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O Lord Won’t Buy Me a Mercedes Benz?

Governor Wins Legal Battle for Control of Taman Festival Complex in Legal Battle with Mercedes Benz Mogul Hartono.

(9/4/2011) A prolonged legal battle between the provincial government of Bali and an Indonesian businessman over the title to the defunct Bali Taman Festival project may finally be coming to a conclusion.

Radar Bali reports that a legal appeal brought by Hari Boedihartono (Hartono) against the governor of Bali for control of the 9.5 hectare site near Padang Galak in Sanur has been won by the Governor. Hartono is the owner of the local Mercedes Benz dealership and a hotel property in Kuta.

During the administration of Ida Bagus Oka, the province entered into a joint-venture with Indonesian businessmanand timber tycoon Bambang Pengestu for a proposed US$100 million entertainment complex near Sanur – Taman Festival Bali. The soft opening in 1997 gave visitors a glimpse of a promised complex comprised of an amusement park, dining venues, a mini-brewery, animal exhibits, outside performance stage and a faux volcano rigged to explode every night at 7:00 p.m..

The park, however, eventually went bankrupt and closed its doors with the developer unable to complete the construction. In the intervening years the park has fallen into adject neglect and disrepair.

Apparently, Pangestu pledged the Taman Festival Bali Developer land as collateral with a bank that in turn sold the lease to Hartono who has been aggressvely trying to take possession of the valuable coastal land ever since. The province of Bali, however, has declared the lease agreement non-valid by virtue of Pangestu’s failure to deliver on his obligation to build the promised park and the fact that the land was, in any case, only leased by the province and never deeded to Pangestu. Bali’s provincial authorities maintain that Pangestu's pledging of land he did now own to a bank was not legal.

An initial suit over control and ownership of the land before the Surabaya courts was won by Bali. Hartono’s efforts to appeal that decision also ended in failure with Bali’s rights over the land being reaffirmed by the Jakarta appellate court.

Based on the courts’ decisions, the governor’s office is now taking the necessary steps with the State Land Agency (BPN) to assume control of the land,

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