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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Liquidators Challenge Antigua Sun Building Lease

Source: Caribarena

Antigua St. John's - R. Allen Stanford might have been sentenced to 110 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme through his Antigua based Stanford International Bank, but the legal battles surrounding his assets continue to rage on with some closer to home than most would like.

Caribarena spoke with Liquidator Marcus Wide on Monday and according to him, there are at least two properties belonging to Stanford that were either leased or sold by the Stanford Development Company without prior consent from his office, and these matters remain in disputation.

Wide revealed that one of those properties include the freshly re-commissioned Antigua Sun Building for which the liquidators have sought a court injunction to halt its lease until an independent valuation is done to determine whether the cost agreed upon between the SDC and the building’s new occupants are in keeping with current and fair market value.

He said the ethical thing to do in instances like these is to wait until the legal proceedings have concluded before occupying the building since the likelihood exists that the occupants could be asked to vacate the premises should a challenge be successful in the event that the new valuation warrants one.

The liquidators have already filed an objection to the court challenging the building’s tenancy while the legal aspects of the agreement are still being ironed out.

“I don't believe they can (legally occupy the premises) while court proceedings are ongoing,” Wide said. 

“What SDC allows them to do is one thing. Our freeze order is merely that we have a right to first get a valuation, then to either consent to the transaction or decide whether it is fair or not. That is our right. If SDC allow something to happen while there is still a matter before the court, I feel the court will have to deal with the issue of possession,” Wide said.

That valuation is said to be either completed or nearing completion and the findings of this report could mean another court battle between the liquidators and the SDC.

“If our valuation is that the SDC failed to get fair market value then we would go (back) to the court and say this is an improper transaction – an incompetent transaction – and we wish to decline our approval,” Wide explained.

Should this occur, then the SDC would then have the right to challenge the objection and legal battle would continue back and forth until a settlement is reached in the courts. But during this time the occupancy of the building would be considered depraved, according to Wide.

“The court would have to unravel whether their (SDC and the new tenants) view of the world is right. We have no management authority within SDC so if SDC chooses to put a buyer or tenant in possession, that's a choice that they can make. But the consequence of them doing that, if it is challenged successfully and the court revokes the transaction, they (the court) would also insist that the tenant moves out. The court will do what it has to do, and if the court revokes the transaction then it (the lease agreement) becomes invalid and the tenant would have no continuing right,” Wide said.

When the liquidator’s valuation is received and properly analyzed, a formal response of either approval or rejection will be made and the relevant proceedings will follow.

“It would not take us long (to respond) if we have the appraisal, which I believe we should by this point

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