The Journal of History     Fall 2003     TABLE OF CONTENTS

Did You Know?

Safety Hazard in Mexican hotels Ignored by Corporate America

Travel Safety Law and Dangerous Mexico Travel Hazards as part of the Fall, 2002 State Department Appropriations Bill: S.1401 -- Section 211 / H.R. 1796--The result of continued personal lobbying of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Commerce Committee, and House Commerce Committee repeatedly for 18 months via multiple facsimiles, letters, and personal meetings in congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Three separate trips were made to Washington, DC regarding US travel corporations' continued and ongoing false and negligent advertising, while promoting and sending Americans to Mexican hotels with unsafe balconies incongruent with enforced US building safety code standards in spite of over 75 Mexico vacation hotel balcony deaths.

In an effort to acquire a more accurate American body count to ascertain patterns of negligence and fraudulent advertising in various states, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 19-0 on August 1, 2001 -- with the full support of Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Ranking Member Jesse Helms (R-NC) -- to send S.1401, Section 211 / H.R. 1796 of the State Department Authorization Bill [State Department Records Of Overseas Deaths Of United States Nationals From Non-Natural Causes] regarding a) collection of information, b) establishment of a data base, and c) public availability of information], to the senate floor for a summer, 2002 vote.

The law was passed on September 30, 2002, birthday of Mexico balcony victim Timothy S. Flocco, requires the State Department to list all deaths--with cause, location, and country--of American citizens who die in foreign countries from "non-natural causes," every six months on the State Department website.

Instances of the following were discovered during Mexico travel safety research:
a) 1997 sealed Arizona State Supreme Court unsafe Mexico hotel balcony litigation
[Congress has passed laws (particularly involving public safety issues) permitting judges to shield US corporations by "sealing" or covering-up all evidence, court documents, and witness testimony via "protective court orders," which effectively hides public safety hazards like Ford Explorer rollover deaths, Firestone Tire explosion deaths, and low-rail Mexico hotel balcony deaths from public and media scrutiny or awareness which would alert American families. ], and current, ongoing Mexico balcony litigation in Florida, Texas, London, Pennsylvania, and Canada.

b) Over 75 known American (including 12 known Canadian) deaths from low-rail Mexico hotel balconies--mostly during the past 6-7 years.

c) Numerous balcony deaths at the exact same "prior-death" Mexican hotels prominently advertised in Apple Vacations' national tour / sales manuel for travel agents.

d) Apple Vacations is still advertising unsafe Mexico hotels experiencing balcony deaths and litigation in its television, billboard, and newspapers throughout the United States.

While Congress mandated the listing of Mexico hotel balcony deaths, hundreds of unanswered faxes and letters were sent to the House and Senate Commerce Committees and Commerce Investigation subcommittees in an effort to enact real travel safety legislation; however, legislators have still not moved to protect American families from dangerous Mexico vacation hotel facilities which do not conform to enforced US building safety standards. Nor have they supervised advertising which encourages Americans to vacation at these same unsafe Mexico hotels.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain's legal counsel said, during a personal Capitol Hill meeting, that safety legislation to force US travel agencies to warn American families (in newspaper ads and brochures) about unsafe Mexico hotel balconies which US travel companies still promote, and which do not conform to enforced US building safety code standards in order to save lives, "is unattainable." But the question remains as to why Congress protects corporate travel interests instead of the lives and safety of their constituents who honor them with high elective office, pay their salaries, and fund their pensions and other benefit perks.

Timothy S. Flocco, age 21, son of Thomas Flocco, died tragically, falling from an unsafe, low rail-height, eighth story balcony at the Oasis Playa Hotel in Cancun, Mexico on May 18, 2000. In 2003, a Canadian fell and died at the same Oasis Playa Hotel; and in 1995, two other Americans died falling from a low-rail balcony just down the road at the Oasis Cancun Hotel, one of whom survived and finally settled out of court after eight years--while over 75 more unwary citizens from ages 18-57 have perished from the same Mexico balcony hazard. This, while House and Senate Commerce Committee members continue to cover up the dangerous safety issue, even after multiple personal contacts presenting documented evidence. Moreover, negligence and legal and/or campaign finance implications are enormous.

In 2001 and 2002, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and Chairman Jesse Helms ordered the US State Department to conduct an investigation into Apple Vacations and the unsafe Mexico hotel balcony issue; in 2002, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia FBI office both investigated Apple Vacations for criminal advertising fraud; and also in 2002, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed an injunction against Apple Vacations for misrepresentation, deceptive and fraudulent advertising, and failure to warn or disclose material facts--to which Apple Vacations corporate executives affixed their signatures for the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Thus far, the State Department, United States Attorney's Office, FBI, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General have refused to allow public and media scrutiny of evidence, documents, and findings regarding their separate taxpayer-funded investigations; and the House and Senate refuse to enact legislation protecting Americans from criminal Mexico travel advertising fraud--indicating the possibility that there is an ongoing influence of yet-to-be-discovered collective corrupt practices involving Mexico and the U.S. government pertaining to Mexico travel safety.

In memory of Timothy S. Flocco, any collective and/or corrupt-influenced practices involving governmental protection and shielding of dangerous Mexico vacation travel hazards will hopefully reach public awareness and civil examination in coming months, before more Americans-- young and old--die tragically and unnecessarily.


The Journal of History - Fall 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.