May 27, 2005 Months after Innovative Communication Corp. LLC promised to repay a loan from its subsidiary Innovative Telephone, also known as Vitelco, the telephone company still has not received the money owed.
In a September hearing of the Public Services Commission, the commission learned that Vitelco had sold $85 million of its preferred stock and loaned about $28 million of the proceeds to ICC for the purchase of a telephone company in Belize. This action was taken without any notice to the PSC or the utility's major lender, the Rural Telephone Financial Cooperative. The action led the RTFC to file a lawsuit against ICC.
ICC has paid about $28 million toward the purchase of the Belize phone company, but it is not clear where the other money from the preferred stock sale has gone.
ICC's legal counsel, Lanny Davis, said at the September hearing that the loan to ICC for its operation in Belize was a short-term loan at 12 percent interest, due in November. (See "Phone Company Could Have New Owner in January".)
November has come and gone, but Innovative Telephone and ICC have yet to notify the PSC about the payment of the debt.
"No, they have not done that as yet," PSC Chairman Valencio Jackson said Tuesday. The telephone company is supposed to notify the PSC when the debt has been repaid, he added.
Calls to Davis, Innovative Telephone President David Sharp and Holland L. Redfield II, ICC vice president, have not been returned.
In February, Redfield told the Source that the loan had not yet been repaid. He said the loan would be repaid, and it was a good investment for Vitelco, adding that "They are not in jeopardy at all." (See "Belize Takes Back Control of Phone Company After ICC Fails to Pay").
Jackson said he did not expect any payment to be made to Vitelco soon because of the current situation in Belize. He did not specify what, if any, action the PSC would take in the matter.
ICC has been battling with the Belize government over the last few months for ownership of the telephone company, which the company supposedly purchased with the money loaned from Vitelco.
Although ICC's owner, Jeffrey Prosser, had not paid the full amount for the Belize phone company, the government allowed him to take over the management of the company based on a promissory note. Because of his failure to make the full payment on time, the two entities have been battling through the judicial system both in the United States and Belize, while a former owner of the Belize phone company, Lord Michael Ashcroft, tries to regain control of his previous shares.
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