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HomeNewsArchivesHill Asks Government Officials to Take Action on PSC

Hill Asks Government Officials to Take Action on PSC

Oct. 9, 2006 — Calling their action a "gross dereliction … of their fiduciary responsibility," Sen. Louis P. Hill has asked the governor to remove all Public Services Commission members who supported using phone company assets to secure funding for a bankruptcy settlement.
In his appeal to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Hill was responding to news that the PSC had supported in writing a plan to secure a $470 million loan to pay off creditors in a bankruptcy settlement between Jeffrey Prosser, Inovative Communications Co. LLC, and Emerging Communications, as well as three of Prosser's creditors, by using the Virgin Islands Telephone Co. (Vitelco) assets to secure the loan. ( See "Prosser Seeking to Involve Vitelco in Bankruptcy Settlement.")
Vitelco, alternatively known as Innovative Telephone, is a distant relative of the companies in bankruptcy, but the court documents make it clear it is the cash cow of the entire operation: "The largest and most significant source of revenue for the Innovative Communications Group is the telecommunications operation of non-debtor Virgin Islands Telephone Corp., dba Innovative Telephone (Vitelco)." Hill has also asked Senate President Lorraine Berry to convene a Committee of the Whole to query PSC members on their action. And Hill asked Berry to subpoena a copy of the PSC letter that is referenced in the documents filed in District Court on St. Thomas last week requesting approval of Prosser's settlement plans.
In support of the plan, the documents say, "The Public Utilities Commission of the U.S. Virgin Islands has confirmed in writing its non-objection to and support for the financing and the debtors assumption of the settlement agreement."
In his letter to Berry, Hill wrote, "This ill-advised action exacerbates the position which the citizens of our territory find themselves in due to the well-documented history of ICC's dysfunctional management."
He continued, "Greater scrutiny by the Legislature is now warranted to protect Virgin Islanders and prevent any further use of Vitleco assets to secure ICC investments."
Since the Prosser bankruptcy came to light, officials of Innovative Communications Corp. — parent to the local phone company Vitelco, known also as Innovative Telephone — have assured the public that Vitelco was in no way involved in the bankruptcy of the upstream company (Innovative Communications Co. LLC).
Hill is the second senator to express his concern about the PSC action. Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg Jr., long a critic of phone company practices, wrote a letter last week to PSC Chairwoman Alecia Wells expressing his outrage at the commission's action. (See "Senator Lashes Out at PSC for Secret Agreement").
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