The ‘grey house’ is a metaphor for something deeper and more opaque. We are seeing it with the unfolding towards new lines of investigation, legal and journalistic, due to the ramifications that this means in the image of the President, derived from the communiqués of José Ramón López Beltrán and his wife, Carolyn Adams, to distance themselves from any conflict of interest on the rent of a house belonging to a former oil executive who did business with Pemex. Both insist that there is no irregularity, let alone illegality, and have pointed this out in two communiqués. But there is a story behind it that, if President Andrés Manuel López Obrador does not know it, he should, because it has to do with the professional life of his daughter-in-law in Mexico.
Mrs. Adams did not give details of her time in Mexico in her first statement, nor how she related to José Ramón, with whom she formed a family. People who know their time in this country affirm that the person who introduced them in 2018 was Érik Legorreta, president of the Mexican Association of the Oil Industry, very close to Froylán Gracia García, a friend of Emilio Lozoya, who appointed him executive coordinator of the general management of Pemex, and of whom investors complained that he charged them millions of pesos for an appointment with his boss.
Legorreta was not a bird without spots on its plumage. During Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term, the press documented coyotages through his company Joint Industrial Services, and resale of collective contracts that damaged the public treasury. More recently, in 2018 an investigation folder was opened in Villahermosa, Tabasco, for an alleged fraud against Pemex for 60 million pesos. Legorreta was not the only person who connected Mrs. Adams with Lozoya’s office at Pemex. Five years earlier, at an oil congress in Dubai, he met Carlos Álvarez, founder and president of Stella Holdings, whose companies include Cava Energy.
Adams came to Dubai as a fellow, as she explained in her statement. He said that he studied in San Diego, where there are about thirty universities and community colleges, without specifying which one, and that he obtained the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship, exclusively for students who are citizens of that country and have accredited a four-year bachelor’s degree in a national institution. The scholarship is linked to the American University in Dubai, and although an internet search did not turn up her name, it does not mean that she had not arrived in that emirate in the way she revealed it.
People who have known her for several years said that the then Energy Secretary of Felipe Calderón, Jordy Herrera, was the one who helped her go to Dubai, to work in the offices of ProMéxico, when the director in that city-nation was José Neif Kuri. . Asked about it, Herrera replied: “False.” In any case, the relationship that she began in Dubai with Álvarez materialized with a job in 2016 at Cava Energy, for which she moved to Monterrey. According to people who know her, Mrs. Adams began to support Álvarez’s efforts to obtain contracts with Pemex, taking advantage of Peña Nieto’s energy reform. To do so, added his acquaintances, he turned to Arturo Henríquez Autrey, another old friend of Lozoya, whom he appointed as director of Procurement and Supply, with whom he established contact in 2014. Henríquez Autrey resigned in 2015 amid corruption scandals, and Mrs. Adams’ efforts never came to fruition. In 2016 she left Cava Energy and moved back to Mexico City, in the Polanco area, her acquaintances added.
Without a permanent job, she had trouble paying her rent, but another businessman she met at work in the energy sector, Eduardo Arratia, helped her. Arratia is president of the energy company SCAP, which her father founded in 1993, and which has projects in several countries. Arratia, the lady’s friends recalled, lent her an apartment in Bosque de las Lomas, in Mexico City, and later lent her a house in Woodlands, one of the most expensive residential areas in northern Houston. Later, when she already had a relationship with the President’s eldest son, she lent him another house in the Wheatstone area, located in the south of that city. As late as 2019, when she married José Ramón, she had a house in Houston on loan from Arriata. In that year they moved to the ‘grey house’.
This property rented to an executive, at that time, of the Baker Hughes oil company, which has contracts with Pemex, sparked a controversy about whether or not there was a conflict of interest in the rent. Mrs. Adams, who did all the paperwork, says no. Over the weekend, Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity revealed that there is no record in Houston that he had rented that property, but the day responded with a portion of the lease. Neither of the other two houses loaned by an oil businessman has drawn public attention, despite the fact that José Ramón López Beltrán lived or spent some time in one of them.
The activity of Mrs. Adams, even if she cut all the connecting vessels between her activity in the energy sector and possible conflicts of interest, shows, on the other side of her story, that she worked and lobbied on projects that today the President and his father-in-law , or has canceled, or considers that they were the result of gross corruption. From saying to doing, however, there is a long way. The López Obrador government has not been able to prove these statements, nor can it be said that Mrs. Adams incurred alleged crimes. Yes, it can be argued that she represents what the President hates politically, but this is subjective. The only concrete thing that the “gray house” has caused so far is that López Obrador’s speech gets stuck when he arrives at the presidential office.
See more columns in our printed version, which you can display clicking here
We would love to thank the author of this article for this awesome material
The Carolyn Adams Story