Sunday, February 07, 2021

The Evilevers S01E04: Er Indoors

Until Lever's wife Carmen went to the police on February 19, 2018 and accused me of having attacked her when I was not in fact even in Guatemala, I could be said to have been guilty of overlooking the threat that she posed. 

Pretty much the classic mosquita muerta.

First impressions should count, and the first time I came across her roughly four years earlier (the time that Lever was trying to apologise to me for violently abusing his dog) I detected an uncanny emptiness emanating from her. 

Nevertheless, my wife and I soon both had reason enough to be sympathetic, having concluded that, as the little dog appeared to have vanished, she was almost certainly going to be next in the firing line. 

We were indeed soon witnessing some downright unchivalrous behaviour, most memorably when she was heavily pregnant in 2015. I'd been chatting to Lever in front of his main entrance and she pulled up in her car. He continued to converse with me, ignoring the fact that directly behind him she was obviously struggling to open the heavy iron gate. 

During the course of my wife's own first lengthy dialogue with her early in 2015, right outside our portón, a bubbly Carmen Solares had announced her engagement, described her wedding dress and then invited V to the event itself in May. She politely refused of course, and found herself gently lecturing the younger woman on how she should only ask along people she knows rather more deeply and have a vested interest in her wellbeing. 

Around the same time (February 25, 2015) the mother of our two grey tabbies strayed over the wall and into Lever's garden and I had a perfectly civil exchange with his fiancée during which she permitted me to go inside and collect our errant kitty. 

So we both concluded that she was young and possibly a little naïve and given what we had already seen of Lever's behaviour (more on that another day) when she was not present, we were inclined towards a compassionate approach. Indeed, once Lever's apparently deliberate encroachments on our patrimonio became undeniable, my wife advised me to go easy on the pair of them as they were newlyweds, his wife is pregnant etc. etc. 

Then on Saturday August 8, 2015 there was a major rumpus next door. The noise of (a lot of) breakables breaking followed shortly by the bizarre sight and sound of the now Mrs Lever running around starkers in the street outside screeching like a banshee. 

Her husband, himself only semi-attired, was soon out and began to deploy the sort of disgusting misogynistic language towards her that we'd become all too familiar with later on. 

We didn't see what happened next, but can surmise that he somehow man-handled her indoors and then into what has to have been either a cupboard or a very small room, securing the door. From that point onwards, and throughout the night until almost dawn, she could be heard banging and screaming loudly, pleading to be released. 

And we did nothing. So on top of our inclination towards sympathy we additionally ended up with what one might describe as a legacy of guilt. Had this been London we'd have dialled 999 for sure. But here in Guatemala any involvement with the local authorities comes with inevitable blowback, so we pulled the pillows over our heads. 

The first proper indication that Carmen Solares de Lever intended to be our permanent antagonist was when I had a meeting with the engineer in charge of the water department at Cesar Brañas on February 6, 2018. For a week he had been conducting an investigation we had requested into the excesses that had arisen on our bill since Lever fashioned a sort of swimming pool in his garden. 

Up until this point this official had been helpful, promising an expediente on the matter, but the moment I joined him at his desk it was clear that something had changed. 'La Canchita' had been in to see him, he confided. 

At this stage all I had asked for was an explanation in writing of the fines and for why the neighbouring property did not feature on their system. I had not made any attempt to report Lever personally for theft to the Muni and had no plans to make a denuncia at the Ministerio Público. Yet somehow, his wife had discovered that we had asked for an investigation into what were essentially our own affairs and was determined to interfere with it, even though this would ultimately make matters far more serious between us as neighbours in La Antigua.  

My meeting with the engineer now took a bizarre turn. He asked me if, by any chance, I possess any photos of 'La Canchita' in a bikini. A clumsy attempt at entrapment I surmised, largely because of what was to follow. If I had said yes, he'd have pursued another tack, but since I admonished him for his tasteless enquiry, he said he could find a way to reimburse me for the excess charges we had been asked to pay. We'd still have to cough up downstairs first, he added, because this compensation would not be coming from the Municipality itself. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more squire. 

