By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, BELMOPAN, Belize, Feb. 10, 2021: A New Orleans actress’ promotion of a wellness village in the CARICOM Central American nation of Belize is proving contentious, after authorities there say there is no record of a land purchase in the country and the sole investor has fired off cease and desist letters while requesting repayment.
Last year, New Orleans actress Shanda Quintal introduced “SOBA International,” which she promoted as “a network of global self-sufficient, sustainable villages focused on the healing and well-being of African diaspora” on Facebook.
In the post, Quintal also claimed that SOBA International will be “coming soon [to] Belize, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe.” On December 19, 2020, she also claimed that she has begun “clearing land for the first SOBA International site [and] meeting with farmers, herbalists, botanists, eco builders, solar power companies, lumber and hardwood specialists, and contractors.”
She also announced a board post, noting that “phenomenal (Ag)ricultural Atty., Pepper Roussel” was on board.
But as of February 5, 2021, Belize’s Department of Lands and Surveys said they have no record of a purchase of land by Quintal anywhere in the country, leaving authorities concerned.
To make matters worse, sources told NAN Quintal, on January 29, 2021, was served with cease-and-desist letters from Belizean and American attorneys on behalf of the party to which the business, SOBA (Secured Offshore Block Asset International), belongs.
Quintal has now deleted the Facebook post from July 7, 2020 and did not respond to NAN Tuesday for comment on this story.
However, according to an international attorney familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity, the financier of the project and the true owner of SOBA, claims that the investment opportunity was misrepresented. They subsequently requested repayment from Quintal for seed money provided but those requests have been rebuffed.
Beyond seeking cessation on use of the company name, the sole seed investor in SOBA International is also pursuing repayment of funds in that and another business that they backed for Quintal, sources told NAN.
The actress’ metamorphosis from community theatre, 1990’s music videos, and small television parts to land developer is curious. Based upon online searches, Quintal’s greatest fame may be having married “The Facts of Life” and “Living Single” star Kim Fields’ ex-husband. According to divorce filings and other public records, the late Johnathon Freeman was Quintal’s third husband.
Quintal’s LinkedIn profile is sparse, with her last listed employment as CEO of an annual two-day film exposition that folded in 2013. The only other position appearing is as a public relations account executive from March 1998 until April 2000. The govsalaries.com website lists Quintal as being paid $7,500 in 2017 and 2018 as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of New Orleans.
According to the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office, Quintal’s current and previous residences have been owned by her father. The home of Quintal’s late mother was sold on September 8, 2020 at $315,000 which appears to have provided the actress with a windfall which led to another Facebook post that stated that the allegedly unemployed, single mother of two acquired a 42-foot sailboat last October.
With New Orleans’ theatrical scene moribund, Quintal’s next appearances could be at courtrooms in different jurisdictions.