Sept. 9, 2004 Iver Stridiron will no longer serve as the V.I. government's top legal counsel. The attorney general has resigned from his post effective 5 p.m. Friday.
In a release issued from Government House Thursday, Gov. Charles Turnbull thanked Stridiron for his years of service and wished him well in his future endeavors.
Turnbull has appointed Deputy Attorney General Alva Swan as acting attorney general for the Justice Department effective Saturday in accordance with the Revised Organic Act of 1954, the release further stated. Stridiron's resignation comes on the heels of Turnbull's call Thursday for withdrawal of a controversial bill the governor submitted to the V.I. Legislature for their consideration.
The bill, which was sent to the Legislature Sept. 3, but released to all senators Wednesday, would have granted the commissioner of the Property and Procurement Department the authority to endorse illegal contracts, once the commissioner felt it was in the "best interest" of the territory.
Most senators, upon seeing the bill, did not hesitate to voice their opposition to the measure. (See "Senators Oppose Bill to Endorse Illegal Contracts.")
Turnbull claimed in another release to the media Thursday that the language in the bill calling for the approval of contracts entered into "fraudulently or in bad faith" was included by the Justice Department at the suggestion of Stridiron. (See "Governor Reverses Position on Procurement Bill.") The governor then stated as chief executive he takes "full responsibility" for the error and "has taken action" to prevent its reoccurrence.
"It is my gut feeling that Iver Stridiron is being made a scapegoat," Sen. Lorraine Berry commented Thursday after hearing of the situation.
"There's something definitely wrong" with the situation involving Stridiron and the withdrawal of the bill, which he said should never have been sent down in the first place," Sen. Ronald Russell said.
Stridiron did not return calls Thursday.
According to background material from the National Association of Attorneys General, Stridiron, sworn into office by Gov. Turnbull as attorney general on July 20, 1999, is a native of St. Thomas and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1964.
He graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1969 with a bachelor of arts degree and from the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1974.
Stridiron remained in Washington, D.C., through 1977, where he litigated cases on behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
He and his family returned to the Virgin Islands in 1977, and he established a private law practice on St. Thomas which he operated through January 1999. During the period 1981 through 1989 he served three terms as a senator in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. He was president of the 17th Legislature.
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