I refused. It was never about the money and anyway, accepting a pay-off in this way in front of a witness (he'd made sure that another, mute Muni employee pulled a chair up to the desk during this exchange) would undoubtedly be just another form of entrapment. 

Lever always knew he was committing a serious delito, and I had told him so. On the 23rd of September 2016 we bumped into each other outside and he asked me out of the blue if we paid for our water. I told him that of course we did. He looked flummoxed and prattled on how he had inherited a 'special deal' from the previous owner whereby the water supply came free of charge. I made my best sceptical face and warned him quite sternly that hurto de fluidos is considered quite a serious crime in Antigua and possibly even more so in this village where the often feeble daytime flow has been the number one gripe for at least four decades. 

No Meter Lever

Anyway, I had long known that he had been freeloading, because during one of his garden parties back in 2014 he'd been repeatedly shouting 'I have freeeeeee water'. One of his guests had done exactly what I myself did upon encountering this boast and cautioned him. Undeterred, Lever had replied by screaming 'I don't give a daaaaaaamn'. 

My refusal of the bribe was surely the impetus for the false denuncia. The Levers have consistently used slurs and sham legal counter-attacks as a way of throwing up obstacles to any criminal investigation into his own behaviour. 

But at a meeting inside the Ministerio Público on October 22 last year, their lawyer Claudia Paniagua made a wayward claim that had me looking for my jaw on the shiny terracotta tiles below. 

In a tone that might generously be described as somewhat condescending, she informed V that, "si la señora hace memoria", she ought to recall that Carmen Lever filed that duplicitous police report because she was so upset that we had been playing the ditty Mayores by Becky G

If your jaw is not on the floor now, it should be. An accredited lawyer in this country, with designs on the highest office, apparently believes that being miffed in the manner of a petulant adolescent would be just cause for breaking the law by lying to the policeAnd she stated this as if the she were a first hand witness to this dreamt up event. 

In the UK you can be jailed for simply ringing the emergency services without a proper pretext.

Having been subjected, during the autumn of 2019, to an intense and really quite loathsome stream of personal abuse via Carmen Solares de Lever's Instagram account (full details in a future episode), I can honestly say that at no stage during that six week period did it ever occur to me that this had delivered sufficient provocation for me to go about depositing a malicious and phoney statement against her at the local police station. 

And let me repeat, on the 18th of February 2018 I was up in Campeche Mexico, — and have the passport stamps to show for it — and so could neither have attacked Carmen Lever nor indeed played a reggaeton track that pisses her off, unless her hearing is astonishingly acute. 

Tellingly, bad bunny never mentioned this subjectively-traumatic tidbit of Latin pop at the time of her denuncia nor indeed in front of the judge. 

And it was only added to our iTunes Library a few months later, by which time Lever had been long using music with conscripted lyrics supposedly in order to hurt and intimidate us, something that was reported to the authorities long before Licenciada Paniagua's risible remark on 6a Avenida. 

If we really had been blasting out this track non-stop for twenty hours I do think that every human and animal on either side of the wall would have been rendered permanently senseless.

Yet Paniagua was of course correct to suggest that Mrs Lever's denuncia originated as a pathetic act of petty vengeance — just not for the reason she was suggesting. 

We faced up to our accuser on March 12, 2018 at the Juzgado de Paz. By this time Lever had already abused my own wife in the street in front of multiple friends and family and had sexually exposed himself to her for the first time two days later. It was shortly after that infraction, that I wrote about the former here in my blog, in a rather fresh state of rage. 

Yet the exposure that proved perhaps most stressful to me was having to deal with defending myself against cooked up charges in a foreign court, and when my lawyer advised us to seek reconciliation at the conclusion of the audiencia, suggesting that this was the done thing and would probably put an end to the Levers' hostility, I agreed and I believed him — and this has turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life. 

For it's clear to me now that I should have made her face the consequences then and there for her lies, not least because she has subsequently done it again on several occasions. 

