By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE-When he spoke to the Montrose Mirror last March, Luis Guillermo Cadena of Montrose was successfully running his own restaurant, Shanty 2, at 411 North Townsend Avenue. The 43-year-old entrepreneur had an appreciative and steady clientele, built up over seven years. He liked nothing more than to chat with his customers when he had a moment away from the grill.
An immigrant, Cadena had originally come to Montrose because of his parents, who worked at the Russell Stover Candy Factory, and spent most of his adult life in the region. “Before I opened at this location, I was in Ridgway, and before that in Telluride for 13 years,” he told the Mirror. “I was the second chef at Los Montanas.”
Today, Cadena is nowhere to be seen at Shanty 2, at his Montrose home, or behind the wheel of one of the four vehicles he owned. Instead, he is in Mexico, unable to return to the United States, while an ex-girlfriend and his adult daughter run the Shanty 2 under a limited liability company created on the day he was suddenly arrested and deported, Aug. 9.
According to Montrose Attorney Dan Lowenberg, who represents Cadena, his client would now be homeless in Juarez but for the presence of an Uncle who has taken him in. Cadena’s former girlfriend and daughter seized control of all of his business and personal assets and vehicles at the time of the arrest, citing a Power of Attorney that was intended to allow Cadena’s daughter to use his assets to represent him while he was in Mexico. However, the Power of Attorney had been revoked when Cadena grew suspicious of his daughter’s motives and behavior, Lowenberg said.
A transcript of an Oct. 14 Montrose District Court hearing in which a special conservator was appointed to represent Cadena’s interests reveal that his daughter, Veronica Galvez, acknowledged having already spent more than $10,000 in cash that had been left in a safe at the restaurant in just two months.
“We needed extra clothes, shampoo, basic things to live off from,” she told the Court, and insisted, “…all of this was for me and my daughters to live off from.”
However, Cadena himself told the Court by phone, “I did not tell her to give my stuff away or keeping it to her, no.”
District Court Judge Mary Deganhart ordered Galvez and Cadena’s ex-girlfriend to transfer remaining assets to back Cadena and the conservatorship. The two must also account for profits earned by the Shanty2 since his deportation.
“I want the Montrose community to know what happened to Luis,”Lowenberg told the Mirror today. “He’s a good guy. I miss his cooking.
“And I’m his advocate. I’m going to see that he is vindicated and that he gets his belongings back.”
Lowenberg said he currently has a request pending with the Court for a final hearing on claims of theft against Cadena’s ex-girlfriend and daughter. “They were blinded by greed,” he said, adding that others who find themselves being taken advantage of by loved ones or even strangers should not allow themselves to be bullied, but should fight back when they realize what is happening.
“Trust, but verify,” Lowenberg said. “Even the people closest to you—if you have a feeling something is not right, stand up for yourself. If someone is trying to steal from you, fight back—or get someone else to fight for you.”