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Smith splurges, sent $10G a month to US as ‘BVI Airways’ debts mounted

Luke Smith, former owner of BVI Airways, reportedly sent $10,000 to the United States of America (USA) for his family each month and splurged on an extravagant lifestyle while in the Virgin Islands, even as his company was experiencing financial difficulties with mounting debt. Photo: VINO/File
According to Pilot, Shaun D. Munro in his affidavit, “he (Luke Smith) complained that he was not cut out to be a manager and lead the company...he lamented about how hard it was for him and then, to my shock he asked me if I would like to be CEO of the company.” Photo: VINO/File
According to Pilot, Shaun D. Munro in his affidavit, “he (Luke Smith) complained that he was not cut out to be a manager and lead the company...he lamented about how hard it was for him and then, to my shock he asked me if I would like to be CEO of the company.” Photo: VINO/File
Court Documents seen by our newsroom continues to unravel the internal workings of BVI Airways that led to its demise, including now, claims that then owner Luke Smith—burdened by the pressures of running the airline—offered the job of Chief Executive Officer to a pilot he had hired weeks earlier—a pilot who at the time couldn’t even legally fly as a Captain in the VI. Photo: VINO/File
Court Documents seen by our newsroom continues to unravel the internal workings of BVI Airways that led to its demise, including now, claims that then owner Luke Smith—burdened by the pressures of running the airline—offered the job of Chief Executive Officer to a pilot he had hired weeks earlier—a pilot who at the time couldn’t even legally fly as a Captain in the VI. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Luke Smith, former owner of BVI Airways, reportedly sent $10,000 to the United States of America (USA) for his family each month and splurged on an extravagant lifestyle while in the Virgin Islands (VI), even as his company was experiencing financial difficulties with mounting debt.

Court Documents seen by our newsroom continues to unravel the internal workings of BVI Airways that led to its demise, including now, claims that Smith—burdened by the pressures of running the airline—offered the job of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to a pilot he had hired weeks earlier—a pilot who at the time couldn’t even legally fly as a Captain in the VI.

Expensive Family Life

The information is contained in a sworn affidavit filed by Pilot—Shaun D. Munro—in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, USA.

The airline owner, Smith, in his sworn affidavit claimed that by 2013, BVI Airways was $475,000 in debt, the bulk of which was owed to Corporate Flight Management (CFM) Inc.

This, since the airlines had operated as a charter and leased the airplane it was using from CFM.

Smith in his sworn affidavit said the annual returns from BVI Airways at the time did not make it feasible to pay his debts but according to his Pilot, Munro, during 2013, “during a discussion on how expensive family life is, Mr Smith told me that he sent $10,000 a month back to the United States, to pay for the expenses he had at home.”

According to Munro, “this stuck in my mind due to the way he extravagantly spent money on food and entertainment, as well as on his house on Tortola.”

Smith subsequently accused BVI Airway’s, then Chief Operating Officer, Scott DeLacy, of embezzling monies out of the company.

Munro in his sworn affidavit however, said the accusations against DeLacy, only came after Mr Smith was confronted with the fact that BVI Airways’ liabilities had been far greater than what he had represented them to be.

CEO Offer

Speaking to the offer to run the company, Munro said, in July 2013, just weeks after he had arrived in the Territory to work with BVI Airways on June 30, 2013, Mr Smith in lamenting his inability to manage of lead the company, offered him the position.

According to Munro in his affidavit, “he (Smith) complained that he was not cut out to be a manager and lead the company...he lamented about how hard it was for him and then, to my shock he asked me if I would like to be CEO of the company.”

Munro claims this was a position he was neither experienced, or interested in and, “I was shocked by his admission of capability and this further served to make me seriously doubt his competence.”

The former BVI Airways Pilot—testifying in support of Colchester Aviation, the company that ultimately took over the airline—said too, that BVI Airways was essentially ran out of Smith’s home on an iPad.

Munro said, he lived with the Smiths in their home on Tortola, from the time he arrived on June 30, 2013, to September 1, 2018.

He said, during that time, it became clear, “Mr Smith was neither organised nor a good manager…he was reactive to the environment and seemed to rely on his undoubtedly good persuasive verbal skills.”

According to Munro, Mr Smith was at the time the only person in BVI Airways, legally allowed to fly as Captain and, “on every day he was not flying, he spent most of his resting or socializing, and doing little of what was required to manage a company.”

Financial Calculations

He said the BVI Airways owner, “used only an iPad for his work, including typing letters and did not seem to know how to use a computer…Where a spreadsheet or some other tool would be most appropriate for financial calculations, Mr Smith would do extended financial calculations, using his email as a notepad, more often than not making obvious mistakes.”

He said, the BVI Airways owner used his house as his office—an office with no direct phone lines and with stacks of paper documentation piled everywhere.

According to Pilot, Munro, it was at this time that the BVI Airways owner shared his concern about a lack of direction for the company and they decided to brainstorm the situation.

Munro in his affidavit said, “…it became apparent to me, the only way forward was selling the company or bringing in more capable management than Mr Smith.”

The BVI Airways owner subsequently sold 80 per cent of the company to Etico Capital, an Investment Company ran by Jerry D. Willoughby and Scott A. Weisman.

Colchester Aviation, another company formed by the same two men—Willoughby and Weisman—managed to soon wrest 100 per cent control of BVI Airways from owner, Luke Smith, who founded the airline in 2009.

