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Jason McLean's Cabo San Lucas villa is popular on Airbnb, for sale, and troubling

Jason McLean's Airbnb guests consistently leave positive reviews, thought they might feel differently if they knew his past.

Jason McLean's Airbnb guests consistently leave positive reviews, thought they might feel differently if they knew his past. flexmls.com

The Airbnb reviews for "Villa Viva" are overwhelmingly positive.

The eight-bedroom Cabo San Lucas mansion boasts gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and promises "limitless" scenery from the "elite side of Pedregal," its luxurious gated community. There's a home theater, three pools, a waterfall, a "complimentary greeting reception," maid service, and in-house catering for a fee. Book four nights at $1,550 per, and your fifth night is free.

Here's a review from Erik, who says he stayed there last month:

I can't say enough about how amazing everything was with [Villa Viva]. The house was beautiful, the staff couldn't have been more gracious. Everyone went out of their way to be as helpful and as accommodating as possible. I was hosting a bachelor party with 25 guests and my expectations were extremely high to make sure that this weekend went off without a hitch. Everything was perfect and my expectations were far exceeded.

Another from Shay, who was at Villa Viva (the title is sometimes supplemented with an exclamation point) in September, says, "Jason's place is quite amazing."

That's a reference to the house's owner, credited in the listing with a history of "successful restaurants, large and small in the US for more than 30 years." The profile doesn't list which restaurants, and where, or give Jason's last name. That information would be bad for business.

The house belongs to Jason McLean, former owner of the Loring Pasta Bar and Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, though lately better known for running from a sex abuse lawsuit against him over his time as an actor at the Children's Theater Company. 

As told in our October cover story, McLean was one of the more calculating perpetrators at CTC, grooming underage girls like a then-15-year-old who recalls how McLean grew "sexually violent and paranoid" as the theater faced a criminal investigation in the mid-1980s.

McLean told his victim "catty girls were forever fabricating sex stories about the staff they adored." At his request, she denied any sexual relationship with McLean—and convinced six other girls to do the same.

McLean later moved on to owning the Loring, a respected Dinkytown restaurant, and Varsity, the theater around the corner. His role in CTC's permissive, predatory culture didn't catch up to him until 2017, when a plaintiff won a $2.5 million summary judgment against McLean, who had not mounted a defense.

This year, another judgment came down, this one $3.68 million owed to a second victim of McLean's. But McLean is long gone from Minnesota, instead hiding out in Mexico, where he bought the place he's now calling Villa Viva in early 2018, and in Oakland, where he's reportedly resurfaced at a restaurant called Small Wonder.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, whose Anderson and Associates law firm filed complaints against McLean, other former CTC employees, and the company itself, is well aware of the defendant's continued business pursuits.

"We've been tracking this dude like a hound dog, like America's Most Wanted," Anderson says.

McLean, who'd also considered buying a small hotel in Mexico, bought the place in Cabo San Lucas for $1.89 million, and after some renovations, is looking to flip it for a handsome profit, having twice listed it for an asking price of $2.99 million.

McLean did not respond to requests for comment through his Airbnb profile or an email address he's used in the past. According to reviews left by former guests, McLean is present at the villa for at least some of the time; he also frequently replies to positive comments telling guests how much he enjoyed meeting them.

Earlier this week, one photo in the extensive slideshow advertising the estate to renters showed McLean, tanned and smiling. As of Thursday, after City Pages' attempts to reach McLean, that photo has been removed.

Attorney Molly Burke says they're "exploring all options" for how to tap McLean's fortune for their clients, though she concedes trying to recoup money from a sale of his Airbnb house could be complicated by Mexican law. 

"Where the path of that money goes is yet to be known," says Burke, who adds, of both the house and McLean's restaurant in Oakland: "He shouldn't get to profit while he has millions of dollars in judgments against him from women he harmed and raped as children."

In the meantime, they're at least working to discredit his stint in the seaside resort business: A posting on Airbnbhell.com calls McLean a "child rapist" and says he bought the villa with money owed to his victims.

The post continues: "A simple Google search will show you numerous articles detailing his crimes, legal proceedings, and his ultimate flight to Cabo San Lucas Mexico to avoid the consequences of his sexual assaults of children… and he wants you to be a guest in his home."