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UPDATE: Court docs say Hyman pocketed $$$ in BVI Airways deal

- Former Gov't Lawyer now under scrutiny for alleged role in missing $7.2M
Documents presented to a USA court of law by the Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) alleges that former Government Lawyer, Lester Hyman personally profited from the failed BVI Airways, a dereliction of his professional obligations as the Governments' Attorney. Photo: Facebook/Internet Source
These promoters proposed to start an airline that would operate, for the first time, nonstop commercial flights between Miami and the BVI and in conjunction with the proposed investment by the promoters, the Virgin Islands Government was to invest $7,000,000 in the airline. Photo: Facebook
These promoters proposed to start an airline that would operate, for the first time, nonstop commercial flights between Miami and the BVI and in conjunction with the proposed investment by the promoters, the Virgin Islands Government was to invest $7,000,000 in the airline. Photo: Facebook
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, has confirmed to reporters that Government has moved to the courts in the USA to recover the $7.2M invested in the failed BVI Airways by the previous National democratic Party (NDP) administration. Photo: BVI Airways/Facebook/VINO.
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, has confirmed to reporters that Government has moved to the courts in the USA to recover the $7.2M invested in the failed BVI Airways by the previous National democratic Party (NDP) administration. Photo: BVI Airways/Facebook/VINO.
The September 30, 2019 edition of
The September 30, 2019 edition of "Off Shore Alert", an online publication, carried a story on the matter and a screen shot of a section of the article attraction much attention on social media after being posted by several persons in the territory. Photo: offshorealert.com
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Documents presented to a USA court of law by the Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) alleges that former Government Lawyer, Lester Hyman personally profited from the failed BVI Airways, a dereliction of his professional obligations as the Governments' Attorney.

While Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) recently declined to speak on the matter in detail, on legal advice, the case filed by the VI Government through the Office of the Attorney General, has since gone public revealing excerpts of the case.

Documents now Public 

An application has since been made in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking assistance to obtain evidence for use in a foreign (VI Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court) proceeding. According to sections of the case filed, within the scope of his legal representation to the Government, Hyman, in late 2013 or early 20 14, introduced certain business promoters from the United States to the Virgin Islands Government.

These promoters proposed to start an airline that would operate, for the first time, nonstop commercial flights between Miami and the BVI and in conjunction with the proposed investment by the promoters, the Virgin Islands Government was to invest $7,000,000 in the airline.

It states that although the Government provided the agreed to investment (and an additional $200,000), the airline never went into operation, and the investors apparently never invested any money in the venture before burning up the investment provided by the VI Government.

“Investigations by the BVIG [British Virgin Islands Government] have revealed indicia that, in dereliction of his professional obligations as its Attorney to act in the best interest of his client and be free from even the appearance of (let alone actual) conflict of interest, Mr. Hyman personally profited from this failed airline venture by, inter alia, being a paid Director of the failed airline to the tune of an undisclosed $10,000 director's fee, $2500 for each in-person meeting, and stock options,” the VI government alleged.

It is the VI’s case that Hyman was also likely being a paid Director of at least one of the companies that were shareholders of the airline.

“It also appears that Mr Hyman secretly received a $200,000 "finder's fee" from the airline and/or its promoters for putting the deal together with the BVIG. All this undisclosed improper activity incentivized Mr Hyman to influence the BVIG to invest what ultimately totalled $7,200,000 into the failed airline venture,” the document details. 

Unclear Relationship 

As he was being terminated by the BVIG, in an email to the then-Premier of the BVI [Dr. D. Orlado Smith], Mr Hyman attempted to characterize his role from that of attorney to one as "honest mediator", a role, to which he acknowledged, in hindsight, but the then-Premier Smith of the BVI never agreed.

However, in an email two years later to the BVIG's current attorneys who requested the BVIG's client file, Mr Hyman contradicted himself by saying, "by Premier Smith's request, I worked with the BVI Government and BVI Air.”

It is the government’s case that while Hyman admitted to working with both sides on the transaction, he falsely claimed that it was at the then Premier's request, which is easily refuted by simply reading Mr Hyman's own contemporaneous email to the then Premier Smith.

Further, it is alleged, “Mr Hyman's emails from 2014 to 2017 to the then-Premier concerning the failed airline venture reveal an Attorney who lost sight of his role as an advocate for his client's interest.”