17 Responses to “Smith splurges, sent $10G a month to US as ‘BVI Airways’ debts mounted”

  • Well (07/08/2018, 10:23) Like (25) Dislike (9) Reply
    The premier need to be lock up. This is getting more serious I will like to know who all get kick back people of the BVI you all give them another four years to get rich they are laughing at us straight to the off shore banks. We have to get rid of all of them from /////// our tax money.
  • who cares (07/08/2018, 10:29) Like (15) Dislike (29) Reply

    Who cares. This is before the government loaned the money and had nothing to do with the events surrounding the spending of it. 

    • Context (07/08/2018, 12:45) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
      Well I think the point of all of this is if they did their research they wouldn't have been ROBBED by these con artists. Shows the gross incompetence of the current admin. Sure the story will get to what happened after and during the loans were made.
  • LOL (07/08/2018, 10:37) Like (20) Dislike (11) Reply
    Idc wa anybody say if u wan b a gangster or thief join politics or government. The gangstas and thieves on the streets are clowns. Politicians get away with it lol
  • Me (07/08/2018, 10:46) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    It eeek me out that when u guys mention that SMITH this, that about BVI Airways u never upfront state it's a Smith other Orlando.We knew that he @#/_=_¥¥up but still stop being in damage rant.White boy Smith took black boy Smith to cleaners at our expense so whats mew
  • Stop the spin (07/08/2018, 10:47) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
    As was stated in previous comments this was before government involvement so who cares. We want to know what happened once Government and it’s cronies were involved. We’re not hearing about the two who convinced the Premier to support this joke of a venture. Those two need locking up!! And one still comfortable getting his way paid by Tourism Board
    • me again (07/08/2018, 11:46) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ stop the spin
      BAMMM. TIing to talk
    • @ stop the spin (07/08/2018, 12:08) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
      so if it was before the government should have done their research, and not take our money and wasted.

      Someone need to go to jail. Governor Gus please wake up before the NDP broke we any more
  • Political Observer (PO) (07/08/2018, 11:46) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    What a sordid, twisted scam/tory. This is tory needs to be on Ripley’s Believe It or Not. What ah national shame, disgrace and embarrassment. How could educated people just give away $7.2M of taxpayers money without doing any due diligence. Extremely poor and brazen reckless resource stewardship and severe lack of fiduciary responsibility.

    The Premier, decider-in-chief, as well as others, must provide a full accounting of what happened, when, why, who, if anyone, benefitted, how and where. They must make taxpayers whole. If anyone has deliberately and broken laws, trust.........etc, he or she should not be permitted to run the clock out. Moreover,it took a long but finally the Governor has awoken and an audit is under way. The BVI is in the midst of its customary summer celebration, but the only good thing worthy of celebrating is the 184 year of the Emancipation of our fore parents from the worst crime on humanity——-Slavery. A perfect storm has ravaged the BVI: natural disasters, ie hurricane Irma and Maria, historic 100-year flood ( 1st anniversary August 07, 2017); manmade disaster——-financial mismanagement; legislative storm——Amendment of Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that required C’bean OTs to establish registers of beneficial ownership. It is a somber period for BVI residents.
    • @Political observer (07/08/2018, 14:38) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      The same kind of educated people who signed that water contract with
    • @PO (07/08/2018, 14:41) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      The same kind of educated people who signed that water contract with BiWater which is now a noose around our necks. We have to pay for water even if we don't use it. They all a bunch of educated jokers.
      • Legal tender (07/08/2018, 16:56) Like (10) Dislike (11) Reply
        @@PO, you seems to be behind time, you still here talking about BiWater. This same government sold BiWater to their cronies. It was too good for the people of the BVI so they pull a smoke screen over our heads and make us to believe that BiWater was such a bad deal. If something is by will you encourage your friend to buy it or even sell it to your friend? If BiWater was so bad then why do you think the government sold it to their cronies. From the time of the sale, have you heard them gone to the HOA to make any noise about BiWater. Some of us really need to awake from our slumber and take good notice of what is going on
        • RealPol (07/08/2018, 20:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
          @ Legal Tender, real talk. Real live hypocrites. The NDP wailed and cried fire and brimstone for two elections, lambasting Bi-Water. There was a whole lot of noise; the decibels wqs off the chart, hurting one’s inner ear. Elected, the NDP sabotage Bi-water to make sure it was a failure; nasty and vindictive politics. Tribal politics at its worst. Nonetheless, as soon as Bi-Water was sold to Seven Seas, a company that a local billionaire has an interest in, the silence was deafening; tings are now as quiet as a church mouse. They got elected on the backs of the lil man that Bi-water was bad. Now, all is well with Bi-water. Hypocrites and chameleons.
  • Hose path (07/08/2018, 12:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    So you said who cares well i care p
  • just asking... (07/08/2018, 13:53) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    were the money gone?
  • enough (08/08/2018, 00:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    They gone from shop lifting to full robbers of the public purse - send them all to jail
  • THINK! (08/08/2018, 12:41) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Okay okay, Biwater and BVI Airways are issues we need not let happen again so let us all keep our eyes on not letting the Chinese slip in through the “I can bring workers and fix your machinery we sold you” door, or the “I want to buy citizenship for that little bit of money you are asking” door or the “I can help you with financial services, let me bring my people” door or any other door. We need to be vigilant.


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