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HomeNewsLocal newsGolden Locks Self in Office to Avoid Summons

Golden Locks Self in Office to Avoid Summons

Casino Control offices on St. Croix. (Bill Kossler photo)
Casino Control offices on St. Croix. (Bill Kossler photo)

The Department of Justice served Violet Anne Golden with a summons and complaint from September of 2018, Acting Attorney General Denise George announced in a statement Friday afternoon.

According to the Justice Department, the complaint, served at 11:30 a.m. Friday, seeks the removal of Golden from office as the chairperson and as a member of the Casino Control Commission for misconduct, neglect of duty and unfitness for office.

She was served by V.I. Department of Justice Director of Investigations, Leonardo Carrion

Casino Control Commission Chair Violet Ann Golden testifies before the Legislature in 2015. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, the V.I. Legislature)
Casino Control Commission Chair Violet Ann Golden testifies before the Legislature in 2015. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, the V.I. Legislature)

and Special Agent Dale Jeffers. Casino Commissioner Usie Richards opened the door of Golden’s office, in which she had locked herself for several hours in what the Justice Department described as an apparent attempt to evade service of process. Now that she has been served, the V.I. Department of Justice will proceed to notify the court that she has been served through filing a return of service and summons with the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.

It is unclear what the move changes, as V.I. law stipulates no Casino Control Commission member can serve more than 10 years. Golden was first appointed to the commission in April of 2009, so under the terms of the law, her term ended at the end of last month. By the same token, it is unclear what Golden was doing in the office, as her term had mandatorily expired.

Former Attorney General Claude Walker issued the summons in September after a harshly critical V.I. Inspector General’s report catalogued what it typified as gross mismanagement of commission funds.

Golden responded last September that the charges are political; that she did not misuse funds and inherited a messy system that could use reform.

The report says from 2013 to 2016 the Casino Control Commission kept and used pre-signed blank checks, bought first class plane tickets and other dubious travel expenses and spent millions without proper formal financial controls.

Golden said in September that auditors did not let her respond and vehemently insisted the money is properly accounted for and not misspent.

“I inherited a bad agency and I started my own audit. … It wasn’t pretty. Did I get time to implement the results of my own audit? No,” Golden said at the time.

The territory legalized casino gambling for St. Croix only and created the Casino Control Commission in 1995 in an effort to spur hotel development on the less-visited U.S.  Virgin Island. Since then, one resort, Divi Carina Bay, opened with a casino and the Legislature changed the law to allow an existing hotel to operate a casino. The pre-existing Caravelle Hotel in Christiansted now has a slot machine parlor.

On St. Thomas, slot machines, called “video lottery terminals” are in many bars.

Casino gambling produces relatively little revenue and is an insignificant portion of the government’s revenues.

This chart shows casino gambling revenue versus other revenues in the V.I.’s 2016 budget.
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  1. People only hide from the law when they have done something wrong. Why would she not open the door and deal with the the situation? She looks guilty before she even comes in front of courts. Childish and shameful! On another note. Gambling, casinos, bettings is one of the most lucrative cash businesses on island. There was a time I did sales to restaurants and almost all the ones I spoke to stated that they make more money on their slot machines than they do with food and drinks. Slot machines take cash only and owner/managers are able Keep afloat with this free cash. I say free cash because owners don’t really report all the cash they receive. Slot machines swallow locals money like water and they continue to come back and throw their money away in the hopes of winning big.
    Very few people that handle cash all day can resist stealing it. Look at the banks, look at the store owners , restaurant owners, Government offices, etc. It is a disturbing thought to many but the truth all the same. The casino commission needs to be revamped, transparent and accountable! Enough of this rat hole mentality and the idea that “ I don’t have to answer to anyone.” We, the people of the VI are sick of it and we starting to realize that we have been taken for a ride. Enough. Action speak louder than words and Ms Golden doesn’t look too innocent right now.

  2. The problem with the entitled people who have ruled over these islands for so long, is that they absolutely do not believe they are doing, or have done, anything wrong. They truly believe that the public coffers are their personal piggy banks. So when someone checks their hand, they are outraged and feel victimized. They certainly never feel any shame or remorse. I’m no psychiatrist, but mental illness is very likely a factor. If not mental illness, then they may be truly evil.

  3. It is not a matter of being Republican or Democrat. It seems to be the absence of checks and balances in these delicate positions in the Virgin Islands. People appointed to positions like these need to be inspected periodically on an unannounced basis, to include background investigations prior to their appointments, and not given positions on the “who you know” basis.