“Instead, they contain statements of rancor and upset directed to his client in a tone and content calculated to shame, browbeat, and push his client into investing ultimately $7,200,000 of public money in a venture fraught with risk and with parties that the most cursory of due diligence would have revealed red flags that, at a minimum, should have been disclosed to his client since, they indicated that the parties were unsuitable for the proposed venture,” court documents revealed. 

More Red Flags 

The document further states that in June 2019, when asked by the BVIG's current counsel about the due diligence undertaken and the red flags that current counsel had uncovered, without addressing the red flags, Mr Hyman responded that his due diligence on one of the primary promoters, Bruce Bradley, consisted of 'asking around' and his ability to judge people.

What was not included in Mr Hyman's response, however, is how in an email two years earlier to the then-Premier, Mr Hyman referred to Mr Bradley as a "close friend of many years."

Further the court document says, rather than advising his client or advocating his client's position, Mr. Hyman sent emails to the then Premier Smith that included, "Frankly, it is very embarrassing to me that, having brought Bruce Bradley to the table, he now receives no reply to his numerous e-mail messages."

He further noted that the BVIG's draft agreement "is unacceptable," after the VI Government removed the promoters' proposed language that included a sovereign immunity waiver and an anti-competitive restriction on the provision of subsidies to the proposed airline's competitors.

See previous article published October 3, 2019

VI Gov't moves to US court to recover $7.2M invested in failed BVI Airways

- Premier Fahie says Gov't has 'strong interest' in getting back tax payers $7.2M

BRANDYWINE BAY, Tortola, VI- It is confirmed that the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government has moved to the courts to retrieve the $7.2M the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration plugged into the failed BVI Airways.

Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) confirmed to reporters at a press conference at Brandywine Bay Restaurant, Tortola, last evening October 2, 2019, that Government has secured lawyers and has a case in a United States of America (USA) court.

The September 30, 2019, edition of "Offshore Alert", an online publication, carried a story on the matter and a screen shot of a section of the article attraction much attention on social media after being posted by several persons in the territory.

The article stated: "Claiming a loss of $7.2M, the BVI Government disclosed in a court filing that it intends to sue its former, 30-year US-based legal representative, Lester Hyman, for suspected self-dealing regarding a failed airline venture to operate flights between the BVI and Miami."

Asked last night to confirm that the VI Government is suing Mr Lester Hyman, Premier Fahie responded, "The matter is in court in the United States of America and out of our legal advice we are told to refrain from commenting, but I would just like to say that there is no secret that the BVI has an interest in retrieving the 7.2 million dollars and I will stop at that."

Pressed to give more details, Premier Fahie was asked if the response he gave was the only update he was prepared to give as it relates to recouping the money. "I don't know if this is how we intend to do so or it's just something that happened along the way but we have an interest, strong interest, in getting back the tax payers 7.2 million dollars."

Asked for dates regarding the filing of the matter in the USA court, Premier Fahie said, "I really can't tell the date if, when and how its filed. What I do know is that we have lawyers hired because we have [an] interest in getting back the tax payers $7.2 million dollars."

Asked if the report by Offshore Alert is correct, Premier Fahie said he hasn't read the article in its entirety.

26 Responses to “UPDATE: Court docs say Hyman pocketed $$$ in BVI Airways deal”

  • my 2 cents (03/10/2019, 07:43) Like (57) Dislike (16) Reply
    Them NDP men should be in jail
    • SMH (03/10/2019, 08:35) Like (26) Dislike (49) Reply
      for what a failed investment i mean come on seriously they're other countries, companies, and individuals who lose more than this on a failed investment and i find it funny all of a sudden all new medias are using the correct word for the issue now a FAILED INVESTMENT but yall talking bout people thiefing money IF THAT INVESTMENT HAD TAKEN OFF WE WOULDVE BEEN A JEWEL IN THE CARIBBEAN BUT AS ALWAYS YALL READ HEADLINES AND DO NOT INVESTIGATE FACTS!!!!!!
      • @SMH (03/10/2019, 09:15) Like (46) Dislike (12) Reply
        Please stop condoning wrong. It was a robbery from the start. The ndp need to go jail for this.
        • SMH (03/10/2019, 09:51) Like (12) Dislike (26) Reply
          HOW WAS IT ROBBERY? tell me? if they had gotten through with the deal and we had those 2 LEASED PLANES and we were getting flights too and from and even expanded throughout the caribbean while LIAT was nearly shut down how much revenue would the BVI gotten from that deal? IT'S CALLED BUSINESS ITS VENTURE THAT WOULD'VE MULTIPLIED THAT 7.2 MILLION TO PROBABLY 25 MILLION BY NOW?
          • dude (03/10/2019, 14:52) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
            If you give them credit for failure then it's no wonder how they reacted when we asked them to be accountable. If that was done by anyone else would you be as understanding? They did something very foolish from the start and then doubled down on their folly. There is no credit for that that was incompetence.
      • pay up (04/10/2019, 14:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        You sound a little scared.
    • Once a slave...... (06/10/2019, 09:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      You want the NDP in jail and you have absolutely no evidence of criminal intent on their part.

