05/05/2013 01:19 pm ET

In Lean Years After Boom, Spain's Graft Laid Bare

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LA MUELA, Spain — In the good times, the former mayor of this small, wind-swept village of 5,000 in northern Spain was busy building: the olive oil museum, the wind museum, the museum of life. If that were not enough, there was the new bullring, the sports center with 25,000 seats and the zoo with the exotic-bird park.

The former mayor, María Victoria Pinilla, seemed to be prospering personally, as well. Three stately houses took shape on her family plot. There was an apartment in Madrid, a beach house and a vacation home in the Dominican Republic next to Julio Iglesias’.

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