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Prosser Questioning Follows Money to Mansions, Kids, Companies

Aug. 26, 2008 — A platoon of attorneys tried, with some success, to lure former Vitelco owner Jeffrey Prosser into admitting contradictions and improbable denials Monday on St. Thomas during the first of four days of hearings on Prosser's bankruptcy cases. On top of the 12-page agenda for the week is "Prosser Exemption Matters," a hearing on who owns the residential properties in question.
No determinations or rulings were made Monday as to who owned what. Points were hit home both by Prosser's several criminal and civil attorneys and by attorneys for Prosser's creditors and the estate's court appointed trustees.
One of the attorneys working for the trustee overseeing bankrupt Innovative Communications Corp. assets, Duston McFaul, peppered Prosser with questions suggesting Prosser was being less than honest in describing his assets and his actions.
In one instance, a company called A.M.J. Inc. had hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing through it at various times. The company doesn't appear on Prosser's financial statements, which by law must include all companies in which Prosser is an officer or major shareholder.
"What does A.M.J. stand for?" McFaul asked.
"I don't know what it stands for," Prosser said.
"Isn't it named for your three children, Inc? Are you familiar with A.M.J. Inc.?
"I don't know what it stands for," Prosser said.
"Isn't it named for three of your children: Adrian, Michelle and Justin?" McFaul asked.
"I don't know," Prosser replied.
McFaul then showed Prosser corporate documents of A.M.J. Inc. authorizing large transfers of funds, asking if Prosser could identify his signature on the bottom. In these cases Prosser affirmed the signature was his, though other documents presented Monday appeared to have been signed with Prosser's name, but with clearly different handwriting.
McFaul read the section of law requiring Prosser to report "all businesses in which the debtor was an officer," making Prosser concede that he did not list A.M.J. although more than one document indicates Prosser acted as an officer of the company.
In a smaller bit of "gotcha," McFaul pulled out Prosser's list of personal jewelry, including several very expensive watches, asking Prosser to describe all of their wrist bands. None were gold.
"These are all the watches listed as having your ownership, correct?" he asked. "You have never owned a Rolex?"
"Not that I recall," Prosser said.
"In fact you're on the record saying you personally don't even like Rolex?"
"Correct," Prosser said.
McFaul then shows what appears to be a publicity or magazine still photo of Prosser seated in a luxurious plane seat, asking Prosser if he recognizes himself. Prosser recognizes the plane as the Boeing 727 he had Innovative purchase for his use. In the photo, Prosser is wearing a watch with a bulky gold-colored band which appears identical to examples of gold Rolex bands McFaul showed.
While the photo was suggestive, no proof was presented either that the watch on Prosser's wrist in the photo was in fact a Rolex or that it in fact belonged to Prosser.
Similar jousting went on about several bank accounts and the history of mortgages on Prosser's multimillion dollar homes on St. Croix, in Palm Beach, Fla., and Lake Placid, New York, but without any resolution on Monday.
At the beginning of the hearing, Norman Abood, a new Prosser attorney, alleged that Vinson and Elkins, the venerable Texas law firm representing the court-appointed Chapter 11 trustee for ICC, had improperly accessed personal emails and other privileged attorney-client information from a Prosser hard drive in his possession. James Lee, lead attorney for Vinson and Elkins, disputed the allegations, saying he knew of no such information on the drive, and that if such information were on the drive, it was in a "meta" file format which only technical experts could read.
Abood filed an emergency motion to dismiss the entire case, to disqualify lead attorney James Lee and to have sanctions imposed by the court. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald declined, instructing all sides to file their motions and responses on the issue, and scheduling a hearing at a later date.
Motions and objections begin anew Tuesday. If the question of which properties are exempt from the bankruptcy proceedings are settled this week, the court will begin what is called turnover adversary hearings, which deal with whether or not certain valuables, now in the possession of Prosser family members, should be turned over to the trustees for sale.
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