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HomeNewsArchivesSUIT PLEDGED TO CHALLENGE WAPA NEGOTIATIONS

SUIT PLEDGED TO CHALLENGE WAPA NEGOTIATIONS

A St. Croix community activist opposed to Gov. Charles Turnbull's negotiations for the possible sale of the Water And Power Authority said Monday she will file a lawsuit this week seeking to halt the process.
Gail Watson Chiang and her attorney, Lee Rohn, contend that the administration’s negotiations with Southern Energy violate local competitive bidding laws governing the sale of government property.
In a letter dated Jan. 5 to Turnbull and a host of other government officials, Rohn said the V.I. Code mandates that before a public asset is sold or a government contract is let, the Property and Procurement commissioner must seek competitive bids, with the sale or contract to go to the highest qualified bidder.
As of Monday, Chiang said, she hadn’t heard back from the administration, but Rohn had. Efforts to reach Rohn and Government House spokeswoman Rina McBrowne for comment were unsuccessful.
Chiang said the administration's communication with Rohn was inconclusive and that "They seem to be doing business as usual." She said the lawsuit is "definitely going to come to pass" and that she would seek a temporary restraining order halting negotiations.
Last week, Southern Energy official George Gray told St. Croix Rotarians that the company would offer $100 million in cash and refinance $150 million of WAPA’s bond indebtedness to acquire 80 percent of the utility. The new company would be called V.I. Power, he said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Gray said an offer would be submitted to the governor within the next five to 10 days.
The proposed sale has divided the WAPA board of directors. Claude Molloy told WSTX radio Monday that he opposes it and is concerned about the "possibly illegal" manner in which negotiations are being conducted. He also said that Rohn's arguments are neither "totally wrong" nor "totally correct."
Also on WSTX Monday, WAPA board member Dean Plaskett, who holds a seat as Planning and Natural Resources commissioner, said "nothing has been offered to the governor."
"We have an obligation to the people of the Virgin Islands to at least listen to what is being offered," Plaskett said.

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A St. Croix community activist opposed to Gov. Charles Turnbull's negotiations for the possible sale of the Water And Power Authority said Monday she will file a lawsuit this week seeking to halt the process.
Gail Watson Chiang and her attorney, Lee Rohn, contend that the administration’s negotiations with Southern Energy violate local competitive bidding laws governing the sale of government property.
In a letter dated Jan. 5 to Turnbull and a host of other government officials, Rohn said the V.I. Code mandates that before a public asset is sold or a government contract is let, the Property and Procurement commissioner must seek competitive bids, with the sale or contract to go to the highest qualified bidder.
As of Monday, Chiang said, she hadn’t heard back from the administration, but Rohn had. Efforts to reach Rohn and Government House spokeswoman Rina McBrowne for comment were unsuccessful.
Chiang said the administration's communication with Rohn was inconclusive and that "They seem to be doing business as usual." She said the lawsuit is "definitely going to come to pass" and that she would seek a temporary restraining order halting negotiations.
Last week, Southern Energy official George Gray told St. Croix Rotarians that the company would offer $100 million in cash and refinance $150 million of WAPA’s bond indebtedness to acquire 80 percent of the utility. The new company would be called V.I. Power, he said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Gray said an offer would be submitted to the governor within the next five to 10 days.
The proposed sale has divided the WAPA board of directors. Claude Molloy told WSTX radio Monday that he opposes it and is concerned about the "possibly illegal" manner in which negotiations are being conducted. He also said that Rohn's arguments are neither "totally wrong" nor "totally correct."
Also on WSTX Monday, WAPA board member Dean Plaskett, who holds a seat as Planning and Natural Resources commissioner, said "nothing has been offered to the governor."
"We have an obligation to the people of the Virgin Islands to at least listen to what is being offered," Plaskett said.