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‘NAD’s board was not fired’

CANDIA DAMES
Managing Editor
candia@nasguard.com

Published: Jun 19, 2017

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During the course of negotiations with the company known as PatMor to resolve the outstanding rent dispute with Nassau Airport Development (NAD) Company for five rental units in the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), there was no direction or instruction from any politician directing the board on how to proceed with the settlement discussions, former NAD Chairman Anthony McKinney said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement followed initial comments he gave on Friday in response to an announcement made by Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar in the House of Assembly on Thursday that the entire board of NAD was summarily dismissed after it was revealed that it wrote off a third of the $3.3 million debt a politically connected tenant of LPIA accumulated after failing to pay rent over a five-year period.

McKinney said as chairman of the Airport Authority (AA) and NAD, he and most, if not all, other members of the boards submitted their resignations on May 16, days after the new administration came to office.

He also released to the media a copy of his resignation letter noting that his term as chairman would expire in any event on June 30.

McKinney also released a copy of a letter he received on May 17 from Transport Minister Frankie Campbell and copied to D’Aguilar.

After acknowledging receipt of McKinney’s resignation letter, Campbell wrote: “Please be advised that the contents of this matter [have] been discussed with the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, and we both agreed that you should continue as chairman of the above boards until Cabinet further [advises].”

McKinney released a second resignation letter he sent on June 8, directly addressed to D’Aguilar.

He noted that, in the earlier letter from Campbell, the transport minister requested that he continue in office until further advised by Cabinet.

“Today, the permanent secretary of your ministry, Mr. Charles Albury, advised that the Cabinet has now requested the resignations from NAD,” McKinney wrote.

“For the avoidance of doubt, as of today’s date, I hereby tender my resignation, with immediate effect, from the boards of both the Airport Authority and the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited.”

The revelations appeared to cast doubt over D’Aguilar’s claim in the House that the NAD board was “summarily dismissed”.

D’Aguilar said, “Because of well-known connections, they allowed her to not pay her rent for five years.

“... This board, in the view of this government, acted improperly, conveying and condoning special favors for persons who were not deserving of such, and therefore they were summarily dismissed.”

In his statement, McKinney said: “I wholly disagree with the minister’s statement in the House of Assembly on June 15, 2017 regarding his characterization of the board’s conduct with respect to the PatMor matter [as] well as with respect to the termination of our tenure as directors of AA and NAD.

“A review of the correspondence, board minutes and records of AA and NAD would undoubtedly paint an entirely different and more balanced picture.

“It is egregiously unfair to call into issue the character and integrity of the board members who gave five years of faithful service to the country.”

 

Facts

McKinney then outlined details of the PatMor matter:

1. When the board took office on July 1, 2012, PatMor was the tenant or lessee with respect to five rental units in Lynden Pindling International Airport. At this time, PatMor’s rent payment obligations to NAD were in arrears in the aggregate amount of $1.2 million.

2. PatMor lodged a grievance with NAD that the rent charged was disproportionately higher than other tenants and requested that a review be conducted.

3. We found that PatMor was the only tenant in Terminal C (U.S. Departure Lounge) paying interest/MAG ranging from 12 percent to 14.65 percent. Without any rational basis, this rate was significantly higher than the rate paid by all of the other tenants, who were paying approximately 10 percent interest/MAG.

Rent is paid at the higher of the two, interest on monthly sales or a minimum annual rent.

4. The board made inquiries and found that several of the units rented to PatMor were originally rented to an entity owned by Tyrone Nabbie ("the Nabbie Leases") and subsequently assigned to PatMor.

5. The board was provided with information pertaining to the Nabbie Leases that caused it serious concerns.

6. From 2012, the board and PatMor had discussions on a continual basis about its arrears of rent, which culminated in a decision being made in 2015 that the NAD management would refer the matter to an independent auditor to offer assistance on a fair resolution of the grievance.

7. To maintain independence, Higgs & Johnson, the attorneys for NAD, were instructed to appoint an independent auditor, which they did.

8. In September 2016, the parties considered the auditor’s recommendations and agreed to the basic parameters for settlement of the outstanding grievance. The principal terms were:

(i) The sum of $1.2 million from the total assessed rents would be written off;

(ii) The arrears of rent in the amount of $2.2 million should be repaid on the following basis:

(a) The sum of $800,000 would be payable within 90 days after execution of the deed of settlement, which was to be prepared by NAD’s attorneys;

(b) The balance of arrears and interest was to be repayable on terms to be further discussed and agreed.

(iii) The PatMor Unit Lease in Terminal C would automatically terminate at the end of February 2017.

(iv) In the event of PatMor’s non-compliance with the terms of settlement, all of the remaining PatMor leases would be subject to termination.

9. During late January and early February 2017, the parties finally agreed to the remaining terms of settlement and referred the matter to their respective attorneys to engross the requisite deed of settlement.

10. The deed of settlement was signed in early March 2017.

D’Aguilar said in the House of Assembly the government will investigate the legality of the agreement that was drawn up with PatMor with the view of having it canceled, and if it is found that it cannot be canceled, “then we warn that tenant, she better stay current, because we will allow NAD to do what it needs to do”.

 

 


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