Old House’, part of Beauperthuy succession properties, to be sold at auction on May 13

Old House’, part of Beauperthuy succession  properties, to be sold at auction on May 13

Aerial view of Old House in French Quarter. (Les Fruits de Mer photo)


MARIGOT--The movement “Our Land Matters” confirmed over the weekend that Old House in French Quarter is part of three lots to be auctioned off on May 13, according to an advertisement placed in “The New York Times”. “Le Pélican” newspaper has also published the auction notice from “The New York Times”.

The movement “Our Land Matters” was created in 2016 to safeguard the property rights of indigenous St. Martiners. The Beauperthuy succession has resulted in several court battles over the years.

Old House is currently operating as Amuseum Naturalis, a free museum run by the non-profit Association Les Fruits De Mer, which studies and shares the unique nature and heritage of St. Martin and the Caribbean.

The parcels to be auctioned are AW141, AW142 and AW143 with a starting price of 2,500,000 euros.

Prior to Les Fruits de Mer, Old House was home to the late Pierre Beauperthuy, a descendant of six generations of Beauperthuys. His home was partly turned into a museum housing a fascinating collection of memorabilia, photos, personal objects and curios handed down through the generations that transformed Old House into a popular visitor attraction.

Pierre Beauperthuy was murdered on March 3, 2015, in what was believed to be a botched burglary at the house.

Reacting to the auction announcement, St. Maarten Pride Foundation said in a post: “It is extremely painful to witness the family heritage on the Northern side of the island of Ferdinand Beauperthuy, the Beauperthuy family and other related families, being sold from under their feet. Will nothing be done to prevent this iconic location and associated properties from being lost?”

This latest turn of events is the first since protests erupted in January 2022 over the auctioning off of part of the land belonging to Pierre Rudolphe Webster in Griselle, Orient Bay, for 550,000 euros despite Webster claiming he had title to the land which he purchased in 1985. A different part of the Webster property was subsequently purchased by the Collectivité as a safeguard for the family.

“The court has ruled that our great-grandfather had no rights to prescribe to his children and annulled all the sales that were done in 1931 and 1932,” Ferdinand Beauperthuy explained when contacted Sunday. “Three administrators were appointed to find all the heirs: one of the administrators is a company in France with branches in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana.

“But the case has been taken back to the first original Beauperthuy who settled here and he died in 1863. The administrators want to find all the heirs around the world under that individual. That’s like opening a Pandora’s Box.

“What we’ve done as a family in St. Martin is to ask the Collectivité and the new president to work on our behalf, to petition themselves to be the first bidders, to safeguard a lot of the Beauperthuy properties destined to be sold.

“We’re trying to prevent properties ending up in the hands of Europeans and leaving St. Martiners with nothing at the end of the day. In this case now, we are hoping that the Collectivité has some arguments to stop the sale. We know the president seems to be good with the people and has met with the administrator at least three times to negotiate over properties that are concerned.”

Beauperthuy said the administrator has at least 300 acres or more of properties coming up for sale, threatening to change the landscape forever. “The administrator is asking for 46 million euros, but I believe the Collectivité has contested that, stating 20 to 25 million euros as some of the areas are non-constructible and should be re-valued.”

He indicated procedure seems not to have been followed, since a marshal has already visited the Old House.

“We want to know how the administrator is going about this, as they are supposed to wait until negotiations with the Collectivité are done instead of going onto properties and announcing an auction.”

It is not yet known what the position is of the Préfecture and the Collectivité on this matter and the position of the special mission that was appointed to study the land issues in St. Martin, and what came out of those studies.

However, further clarity should be revealed as Collectivité President Louis Mussington is due to address the issue on the radio this morning, Monday.

The Daily Herald

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