A House with a ‘Benefit’ — a Saga of Dealing with Henri-Louis Maunoir, a Genevan Real-Estate ‘Celebrity’. Part 3 — Tenants You Say?

This piece is a continuation of the Part 1 — A Warm Welcome and Part 2 — A Respectful Scammer.

In any business that is based on clients the most important thing is to keep them satisfied and happy for they bring in the money by staying loyal. Especially so, in the letting-renting business where the customer is the one who pays the landlord’s bills, literally.

There is a saying: ‘The client is always right, even if he/she is wrong’. The statement is wise. For the clients might be wrong on certain occasions and not great all around, but if they are not happy, the business will eventually wither out. The notion that Henri-Louis Maunoir and the agency Bory Regie do not seem to comprehend. For they treat their clients like second-rate citizens who must pay regularly, stay loyal, be happy with whatever nonsense comes their way from the ‘top’, and then do not have even a say when their needs are not met. It seems that Henri-Louis Maunoir and the agency Bory Regie adopted a top-down attitude, which they have been rigorously practicing. Anything that comes from them should be respected and immediately executed, and everything that comes to them from their tenants e.g. from ‘down’, should be neglected and ignored.

In the six years of living in the flat on Plateau de Champel 20 in Geneva, we have tried numerous times to have some sort of dialogue with the owner through the agency Bory Regie, but every time collided with their top-down attitude. Sometimes, it seemed to us that they were talking to themselves, a sort of monologue that serves no purpose.

Our appealing to ASLOCA organisation that represents tenants’ rights helped us in many ways, yet it did not stop the owner and the Bory Regie to bully us on every suitable occasion. However, we were not the only ones who experienced the bullying attitude of the agency. New tenants did as well in the form of having been made to sign rental contracts where the agency Bory Regie tried to prevent them from going to the Tribunal with rent reduction appeals. Such was the case of the doctor Mathieu Rougemont who in 2018 moved into the apartment that served him as an office. In his rental contract there was the mentioned above clause that, in fact, did not have any legal value but served as a bullying trick. But Mathieu Rougemont did not know it until he went to ASLOCA and consulted with its lawyers.

For us, there had been three years of mediations, writing backs and forwards, trying to put our message through, and simply to stay positive and not lose hope in humanity.

When our case, dealing with the rent reduction due to the CEVA metro construction works in front of the building where we lived, finally reached the Tribunal, it was already summer of 2019. Sensing that things are taking a serious turn, Henri-Louis Maunoir, as all poor little millionaires do, ran to an expensive lawyer — Blaise Grosjean of the Grosjean Didisheim Reich Pinoch, to protect his rights. As if it has been about anyone else’s rights than his own for the past six years. The trouble though is that not every lawyer is smart enough to deal with millionaire’s scams, even if he is, like Blaise Grosjean, also a judge ‘suppleand a la Cour de Justice’.

Being corrupt and defending one’s interests using one’s connections in the governmental and juridical system is one thing and building a comprehensive defence based on facts is a completely different cup of tea, as the English say. The very cup of tea that Blaise Grosjean is trying to serve the judges of the Tribunal administrative de premiere instance. His ‘cup of tea’ is to base the defence of his client on a lie. Not knowing us, nor what we really do for a living, he assumed that we had employment contracts with some companies in Geneva, and therefore were not present in the apartment during the day on work days, thus could not have been disturbed by the construction works. A good try, but a great miss. Not only we stayed in the apartment during the working hours, for both of us being independent professionals worked from home, but because of this we were able to record in photographs and videos the CEVA metro construction works and contradict some ‘official’ information that CEVA and Ville de Genève wanted to present to the outside world.

The false assumption made by Blaise Grosjean shows that he, as well as Henri-Louis Maunoir, have one type of scenario applies all attitude. What a misjudgement. But yet again, ‘tell me who your lawyer is and I will tell you who you are’. The scam that Henri-Louis Maunoir applied to foreign new comers who wanted to rent an apartment in his building was based exactly on the above type of scenario. The scenario that Henri-Louis Maunoir’s lawyer not wishing to do so, has given away.

Starting with a lie, Blaise Grosjean continued to build his defence on other lies and twisting of the truth. Twisting that would suit Henri-Louis Maunoir that is. Although, it is normal to wish to defend a client and not work against him, it is not normal to build the defence on lies. The skill of a good lawyer lies in being able to use the existing true facts to create a defence that would show the judges the other side of the coin, and not to create smoky mirrors to mislead the investigation.

As was mentioned in the Part 2 — A Respectful Scammer, the first case of the rental increase scam remains with the Justice Court of Geneva. But unfortunately, with such people as Blaise Grosjean, who, apart from defending the poor little millionaire’s rights, also serves as supplementary judge in the Justice Court of Geneva, the finding of truth and justice is a big question mark.

What for the second case of the rent discount due to the CEVA metro construction works, it is being currently discussed in the Tribunal administrative de premiere instance. However, the discussion is not quite the right word for it since it resembles more of dragging the feet one centimetre at a time than an efficient discussion.

For us, this very ‘efficient discussion’ started in 2017 with the court mediation sessions in the hope of settling the matter amiably through diplomatic negotiations. But it proved impossible. Not only Henri-Louis Maunoir was not available for negotiations — instead, he sent his lawyers to sit through mediation sessions, — but he also seemed to set his mind on saying ‘no’ to anything that does not serve his financial interests. This resentment of any negotiations or even willingness to come to some sort of compromise tells a lot about Henri-Louis Maunoir — a person who is certainly convinced in his right to be always righteous and everyone else to be always wanting to rob him of his profits.

In his attitude Henri-Louis Maunoir is not alone. The same way of thinking has been adopted by CFF Swiss railway company that is responsible for CEVA metro construction and the Ville de Genève administration who are responsible for making a huge mess while ‘improving’ the living environment on Plateau de Champel. Both are convinced that where their actions are concerned they were doing everything correctly, responsibly, quietly and respectfully to people and the environment, and that the citizens of Geneva absolutely must appreciate their enormous effort. The only minor detail that they disregarded in their conviction is the people themselves — tenants of the buildings next to the CEVA metro constructions sites who suffered 10 years of disturbance, noise, dust, and inconveniences, and the citizens of Geneva who to be honest did not even need CEVA metro, for the city is so compact that everything is more or less a walking distance.

These organisations that were also brought to court in regards to the rental compensation due to CEVA metro construction works are building their defence on the notion that they were improving the living environment and that apparently, we should have been grateful for living next to the construction site all these years, since it was for our own benefit. Stupid us indeed. The only thing being that the ‘stupid us’ could not use the very benefit the CFF and Ville de Genève are referring to, for it was in the process of being constructed, and when we finally could, we moved out. A great asset it was indeed, but not for us, for such people as Henri-Louis Maunoir, for the CFF, for Ville de Genève administrative bureaucrats. All of them benefited from the CEVA metro construction works in some way — Henri-Louis Maunoir on his scam with rental prices, CFF from the federal budgets and investments, Ville de Genève from redistributing the federal investment between the members of the tight clique, consisting of certain local high-ranking officials and the local contractors.

As of today, the 30 December 2020, there are eight CEVA construction rent reduction related cases against Henri-Louis Maunoir with the Tribunal of Geneva and the investigation is still ongoing. Whether the judges will finally see through Henri-Louis Maunoir and the alike of him, and break the corruption chain is yet to be seen, for old habits die hard, especially in the Genevan gentlemen’s club of righteous millionaires, high ranking officials, dubious judges, and ‘respectable’ monopolists.

Seraphima Bogomolova

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