granada la bella

where anything is possible

The rather sad and somewhat sordid saga of the Lorca Centre’s missing millions -

and the unfortunate consequences thereof.


A consortium made up of representatives of the Diputación de Granada (provincial government), the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Junta de Andalucía (regional government) and the Granada city council agree to establish a Lorca Centre in Granada, the purpose of which is to house the poet’s ‘legacy’*. The Lorca Foundation, whose president is Laura García-Lorca, the poet’s niece, has the job of overseeing the construction of the site.

Juan Tomás Martín, in the guise of his prívate company Desarrollo (Development), is taken on (by Laura García-Lorca) to secure and administer public and private funding for the construction work

 23 January 2005

The Mexican and Slovenian architects MX-SL win first prize in a public competition and therewith the commission to design and direct the construction project for the Centre.

*The “Lorca Legacy” refers to the collection of thousands of documents and manuscripts as well as literary, critical, and artistic works that bear direct witness to the poet’s life, times and creative activity, previously stored at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid


Work  starts on the building

March 2007

The Centre was expected to be operative before the end of 2008.

Between 2007 y 2013

Juan Tomás Martín is entrusted, given a free hand indeed, with the general management of the Centre.

October 2010

a truly impressive programme is announced for the planned opening in the summer of 2011. The programme includes:

  • an exhibition about Lorca’s poetry collection Poet in New York.
  • an artistic staging of the public readings Lorca used to give of Poet in New York in the 1930s
  • an exhibition on Dalí, Lorca y la Residencia de Estudiantes. Opposite a pcture of Lorca in his room at the Residencia with the painting Dalí gave him.
  • a performance of How Five Years Pass
  • a production fusing the unfinished play we call Comedy without a Title with its ‘play within the play’ Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

By January 2011

It is clear that the much anticipated grand inauguration scheduled for the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Lorca’s birth on June 5 that year is not going to come off. “It’s unbelievable," laments Lorca Foundation President Laura García-Lorca. "The Lorca Centre should never have been a problem.” The problem was a 4.5 million euro deficit in the consortium’s accounts.

 July 2011

The official opening was rescheduled for March 2012, but that didn't happen, either.

 October 2013.

The workmen have moved in! To finish the job! It's actually happening. [//] "Work is being resumed on the Lorca Centre and it will be finished by June 2014 I blogged then. "This time - it’s true!" Laura García-Lorca was also totally convinced (this time) that the problem of financing the Lorca Centre had been resolved and the Centre would be opened in time for the 116th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2014.


Without pomp, without ceremony, and without the invaluable resources of the long-awaited Lorca legacy, the Centre is opened to the public.


Laura García-Lorca publically accuses Juan Tomás Martín of misappropriation of funds and forgery. Martín, it turns out, had been regularly and systematically forging García-Lorca’s signature to increase his own commission from 4% to 15% on all the subsidies and financial commitments he had negotiated for the Centre.


When we were assured that the legacy archive would be transferred from Madrid to the purpose-built Lorca Centre in time for the 119th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2017 (it wasn't), I couldn't help wondering if this was such a good move in view of local corruPSOE petty crooks like Juan Tomás, constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to line their own pockets. [//] But I guess Madrid is not corruption-free, either.


 Laura García-Lorca, at the Centre on the occasion of the Lorca Poetry Prize award ceremony -it seems that in the meantime she has fled Granada for Madrid and had not shown her face at the Centre since the Juan Tomás affair - announces (a little less than triumphantly) that the latest auditing of the Foundation's post-Juan Tomás accounts has been approved and now no obstacle stood in the way of the transfer of the archive from the Residencia in Madrid. Once again she expresses her 100% conviction that it would all be done and dusted by the end of the year, 2017.

April 2018

Juan Tomás Martín admits to embezzling two million euros from the Centre and is sentenced to two years in prison, a sentence that the court offers to let him off if he is willing to return the embezzled 2 million! Martín agrees to the deal.

The 2 million represented the difference between the 4% he was legally entitled to and the 15% he paid himself by forging García-Lorca’s signature. Seeing as he enjoyed his boss’s complete trust in running the affairs of the Centre and in view of his demonstrated dubious business practices, the amounts he creamed off for himself through dishonest or creative accounting could have been much higher, and probably go a long way towards explaining the 4.5m deficit that held up the buiding work for so long..

Juan Tomás, the con man, and his victim, Laura García-Lorca

August 2018

It is announced that the first exhibition made up exclusively with ítems from the “Lorca Legacy” would be Amor (con alas y flechas) [Love (with wings and arrows], commissioned by University of Boston Professor and Lorca expert Christopher Maurer.   


Finally, 11 October 2018

We were at last able to visit the first exhibition at the Lorca Centre made up exclusively of ítems from the “Lorca Legacy” - however, not the previously announced Amor (con alas y flechas) but Desde el Centro [From the Centre]: Lorca y Granada. A reference in the exhibition inauguration speeches made to this exhibition being put together rather hurriedly, suggests another undesired improvisation has been forced on the Centre’s administrators.

April 2019

Amor (con alas y flechas) is on the Centre’s programme of events for 2019.

Updated 16 May 2019

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