Flavio Santos apresenta Santos Vahlis: o maior incorporador de imóveis do Brasil

Santos Vahlis. 1953 Foto Revista Sombra

Desembarquei fantasiado de pintor,

No aeroporto já encontrei o Ibrahim,

Fez um discurso e apresentou-me ao Santos Vahlis

Que deu de cara um apartamento para mim.

(breque)

“Morengueira vai levar um duplex.”

“É o seguinte, eu não mereço tanto, é muita gentileza de sua parte.”

(Trecho do samba: O Conto do Pintor – autoria: Moreira da Silva)

Hoje ele é lembrado apenas por emprestar o nome a um de seus fracassos empresariais, o edifício da rua Senador Dantas, n. 117, no centro do Rio de Janeiro, mas já foi uma figura com bastante influência nos meios políticos e econômicos do Brasil, principalmente entre as décadas de 40 e 60 do século passado.

 Chamado por seus detratores de “tubarão dos negócios imobiliários”, “grande promotor de si mesmo”, “famigerado judeu”, “escroque internacional” e “quadrilheiro”, foi um personagem inusitado da nossa história. Comandando um império de incorporação e venda de imóveis desde o quarto andar do edifício Gonçalves Dias, na rua da Assembleia, n.104, o venezuelano de Ciudad Bolivar, Santos Vahlis formou uma das maiores fortunas do Brasil. Chegou ao Brasil em 1929. Trabalhou na companhia Light & Power, onde era o concessionário do serviço de contratos de anúncios da empresa canadense, depois foi contratado pela corretora de imóveis Lar Brasileiro. Depois de um desentendimento com os patrões, abriu uma firma própria em 1933.

Desenho do Edifício Zacatecas. Diário de Notícias. 1942

Tinha grande espaço nos jornais da antiga capital, pagando anúncios que ocupavam a página inteira para seus lançamentos imobiliários, como também para matérias pagas e artigos onde dava palpites sobre assuntos variados. Esses textos eram atribuídos ao jornalista Franklin de Oliveira, seu ghost writer.

Foi na década de 40 que seu nome começou a ganhar destaque. Chamado de cubano, mexicano ou equatoriano, sua foto aparecia nas listas de passageiros e informes das partidas e chegadas dos clippers da Pan American Airways na estação de hidroaviões da Ponta do Calabouço.

Sua diversificação e influência aumentam na década de 40, quando se envolve com a importação de petróleo mexicano, como diretor da firma Corrêa e Castro & Companhia. A invasão do nazista da Bélgica e Holanda, países detentores da maior frota de navios petroleiros do mundo, fez interromper o comércio e transporte do ouro negro no Atlântico. 

Presidente Dutra e Santos Vahlis. Foto Diário Carioca 1960

Os primeiros empreendimentos imobiliários grandiosos de Santos Vahlis foram os edifícios Azteca, na avenida Rio Branco, em frente ao Palácio Monroe e o Zacatecas, na rua das Laranjeiras, ambos nos anos 40. 

A década seguinte viu um boom de empreendimentos nos quais tinha algum envolvimento, quer na venda de unidades, quer na incorporação de imóveis: na rua Figueiredo Magalhães, os edifícios Maranguape, Piancó e Camões, este na esquina com avenida Atlântica. Os edifícios Itapemirim, Arosa e Sandy, na rua Lauro Müller. O Cervantes, na rua Duvivier, o Itú, na esquina da rua 13 de Maio com a Almirante Barroso. O Acapulco, na rua Ministro Viveiros de Castro e o edifício Simón Bolívar, na praça José de Alencar. 

Gostava de cultivar a imagem de vendedor nato de apartamentos. “Uma unidade vendida por minuto”, alardeava. Aprendeu rápido que no Brasil os negócios particulares estão quase sempre atrelados aos interesses políticos, mas não estão a salvo das consequências dessa prática…

Santos Vahlis. Foto. Revista do Rádio 1962.

Tinha bom trânsito no antigo Palácio do Catete e no novo, o Alvorada, visto que seus negócios prosperaram sem entraves durante todos os governos da República daquele período. Era também conhecido pelas festas luxuosas, patrocínio e benevolência. Seu aniversário, 12 de maio, era comemorado com grandes jantares e, logicamente, com cobertura da imprensa e congratulações de praxe.

Com a chegada da década de 60 começa sua derrocada, a desconstrução de sua imagem. Foi preso por motivos políticos em agosto de 1961. Na Guanabara, o governador Carlos Lacerda, seu desafeto, dificultava novas construções, cassando as licenças das obras.

Em 1962, o empreendimento chamado “Rua de Cristal”, uma via com lojas e sobrelojas ligando a rua das Laranjeiras e a Conde de Baependi, foi embargado, causando grande prejuízo. 

Mesmo com o grande espaço nos jornais, um programa na TV Tupi, canal 6 do Rio de Janeiro e um horário na Rádio Globo (onde atacava seus rivais e alvos preferidos, o governador da Guanabara e o jornalista e deputado da UDN da Guanabara, Amaral Netto) não poderia competir com a tempestade que estava a se formar.

Durante esse período foi sempre cogitada a possibilidade de conluio entre Brizola, Miguel Arraes e Santos Vahlis, sendo este o financiador de um suposto golpe antidemocrático.

Enfim, chegou a chamada “Revolução” de 1964 e Santos Vahlis tinha apostado no cavalo errado, no perdedor. Durante algum tempo tentou, sem sucesso, intermediar a compra de jornais para dar voz aos amigos João Goulart e Brizola. Suas amizades só pioravam a situação.

Santos Vahlis e esposa embarcam no clipper da Pan American. 1943. Diário de Notícias.

Se refugiou na embaixada do Paraguai em abril de 1964. Embarcou em segredo para aquele país no dia 8 do mesmo mês. No dia 10 teve os seus direitos políticos cassados pelo Ato Institucional n.1. Seu nome era o 17.o da lista de cassados. Em junho, as autoridades de polícia do Rio entregaram ao governo venezuelano um dossiê com informações que supostamente comprometeriam o nome do empresário.

Marques Rebelo, jornalista, contista e romancista, em uma coluna divertida e irônica, escrita para o jornal carioca Última Hora, faz um apanhado do que supostamente seria o “esquema” de Santos Vahlis:

 “Se alguns jornais, que talvez não recebam a sua publicidade propalam que o Sr. Santos Vahlis vende apartamentos que serão construídos em terrenos que jamais comprou, que seus anúncios falam de incorporações mas não dizem que companhias construtoras vão fabricá-los, que tem falências na vida, vida nababesca, cheques sem fundos emitidos contra vários bancos, que serviu de testa de ferro para negócios duvidosos de petróleo, que seu plano imobiliário não é mais que outra filipeta, me parece que o acusado deve chamar judicialmente êsses jornais à responsabilidade e processá-los por calúnia.”

Santos Vahlis morreu de edema pulmonar agudo, em decorrência do mal de Parkinson, no dia 19 de janeiro de 1979, aos 74 anos. O maior incorporador de imóveis do Brasil entre os anos 1933-1962 construiu mais de 200 prédios, deixando viúva a suíça Dona Helena Frick de Vahlis, com quem se casou nos Estados Unidos, em 1940.

 

Mesa com Embaixador Mexicano e esposa e Santos Vahlis e dona Helena Vahlis (Dir.). Revista Walkyrias. 1944. Foto Vieira
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