Indeed, the reconciliation in March 2018 was forged on condition that the Levers build their own wall and the judge duly gave them six months to do so. In order to secure that 'treaty' Mrs Lever had to perjure herself by claiming in the courtroom under oath that she already had a signed-off architectural plan for said wall, and that the application had been duly filed. 

Her lawyer Rebeca Barrios then raised her hand and 'gave faith as a lawyer' that this paperwork, including the plan, was sitting somewhere in the Muni. It was not. (Again, this is something that could get you disbarred in the UK.) 

Judge Sunum ended the audiencia by criticising Mrs Lever's attitude and behaviour in his courtroom, which had included answering one of his questions by waving her hand at him dismissively and repeatedly scrolling through her chat or social media feeds when he had specifically told her to put her phone way on numerous occasions. 

Outside in the courtyard I shook hands with her and really did hope for the best. She had committed to keeping the peace and furthermore to making sure that everyone else in her household knew that she had, and would be bound to collaborate. Yet within a matter of weeks she was on the warpath again. 

Her next move was to go to the Muni and report us for painting our front gate and the edges of the pavement either side. Seriously. You couldn't charaterise this even fancifully as a lio de vecinos, because the matter had nothing to do with the Levers at all. It had been done following an investigation into a mysterious vehicle that tended to park alongside our banqueta every day (ironically, it turned out to belong to a fiscal at the MP) after liaison with the local COCOPRE and the alcalde auxiliar

Here she is again in late 2018, apparently dead set on dobbing us in once more, this time for the heinous offence of repairing the cobbled road in front of our house. There was just no stopping her. (This empedrado was originally funded and laid down by the previous owner of our home, not by the Muni.)

It's that little nod of triumph that makes this clip so delightful.

She was also joining in the childish fun of giving the finger whenever possible to our security cameras, more than occasionally whilst in the company of an actual child

On the basis of more optimistic advice from the same lawyer, we had installed these cameras in April 2018 precisely to head off the threat of any future false denuncias and, more generally, to encourage the señora to behave herself. 


And yet it is surely she not her hubby who must be held responsible for encouraging their cleaner to get in on the act, recorded here on November 7, 2018 making an entirely uncalled-for obscene gesture at my wife (out of shot). 

In a way we are glad that we went on record ages ago with INACIF about our growing concern was that Carmen Solares de Lever would in due course start to weaponise her children against us, because boy did that happen right on schedule. (Future episode...)

I suppose the most recent development is that late last year on October 29, Mrs Lever took her husband and Lic. Claudia Paniagua to the Ministerio Público in order to make another denuncia against us both, this time making use of a more prejudicial statute. 

On this occasion the attempted stitch-up was even more ludicrously blatant. Mrs Lever falsified the date of the alleged events, picking a subsequent afternoon which allowed her own gardener to falsify the evidence (something he was filmed doing) and to cap it all, took a picture of our young nephew Alex in an attempt to falsify his identity. 

If her first pack of porkies was something of a knee-jerk reaction, this one was in a sense much more morally repugnant, because it was clearly premeditated and packaged with grubby inuendo. 

The latter included insinuations about the position of our security cameras, which had been installed by pros and were part of a system documented in detail by the fiscales from the MP the previous February in relation to the aggressive intimidation we'd long been subjected to by her husband. These possess low-res, wide angle, analogue lenses not telephotos, and the nearest internal camera at the time of the denuncia was situated at least 25m from the property line. 

At the time of installation the Levers were benefitting from the privacy afforded by our wall and the plants and trees that we were growing alongside it. 

Anyway, article 279 of the local code specifies that wild and damaging allegations of this nature need, at the very least, to be supported by a third-party dictamen and the Levers presented nothing of the sort. 

This time I won't be allowing her to get away with it. 

Incidentally, I won't be making any statements in any of these posts that I would not be prepared to repeat — under oath — at the juzgadoUnlike la canchita, I have severe scruples about perjuring myself. And I am being careful to distinguish between events I suppose to have happened and those I know to have happened, and can prove it. 

