Who We Are

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Who We Are

Dr. Gary Rettig (casually, yet respectfully referred to as Doc, Patron or Jefe’) and his wife Shawnie Rettig purchased La Fonda in 2004.


The idea of purchasing a ¼ mile of prime oceanfront property in Baja California Norte, Mexico with a landmark Hotel, Restaurant & Bar expeditiously became a dream of Doc’s when he spotted an ad on the back of the LA Times that La Fonda was for sale. He was instantly in pursuit of his newly acquired dream to own his old haunt. He had recently sold his Newport Beach Chiropractic practice and was ready to write his next chapter.

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His equally reluctant wife, Shawnie… whom also had a long on-going history with La Fonda, was intrigued by the prospect, however dually skeptical of owning such a major under taking in a foreign country. However, give it to Doc and his persuasive ways… it only took FOUR YEARS to convince his bride that this was an adventure that could not be passed up!! Reluctantly Shawnie acquiesced and the purchase of La Fonda from the owners Sara and Joe Dmytriw took place.


One of Doc’s frequent quotes is “WOW what a ride!!!” and “WOW” what a RIDE it’s BEEN! The first few years they were launched into a series of learning curves.


La Fonda is known and admired for it’s funk and charm, however The Rettig’s number one goal was to clean the property from one end to the other and back again. At one point they had over 120 employees, and as the number one employer in the small town of La Mision, it created an instant feeling of familia. Shortly thereafter, 10 more hotel rooms were added and the main house was rebuilt as the owners personal residence. The Spa was completed - furnished and opened. A new laundry room was built and two large ocean front decks were constructed off the large restaurant patio. All hotel rooms were redecorated (which included new furniture, mattresses and linens). Many architectural details and structures were added as well including two giant palapas. Business was booming to the extent that a satellite hotel called “Kinda La Fonda” was purchased to provide additional lodging for their patrons. Life was good
at La Fonda!!!

AND THEN… 2007/2008 hit and La Fonda fell victim to a triple threat… A fallen economy that decimated the United States (when people are losing their jobs and homes, drinking margaritas and relaxing in Mexico becomes a pure luxury of days-gone-bye). Passports became required and you could no longer use your driver’s license to get back to the States. The REAL Topper was “THE FEAR OF MEXICO”!!! Even the Mexico diehards became reluctant to venture South-of-the Border!


Renegotiations became necessary with the previous owners, Joe & Sara Dmytriw, to help La Fonda get through her troubled times. Discussions between Joe and Doc were amicable and seemingly productive, as Doc offered to pay the note in full but asked for a reduction in monthly payments. However, all discussions and negotiations came to a screeching halt when Sara was unwilling to go forward unless the Rettig’s agreed to turn over 100% of La Fonda should they be tardy or miss a single payment. Not knowing what the future held, the Rettig’s were unwilling to proceed forward, as they felt Sara’s terms were punitive and unreasonable.


The Rettig’s then requested that their attorney, at the time, review the original sales agreement to better understand its terms. What presented itself was a festering can of worms… it was brought to the Rettig’s attention that Sara and Joe had included the Federal Zone as fee simple land. The sales agreement stated that the Rettig’s were purchasing 3,179 sq. meters from the Dmytriw’s, when in fact they were only purchasing 912 sq. meters. Sara & Joe also failed to meet other obligations of the sales agreement. One of the additional requirements was that Sara and Joe were to resolve all outstanding employee debt including employees represented by the Black Shirt Union, which they had failed to do. It was at this turn of events that the Rettig’s attorney recommended that they hire a criminal attorney to represent them against the Dmytriw’s’.

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So here they are… five plus years later with Dmytriw’s using La Fonda’s name, logo and squatting on their hotel, banquet room, spa and personal residence, all compliments of a Tijuana Judge! The majority of the property in question sits on the very Federal Zone in which the Rettig’s have a ten year lease. In addition the Rettig’s are staring down the barrel of a $1,700,000 lien brought by the Black Shirt Union on behalf the employees that Sara and Joe failed to pay. In layman’s terms… It’s Complicated!!!


As of today’s date… December 30th, 2015 and after 45 years of residency, the Rettig family have moved from their hometown of Newport Beach and now live full time at La Fonda. They are unified in their commitment to fight the good fight in a MAJOR attempt to preserve all the greatness that La Fonda has to offer. The fight is of a moral issue and doing what is right for “La Fonda”, her history, her legacy & her hardworking dedicated employees.