U.S. Bank Exploits Bahamas Over U.S. Stock Market Losses
Marsh Harbour (Great Guana Cay), Abacos, Bahamas Islands (November 14, 2013) — U.S. Bank Synovus is forcing the economically struggling Bahama Islands to pay back the U.S. stock market losses of Georgia businessman WB Johnson, all of which losses occurred inside the United States of America.
Backed by armed guards, and claiming to be under the authority of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in Atlanta, Georgia, the Bahamian law firm of Grant, Thornton in Nassau took over control of the Orchid Bay gated neighborhood and marina on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos on Thursday, December 12. Two armed guards accompanied lawyers from Nassau and changed the locks at the Orchid Bay office and marina. The intimidating police officers — there have never been police stationed on Great Guana Cay — helped the law firm’s hostile take-over of Orchid Bay’s offices and facilities.
In the 2008 stock market collapse, Atlanta, Georgia businessman WB Johnson lost a reported $60 million. That is, Johnson lost vastly more than his total net worth, apparently through risky investments akin to gambling in stock options, derivatives, etc. Meanwhile, WB Johnson, through a United States Limited Liability Company (LLC) owned a Bahamian corporation Guana Cay Abaco Development Company which (then) owned Orchid Bay community and marina on Great Guana Cay, in the Abaco island group.
However, Guana Cay Abaco Development Company no longer owns any of the assets of Orchid Bay, and is now an empty shell, because a Bahamian Bank already foreclosed years ago on a loan to the Bahamian Bank. As a result, Synovus Bank has no legal claim upon Orchid Bay.
Synovus Bank made risky loans totaling $2.5 million to WB Johnson to gamble in the U.S. stock market. WB Johnson was a leading executive with Ritz Carlton, although none of these transactions directly involved the hotel giant Ritz Carlton. Nevertheless, many banks simply assumed that a Ritz Carlton executive was good for the money.
None of Synovus Bank’s money went into the Orchid Bay project or into the Bahamas at all. On the contrary, all of Orchid Bay’s money went to Georgia, and Johnson controlled spending at Orchid Bay from Atlanta and prevented Bahamian manager Jimmy Albury from making the development successful. Now, having made irresponsible loans, Synovus Bank wants to make the people of the Bahama Islands pay back the risky stock market losses of a U.S. businessmen for loans made exclusively within the United States.
Employees and managers of Orchid Bay, including Jimmy Albury, are owed between $1.5 million and $2 million which they advanced to keep the project afloat between the 2008 crash and 2013. Bahamian utilities and suppliers are also owed money. Jimmy Albury and others have final court judgments for the money Orchid Bay owes them.
In addition, another $2 million is owed to a Bahamian bank which already foreclosed on the assets of Orchid Bay years ago. Unlike the Synovus Bank loan, the Bahamian bank loan actually was invested in the Bahamas in the Orchid Bay project, and occurred wholly within the country of the Bahamas. A homeowner in Orchid Bay paid off the Bahamian Bank to purchase control of Orchid Bay outright, and now has the same legal claim on this debt standing in the shoes of the Bahamian bank.
Grant Thornton lawyers have refused to provide legal documents or court papers backing up any of their claims to the Orchid Bay Home Owners Association or to home owners. They are taking cash (cash only) for sales of fuel without any proof of who they are or why they are entitled to receive payment owed to Orchid Bay. Earlier in 2013, lawyers showed up from the U.S. making similar claims. But when their legal documents were examined, the court documents were defective, and that team went home. This time, lawyers backed up by armed guards are avoiding scrutiny by declining to show any legal documentation, and avoiding any inquiry into whether they have the legal right to do what they are doing.
Details are important because their authority can only come from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Georgia, which is hearing the bankruptcy cases of WB Johnson’s various companies. The Synovus Bank loan occurred entirely within the United States. The Supreme Court of the Bahamas has appointed Stanley Gomez in Nassau as a Receiver, but only by “domesticating” in the Bahamas the U.S. bankruptcy case. But Synovus Bank has no claim inside the Bahamas.
So U.S. bankruptcy laws govern. Those laws strictly prohibit favoritism toward one creditor over another and require fair and equal treatment of all creditors and claimants. If the process favors some creditors over others or leaves out anyone claiming any debt, account, or claim, the entire legal case can be “vacated” (voided) in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Georgia. That would over-turn all actions taken to date, even after the legal case is technically closed, and cancel any authority acquired by Grant Thornton.
Yet Grant Thornton’s attorney Derek Sweeting, acting as the new on-site manager for Orchid Bay, identified himself to me (Jonathon Moseley) and separately to the Home Owner’s Association as representing Synovus Bank — not all creditors equally and fairly, but only one creditor at the expense of all other creditors and claimants. He admitted that Stanley Gomez and Grant Thornton are not representing all creditors equally, but only Synovus Bank in the U.S.A. A U.S. millionaire homeowner in Orchid Bay took over the loan of the Bahamian Bank, and — with $2 million at stake — could cancel Grant Thornton’s authority through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Meanwhile, the law firm of Grant Thornton during the hostile take-over is now operating the fuel dock and fuel storage tanks at Orchid Bay without the necessary environmental permits and licenses. An operator of gasoline and diesel storage tanks and pumping stations must be trained to deal with environmental spills, leaks, or fires. Operation of the fuel dock requires a certified professional. Even if the license issued to Orchid Bay transfers over to the law firm of Grant Thornton (questionable), a certified operator must be on staff. When I (Jonathon Moseley) filled up our golf cart with gasoline, the nice young man who pumped my gas told me he was an accountant and knew nothing about pumping gas. If an environmentally dangerous spill or leak occurred, there seems to be no one among the Grant Thornton junior lawyers occupying the Orchid Bay offices who would be prepared to respond to prevent environmental damage.
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