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HomeNewsLocal newsV.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe Retains Counsel Amid False Reporting...

V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe Retains Counsel Amid False Reporting Allegations

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V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe has retained legal counsel following false reports by another media outlet claiming he was the target of a federal investigation and had been asked to surrender his cell phone.

Amid a series of arrests and the resignation of high-ranking government officials, rumors of further detentions are rampant. However, Dowe clarified on Monday and Tuesday that he is not among those under investigation.

“I refuse to believe you, as a media personality, are that intellectually lazy or inept that you will not check or verify information before publishing such a story you very well know will likely defame Mr. Dowe in his personal and professional life. For your information, Mr. Dowe has received no communication whatsoever from any federal or local government agency or official, nor were his phones or computer devices confiscated or searched by any agency of any government,” attorney Martial A. Webster stated in a letter sent to V.I. Free Press President John McCarthy on Tuesday after the outlet published a piece implicating Dowe earlier that morning.

Claims implicating Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. were also refuted by Government House’s communications team.

When asked to confirm whether more names would be released, Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent and Public Affairs Officer Limary Cruz-Rubio stated Tuesday that the agency does not confirm or deny who is involved in active investigations to preserve the integrity of the process. She did acknowledge, however, that information from community members has been crucial in prompting the FBI to investigate and build its cases.

“We are grateful for the trust that has been put in us,” Cruz-Rubio said. “We assure you that as long as the public keeps doing that, we are going to keep doing what we’re doing to give the Virgin Islands the normalcy and justice it needs. We are active, we are moving — sit back and watch.”

She added that tips can be submitted to 787-987-6500.

Recent arrests announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office include V.I. Education Department Maintenance Director Davidson Charlemagne and his wife, Sasha, indicted on charges of government program fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Additionally, former Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson faces charges of criminal conflict of interest and making materially false statements.

Court documents reveal these charges stem from a two-year investigation into a VIHFA contract for storage and management of wood shipped to the territory for reconstruction following hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

In the wake of these arrests, Government House confirmed the resignation of Office of Management and Budget Director Jenifer O’Neal on Monday, and Bryan also called for the resignation of V.I. Police Commissioner Ray Martinez.

Federal agents seized both Martinez’s and O’Neal’s personal cell phones over the weekend. O’Neal was served a subpoena in Orlando to testify regarding the contract between the Virgin Islands Police Department and Mon Ethos Pro Support.

Public spending records indicate that the U.S. Virgin Islands government has paid $3.31 million to Mon Ethos Pro Support since August 2022, including $1.7 million from the Office of Management and Budget and $1.5 million from the Virgin Islands Police Department. A central concern is whether there was any personal gain for public officials connected to this contract, financed in part with federal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Commissioner of Sports, Parks, and Recreation Calvert White also had his phone seized as federal agents investigate all Mon Ethos contracts, including a $1.8 million deal for surveillance cameras at the territory’s parks and DSPR facilities. Bryan stated on Monday that he has not yet asked for White’s resignation.

The Source is committed to continuing to report fairly and accurately on the ongoing investigations and will uphold its standards as further developments are announced.

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