      What about the lawyer who allegedly influenced the NDP to invest more. Do you think he should be in jail too, or is it ok with you if he sits on his a$$ and enjoy the BVI taxpayer's money?

  • Nice try (03/10/2019, 10:17) Like (33) Dislike (2) Reply
    They are trying a thing but all this will do is take the total amount lost in this venture from $7.2 Mill to about $8 Million.

    The reality is that $7 million was not enough money to startup and run an airline of the scale that this was trying to achieve.
    • Lily Ann (03/10/2019, 10:52) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
      Most sensible comment here
      • huh (08/10/2019, 08:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        It would be sensible if the commenter knew that it was not to start up the company but was an "investment" into the said company.
  • LS NS RH (03/10/2019, 11:04) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who were the public officers that benefited also from this thief, they too much be jailed
    • Reply (03/10/2019, 13:46) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      yes LS pocket fat along with the tall guy who going with the girl from TB set of crooks
  • Wow (03/10/2019, 11:12) Like (20) Dislike (2) Reply
    @nice try and SMH
    I don’t know if you have any ideas about the American criminal system but that money is coming back home and I don’t know if you know but that plane was sold for $650,000 .
    And we wonder why this country is the way it is when people like you all continues to encourage behavior like that and talk nonsense about bad investment Sanford had bad investments also and where is he now ?you all are sickening
  • nonsense (03/10/2019, 12:11) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Find our money them too thieving. SMH need to go sid dung. but bad investment. go give someone your money and don't get what you pay for will you call it a bad investment and leave it just so. stop being stupid and ignorant man.
  • huh (03/10/2019, 12:52) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Offshore alert sounds familiar to me
  • No money (03/10/2019, 14:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    In need of money
    • lol (04/10/2019, 09:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      lol, not that one. lol
      • Get Real (05/10/2019, 13:22) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Every man involved get something for their time including G.Members.... Its a great rip-off plot. Another case we are going to lose and waste more tax payers monies paying lawyers.
  • SMH (05/10/2019, 11:55) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    Dr Smith is the worse Premier of all time. Everybody see him like taking candy from a baby. The bad thing about this is he was warned before any money was handed out. The opposition did everything to get answers but he was so hard headed.
  • dude (05/10/2019, 12:56) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    They got con by a white guy in a suit, it happens all the time. Now we have a better government and they'll never get back in. What we need is direct nonstop flights to Puerto Rico St.Marten STT & STX SKB Antigua. Trying to go direct to Miami is Ridiculous and unnecessary so any con would've sold them a dream & took our $$$. Their minds were so far from reality on that one.
    • vi (05/10/2019, 15:39) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      i mean dude, do you travel from the bvi, we do have direct nonstop flights to Puerto Rico St.Marten STT & STX SKB Antigua, what are you talking about dude?.
  • whats new (05/10/2019, 13:17) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    That's what lawyers do find ways to make money... How much did the lawyers make from the house speaker our treasury.. If the premiere didn't intervene. They were after lot more. Encouraging the speaker to continue with appeal......
    • @ what’s new (06/10/2019, 09:30) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      This has nothing to do with the esteemed speaker we are all happy the bill did not reached $1.2m like myrun wall, $7.2m on mr zzzzzz plane or even $40m on tt man ports over run

      Yet them criminals walking around scot free and on here blogging about a few thousand dollars caused by Mark. Boss ayo wicked people go kick rocks for how you all destroyed this country
  • Yet another (05/10/2019, 14:09) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply
    Whtat new? Yet another white man ripping off blacks.
    • WHAT!!! (05/10/2019, 22:06) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      “Yet another” sorry dumb racist remark. What color skin do you think our local directors of the company have?
  • vip heckler (05/10/2019, 15:37) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    what about the local directors how come they are goin scot free?


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