It’s a heartwarming story, but it’s not true.
There’s a story going around this week—in news outlets from Time to the Daily Mail—that the founder of the Corona beer empire left millions to the residents of his 80-person Spanish hometown, making them all millionaires. Finally, some hopeful news! Unfortunately, it’s not true.
A typical version of the story, published in the Sun and the New York Post, claims Antonino Fernandez, who died a billionaire back in August, “left the 80 residents of his home village $2.5 million each.”
That would be news to people in the village of Cerezales del Condado. A representative of the cultural foundation Fernandez set up there, the Cerezales Antonino y Cinia Foundation, told Mashable the reports are false.
“I can confirm he didn’t leave money to his villagers in his will,” said the foundation’s head of communications, Lucia Alaejos.
“His family recently opened his will and we actually don’t know who got the money from the inheritance. But it’s definitely not the town or his neighbors. Some family members have a house in the village, but they don’t live there. They just come during the holidays.”
So much for that cheerful bit of news. There is a little bit of a silver lining, though.
According to Spanish news site the Local, the Corona founder “never forgot his roots.”
Alaejos, the same spokesperson who commented to Mashable, said that Fernandez had 13 siblings, and he left around 200 million Euros to their descendants. Those family members still visit the village, which “keeps it alive.”
Fernandez also put money back into his home village while he was alive, according to Alaejos.
“He paid for the restoration of the church, he brought running water to every home in the town and thanks to him, we have an amazing cultural center that brings visitors to the region,” she told the Local.
A local newspaper, Diario de León, also spoke to residents who credit the beer magnate with keeping the town running.
“I do not know what we would have done without Antonino. We used to have no money,” said Maximino Sanchez, owner of the village’s only bar.
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