Pretoriusstraat 28
squatted since feb2001
Social revolution at street level

Pre-squat history of PS28 (1995-2001)

In the summer of 1995 the house on the Pretoriusstraat 28 was acquired by its current owner Joseph Cyrus McCarthy through the intermediary of a front, Mr Achmed Nouralla Sabah. When Mr McCarthy took over the tabacco shop on the ground floor at the beginning of 1996, it became clear who was really in charge. A week later, the whole building was 'sold' to McCarthy's company Grandma BV, also the one running the shop, for exactly the same amount. It can hardly be called a coincidence that the IRT, a special anti-mafia brigade of the Dutch police, raided the tabaccoshop nine months later. It was regarded as the administrative headquaters of an operation of smuggling people into the Netherlands and then exploiting them as modern day slaves. McCarthy escaped prosecution because the search warrant was in the name of Achmed Nouralla Sabah, of course long gone.

Nevertheless, there was a need (from McCarthy's side) to draw up an effective smokescreen once again, because McCarthy's name was now known to the cops. His girlfriend Albertha Geerts had the necessary background. She is the daughter of one of the figureheads of Dutch organized crime, Charles Geerts, 'porn king' and money launderer for amongst others murdered hash baron Klaas Bruinsma. In 1998 the property was sold to a company called Hogevast BV, with Albertha as director, not without doubling the price though. Needless to say the 'raise in value' could be booked as legitimate profit even if not one cent of money factually changed hands in the transaction or any improvement to the state of the building had been done.

The 2 following years were used to make the legal tenants of the upper floors of the house move out. This was done partially with support of the city council, because McCarthy promised that the house would be thoroughly renovated. When things did not work as consensual as desired, 'preliminary works' such as damaging the roof and installation had a convincing effect. By the end of 1999, the upper floors were officially empty. With this goal achieved, the projected renovation never took place. Instead, McCarthy used the appartments as short-term accomodation for the illegal work force in his building and cleaning company. The ground floor was a tabacco shop at the front and administration office for much more in the back.

In 2000 McCarthy ended his relationship with Albertha Geerts, by then officially owner of the Pretoriusstraat 28. As the ties of love broke, so did the business relationship. McCarthy had to take Hogevast to court in order to get the property back under his name. The details of this domestic strife are unknown to us, but rumours say that the Pretoriusstraat 28 was used as a means of sweet revenge in an affair of the hearts. As far as the building itself is concerned, whatever happened in it during this period was on his behalf. Juridical affairs take their time, and until 2001 the property situation remained disputed.