Readers might recall that in the pilot episode I mentioned the confidential report given to me by a respected panza verde professional who believed he had established that Lever is a man even his closest friends would admit had long been suffering from mental health issues, yet had seemingly turned a corner once he married Carmen Solares in 2015.

Yet that corner didn't take him to a good place at all. Lever is to a large extent WYSIWYG. His wife on the other hand is nearly all artifice. And far more ruthless. I have seen enough of her behaviour towards us now to realise that she could not have been a good influence on anyone close to her. 

The lesson here is that one should take care not to acquire as an embittered foe someone who hasn't really worked to get where she is, at least not in the immediately-understood sense; someone with an inflated sense of an acquired status and perhaps also of its inherent vulnerability. 

Solares Batres reportedly hails from Barberena, a tatty township in the Santa Rosa department southeast of the capital that I am fairly familiar with. She is one of half a dozen daughters born to her mother — each with a different father — domestic circumstances which must be an outlier even for Guatemala and which do not usually bode well for socioeconomic advancement. 

Nevertheless, somehow, the siblings have collectively emerged from them, most with a decent education and/or a profession. Yet before becoming Mrs Lever, our neighbour had confided to V that she was the black sheep of the sisterhood, the one nobody had ever expected to come good. 

So, the question that any good historian would now be asking is this: is this all just a case of a man who acted as a presumptuous and mildly anti-social next-door neighbour —  hell-bent on getting away with whatever he could — ultimately led astray by a spiteful spouse, whose ill counsel would escalate what had begun as a minor border controversy — easily resolvable with a dollop of good manners — into a ruinous and potentially deadly conflict?

Or put it another way: a bloke who was so pig obstinate about not building his own wall or discharging his other obligations as a property owner in Guatemala, that he allowed a containable situation to crumble alarmingly. 

Well, as mentioned above, Jason Lever left all common decency behind remarkably quickly. 

And once that happens, the perpetrator can either come clean and take the punishment or he can try to duck and dive like a shirker, whilst in the meantime doing everything in his power to demean his victim. Once toxic people lose the ability to control you, they soon resort to an attempt to control how others perceive you. 

The incident below was a kind of drive-by derogation. In the evening of the 8th of November, 2018 Lever found us clustered in a small family group, children included, outside our home as he whizzed past on his Douchati shouting "Ahhh, it's the cunt and the ugly bitch" yobbishly. 

We ignored him and continued to do so as he settled in his own entrance and began lecturing several generations of my wife's family from a distance about how she had married me for my money. One of the children produced a cellphone and captured the tail end of the encounter...

The two of us met in La Antigua 32 years ago. I had just graduated and my future wife was working here in IT. We were introduced by her family. During the time we later lived in London she was taken on by two of the biggest investment banks in the City, Bankers Trust and Merril Lynch and was for a long time the higher earner. When I co-founded an ultimately successful digital media company, we had been together for years and in that particular story I owe her so much. 

Before spouting such disrespectful and libelous nonsense, Jason Wade Lever needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. 

Overall then, I am inclined to see his reluctance to open a water account with the Muni and his use of his wife to hamper any investigation into this as a symptom of a more sinister phenomenon, into which Mrs Lever's persistent fraudulence with the authorities slots largely as a sub-plot: a matter I will tackle in an upcoming episode, entitled The 5G Conspiracy Theory

By way of a cliffhanger though, I will report that long before we were brushed away by the Departamento de Agua in early 2018, on April 29, 2014 someone had burgled the water meter from right outside our main gate, resulting in a minor flood in the vicinity that lasted several days. 

Fortunately, we were advised at the time by an old friend, then the alcalde auxiliar, to properly report this a crime to the PNC, along with the meter's numerical ID.

These devices have some minor intrinsic resale value. But we wondered at the time why of all the water meters in the village, the thief chose ours. It took us quite a while to apprehend the possible connection between this theft and the fact that the missing meter was registered to our address.

Episode 3: The Misadventures of Jason Lever

Episode 2: The Last Supper


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