SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Border Report) — It’s a pristine 17-acre plot of land no more than 10 miles south of the border that is now covered with daisies and other wild brush.
On its western edge, you can hear and see the Pacific Ocean’s waves crash against the rocks.
But right in the middle of it is a large pit that was supposed to hold the foundation for Sandra Sapol’s dream condo tower that never got built.
“I drive by the property at least once a month,” Sapol said. “It absolutely hurts, every single time I drive by that hole in the dirt, that hole I paid for, it really hurts. I just can’t tell you how much.”
Seventeen year later, Sapol has yet to recover any of her $130,000 investment in the Trump Ocean Resort.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever lost $130,000 in cash,” she continued. “I’m not talking about a credit card, I’m talking about green cash lost. It’s gone.”
Sapol says initially she was taken in by the allure of the Trump name and his properties.
“My husband at the time thought investing money in Trump or a Trump property would be a good investment for our money. We were enticed to put down our money and buy one of the condos and we were very excited at the time.”
According to Sapol, she and her husband decided to invest after attending two cocktail parties for potential investors held at the Manchester Hyatt in Downtown San Diego.
“One of which I met Ivanka Trump, she was supposed to be my neighbor,” Sapol said. “I was supposed to share some sugar with her — we had a conversation about that.”
A few weeks later, pending doom started to set it as they saw no progress on the site.
“All of a sudden, the offices were closed, all of a sudden fences went up and all of a sudden we weren’t getting phone calls back from the Trump Baja property and we started to freak out,” Sapol said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sapol is one of 250 investors, mostly from Southern California, who collectively lost $32.5 million.
Lawyers were willing to represent Sapol in a class-action lawsuit against Trump and other developers, but they wanted $5,000 up front.
“And my husband is like, ‘We’re not spending another dime on this property, we’re going to cut our losses,'” Sapol said.
Others buyers did sue and later settled with Trump and a California-based developer. Neither admitted any wrongdoing.
Plaintiffs claimed the Trump family was part of a fraudulent marketing scheme.
Years later, an attempt to turn the land into a senior retirement community with medical facilities also failed.
The land now looks much like it did when Sapol thought she was buying her dream ocean-front condo, and future plans for the land remain a mystery.
Sapol still hopes for some kind of restitution.
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone from Trump Organization said ‘Sandra, here’s your money back, I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through,'” she said.
Border Report reached out to the Trump Organization and the other developers involved in the Trump Ocean Resort project, but our messages were never returned.
Years ago, Ivanka Trump told CBS News they were never developers on the project and never took anyone’s deposit.