working as an illegal in an industrial kitchen.
I lost my wife (a well known and loved local girl) for a cancer battle three years ago while leaving Jesse in charge of everything. My wife wanted to fire him at the first lie. Myself always tried to save him hoping he would have said thanks one day. Unfortunately he was successful only to develop his own image.
Jesse is smart and probably he will have success in life but he will never say thanks or I am sorry.
Jesse ego is just too big. He cannot admit he is wrong and he cannot say thanks to anybody that helped him when he was down.
Having him on board was a nightmare (problem with employee, problem with the accountant, problem with missing money) and in the end I was so fed up that I ended losing the restaurant to him together with a good severance payment.
I was the guy that fed my own enemy in my own nest. I probably lost more than 150,000 USD in the two years I had the restaurant Las Tres Virgenes with Jesse in charge.
Jesse moved on and with his new money partner, Geoffrey Lujan Pruitt (the buddy from the Hard Rock Cafe in Tijuana) and whatever he could squeeze out of Aldo Salata, is running Las Tres Virgenes in its new location in La Paz. The restaurant built with other people’s money and Jesse’s guile.
|Jesus Chávez Partida, wetting his beak|