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HomeNewsArchivesNIBBS SUBPOENAED TO TESTIFY ON HOUSING ISSUES

NIBBS SUBPOENAED TO TESTIFY ON HOUSING ISSUES

May 11, 2001 – Sen. Celestino White acceded to demands by Sen. Lorraine Berry this week to call former V.I. Housing Authority executive director Alphonse Nibbs to testify as to what he may or may not know about alleged wrongdoing within government housing agencies.
Nibbs, who resigned last month as White's chief researcher, has been subpoenaed by the Senate Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee, which White chairs, to appear at 6 p.m. May 21 in the legislative chambers on St. Thomas.
However, in the letter dated May 7 so advising Nibbs, White made it clear that he does not share Berry's concerns, peppering the letter with sarcasm and naming names never named by Berry, according to a letter dated May 9 that she subsequently fired off to him.
Further, Nibbs has said repeatedly on radio programs in recent days that he will be in New Orleans involved in a court matter on May 21.
White's letter to Nibbs opens by stating that Berry has claimed "that you are unmistakably certain and possess irrefutable knowledge of extensive corruption involving" Housing Authority executive director Conrad Francois II, Housing; Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ira M. Hobson; Housing Finance Authority executive director Claude Richards; and "middle and lower management staff" of the three agencies.
Berry's letter lambasted White for "a grievous injustice and bias" against Francois, Hobson and Richards in his charge that "a member of this committee is aware that these officials are corrupt." She said the committee's obligation is "clarification of, or putting to rest, allegations of wrongdoing or mismanagement within these housing entities." Instead, she told White, "you place upon these entities the stamp of guilt by stating a committee member is already aware of wrongdoing."
She called on White "to issue a public apology" to the named housing officials and their staffs, "unless and until this committee does, indeed, ascertain the existence of wrongdoing."
White in his letter to Nibbs directs him to bring with him to the May 21 committee meeting "all of the alleged research information which Sen. Berry claims you possess" pertaining to the three housing officials or their staffs "or any other information that you may have, whether verbal, written or imagined."
The hearing, White said, will afford Nibbs a forum in which to "expose the corrupt ones in the various housing agencies … or any other public official, to include members of the Virgin Islands Legislature." Of the housing officials and their staffs, he said, "Certainly they would like to know what Sen. Berry is fishing for and why she is using you, Mr. Nibbs, as bait."
Last week, Berry asked White to call a special session of the committee to take testimony from Nibbs. White instead has scheduled his appearance for the regular May 21 meeting, saying the committee has re-arranged the agenda and Nibbs' testimony now "is listed as the first item."
The issue of Nibbs' knowledge or lack thereof emerged after The Avis reported that he had verbally accused the housing agencies of wrongdoing. Following the federal indictment April 30 of a former housing contractor, Lucinda Oliver, the newspaper reported, Nibbs said that more federal indictments of housing officials were likely this month.
Berry first wrote White on May 1, requesting access to all materials Nibbs had allegedly submitted to him regarding the matter. Failure to provide the material, she said, would lead the public to conclude that "the material was being swept under the rug."
In order for the committee to issue the subpoena, at least four of its members needed to request the action in writing. The petition so doing and dated May 7 was signed by Sens. Berry, Carlton Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Norma Pickard-Samuel and White. Members not signing were Sens. Emmett Hansen II and David Jones.

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May 11, 2001 - Sen. Celestino White acceded to demands by Sen. Lorraine Berry this week to call former V.I. Housing Authority executive director Alphonse Nibbs to testify as to what he may or may not know about alleged wrongdoing within government housing agencies.
Nibbs, who resigned last month as White's chief researcher, has been subpoenaed by the Senate Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee, which White chairs, to appear at 6 p.m. May 21 in the legislative chambers on St. Thomas.
However, in the letter dated May 7 so advising Nibbs, White made it clear that he does not share Berry's concerns, peppering the letter with sarcasm and naming names never named by Berry, according to a letter dated May 9 that she subsequently fired off to him.
Further, Nibbs has said repeatedly on radio programs in recent days that he will be in New Orleans involved in a court matter on May 21.
White's letter to Nibbs opens by stating that Berry has claimed "that you are unmistakably certain and possess irrefutable knowledge of extensive corruption involving" Housing Authority executive director Conrad Francois II, Housing; Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ira M. Hobson; Housing Finance Authority executive director Claude Richards; and "middle and lower management staff" of the three agencies.
Berry's letter lambasted White for "a grievous injustice and bias" against Francois, Hobson and Richards in his charge that "a member of this committee is aware that these officials are corrupt." She said the committee's obligation is "clarification of, or putting to rest, allegations of wrongdoing or mismanagement within these housing entities." Instead, she told White, "you place upon these entities the stamp of guilt by stating a committee member is already aware of wrongdoing."
She called on White "to issue a public apology" to the named housing officials and their staffs, "unless and until this committee does, indeed, ascertain the existence of wrongdoing."
White in his letter to Nibbs directs him to bring with him to the May 21 committee meeting "all of the alleged research information which Sen. Berry claims you possess" pertaining to the three housing officials or their staffs "or any other information that you may have, whether verbal, written or imagined."
The hearing, White said, will afford Nibbs a forum in which to "expose the corrupt ones in the various housing agencies ... or any other public official, to include members of the Virgin Islands Legislature." Of the housing officials and their staffs, he said, "Certainly they would like to know what Sen. Berry is fishing for and why she is using you, Mr. Nibbs, as bait."
Last week, Berry asked White to call a special session of the committee to take testimony from Nibbs. White instead has scheduled his appearance for the regular May 21 meeting, saying the committee has re-arranged the agenda and Nibbs' testimony now "is listed as the first item."
The issue of Nibbs' knowledge or lack thereof emerged after The Avis reported that he had verbally accused the housing agencies of wrongdoing. Following the federal indictment April 30 of a former housing contractor, Lucinda Oliver, the newspaper reported, Nibbs said that more federal indictments of housing officials were likely this month.
Berry first wrote White on May 1, requesting access to all materials Nibbs had allegedly submitted to him regarding the matter. Failure to provide the material, she said, would lead the public to conclude that "the material was being swept under the rug."
In order for the committee to issue the subpoena, at least four of its members needed to request the action in writing. The petition so doing and dated May 7 was signed by Sens. Berry, Carlton Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Norma Pickard-Samuel and White. Members not signing were Sens. Emmett Hansen II and David Jones.