David John-Williams incurs $30M debt » EntornoInteligente
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For­mer T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TTFA) pres­i­dent David John-Williams, who is now fac­ing a crim­i­nal probe by po­lice for fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions dur­ing his TTFA tenure (2015-2019) in con­nec­tion with the Home of Foot­ball project, al­so has a near $30 mil­lion debt weigh­ing heav­i­ly on his shoul­ders. The mil­lions are owed to sev­er­al busi­ness­es in­clud­ing a state en­ti­ty, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia.

In Oc­to­ber of 2019, the San Fer­nan­do High Court hand­ed down a judg­ment of some $23.4 mil­lion to Ven­ture Cred­it Union and or­dered that John-Williams re­pay the mon­ey he was loaned by the in­sti­tu­tion. A month fol­low­ing the rul­ing, the cred­it union had vowed to levy against John-Williams if the loan was not re­paid.

It has been ex­act­ly a year since the rul­ing and Ven­ture Cred­it Union says there has been no at­tempt by John-Williams to re­pay the mon­ey. This prompt­ed the com­pa­ny to post a news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ment last month re­quest­ing his where­abouts and list­ing his last known ad­dress as LP 1, Point Co­co Es­tate, Irois For­est, Chatham.

The ad was post­ed a few days be­fore a Guardian Me­dia ex­pose en­ti­tled “TTFA’s Se­cret Pana­ma trail”, in which fi­nan­cial de­tails sur­round­ing the Home of Foot­ball in Cou­va were re­vealed af­ter a year-and-a-half-long GML in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ques­tions were raised in the in­ves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary about par­tic­u­lar busi­ness trans­ac­tions John-Williams con­duct­ed dur­ing his stint as TTFA pres­i­dent that were con­nect­ed to the mul­ti-mil­lion-dol­lar fa­cil­i­ty.

Ven­ture Cred­it Union debt

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia on Sep­tem­ber 18, 2020, Ven­ture Cred­it Union CEO Ramesh Lutch­man con­firmed that the David John-Williams be­ing sought in the press ad was the for­mer TTFA pres­i­dent.

“In an­swer to your ques­tion yes, it is the same per­son,” Lutch­man said.

Guardian Me­dia ques­tioned the pur­pose of the list of per­sons in the ad and Lutch­man in­di­cat­ed, “The pur­pose of the list is to con­tact our mem­bers on mat­ters of mu­tu­al in­ter­est.”

He ad­mit­ted that for months now, it had be­come an oner­ous task try­ing to track down John-Williams.

“Ven­ture Cred­it Union se­cured a judg­ment against Mr John-Williams both through the Com­mis­sion­er of Co­op­er­a­tive De­vel­op­ment and the High Court. We have been un­able to reach Mr John-Williams, as such we are reach­ing out to him pub­licly re­gard­ing a mat­ter of mu­tu­al in­ter­est.”

Guardian Me­dia in­quired whether John-Williams had made any at­tempt to re­pay the out­stand­ing amount in part or whole.

Lutch­man said, “The judg­ment is pub­lic in­for­ma­tion and is yet to be set­tled.”

He said up to Sep­tem­ber 18, John-William had made no at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate with the cred­it union or had giv­en any in­di­ca­tion of his in­ten­tion to re­pay in a time­ly man­ner.

“The ad­ver­tise­ment is to be con­tin­ued as we await from all per­sons list­ed there­in. Our con­tin­ued course of ac­tion is to con­tin­ue reach­ing out to mem­bers and to pur­sue all avail­able op­tions for the full re­cov­ery of the amount ow­ing.”

Lutch­man said the cred­it union had faced a back­lash of crit­i­cism by their cus­tomers and share­hold­ers alike over this par­tic­u­lar trans­ac­tion. Cred­it union cus­tomers on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, ac­cord­ing to Lutch­man, had been ask­ing how they had not been able to lo­cate this par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual and why they had not been able to levy on John-Williams fol­low­ing the court judge­ment.

In fact, on Oc­to­ber 17 at Ven­ture Cred­it Union’s an­nu­al gen­er­al meet­ing, one per­son asked about de­tails re­gard­ing John-Williams’ loans, in­clud­ing who grant­ed the loan and what col­lat­er­al was of­fered for the loan when it was grant­ed.

Two days be­fore we spoke to Lutch­man, a copy of the judge­ment was sent to John-Williams via What­sApp. Guardian Me­dia asked, “Was this set­tled as yet, Mr John-Williams?” John-Williams read the mes­sage as in­di­cat­ed by two blue ticks but nev­er re­spond­ed.

Sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said in ear­ly Oc­to­ber af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the ad­ver­tise­ment, John-Williams’ lawyer Anand Misir wrote to Ven­ture Cred­it Union claim­ing li­bel­lous pub­li­ca­tion.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands there were over­tures by John-Williams in 2019 through a let­ter from his at­tor­ney to re­pay the mon­ey at some point. But noth­ing has ma­te­ri­alised to date.

The $23.4 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the case, em­anat­ed from a se­ries of loans tak­en some­time from 2012 to 2015 by John-Williams. The cred­it union ini­ti­at­ed le­gal ac­tion in 2016 and se­cured judg­ment three years lat­er.

In­ter-com­mer­cial Bank waits too

But this trend does not end there, as Guardian Me­dia dis­cov­ered dur­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion. There were oth­er judge­ments hand­ed down by the High Court against John-Williams and none of the mon­ey has been re­paid to the en­ti­ties in­volved to date.

The In­ter-com­mer­cial Bank, now known as (JMMB), was award­ed a judge­ment against John-Williams on Sep­tem­ber 22, 2015, to the tune of $1,599,403.99 mil­lion. That claim, which Guardian Me­dia ob­tained a copy of, was re-reg­is­tered on Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019, in the High Court. Usu­al­ly, claimants tend to re-reg­is­ter a judge­ment so that it will main­tain pri­or­i­ty over judge­ments reg­is­tered by oth­er judge­ment cred­i­tors over the same debtor, in this case, John-Williams.

Guardian Me­dia reached out to a se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tive of JMMB on Oc­to­ber 12 to in­quire about the sta­tus of the judge­ment. Af­ter ver­i­fy­ing with the bank’s le­gal de­part­ment, the fe­male se­nior ex­ec­u­tive, who wished not to be named, said, “We’ve been re­fil­ing over the years, that should tell you we have not re­ceived any mon­ey to date.”

NIB won’t di­vulge client in­fo

In May 2016, the Na­tion­al In­sur­ance Board was al­so award­ed a judge­ment by the High Court in the sum of $2,569,929.31 mil­lion against de­fen­dants David John-Williams and his broth­ers Patrick John-Williams and Christo­pher John-Williams.

The judge­ment stat­ed the name of the per­son whose es­tate is in­tend­ed to be af­fect­ed was David John-Williams.

This judge­ment was re-reg­is­tered in Au­gust of 2018 with the fig­ure now stand­ing at $2,730,418.73m, as in­ter­est of rough­ly six per cent per an­num is added on to the out­stand­ing amount. Re-reg­is­ter­ing a judge­ment ef­fec­tive­ly means the mon­ey is still out­stand­ing and must be done at least every three years to en­sure the judge­ment main­tains pri­or­i­ty.

On Oc­to­ber 12, Guardian Me­dia con­tact­ed the of­fice of NIB ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Niala Per­sad-Po­li­ah to in­quire about whether the NIB had been re­paid. A per­son at Per­sad-Po­li­ah’s of­fice in­di­cat­ed she was out of of­fice but they would re­lay the mes­sage. On Oc­to­ber 22, NIB’s Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ag­er Tri­cia Clarke con­tact­ed Guardian Me­dia about the mat­ter. Clarke said due to client/cus­tomer con­fi­den­tial­i­ty “we can’t di­vulge any in­for­ma­tion.”

In a sep­a­rate mat­ter in­volv­ing the NIB, TTFA em­ploy­ees have al­leged that dur­ing his tenure as TTFA pres­i­dent, the ad­min­is­tra­tion with­held some $4 mil­lion due to the NIB and the Min­istry of Fi­nance for PAYE, NIS and health sur­charge for em­ploy­ees.

Guardian Me­dia al­so un­der­stands two oth­er court judge­ments were award­ed to Massy Ma­chin­ery Lim­it­ed in June 2015 (CV2015-00572) in the sum of $493,986.07 and to Gor­don Win­ter Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2011 (CV2009-00731) in the sum of $497,425.40) both against John-Williams. How­ev­er, we could not as­cer­tain whether these claims had been set­tled.

No re­sponse from John-Williams

Guardian Me­dia sent sev­er­al ques­tions to John-Williams via What­sApp sur­round­ing the judge­ments and if there had been any at­tempt by him to re­pay the busi­ness en­ti­ties in­volved.

The ques­tions were sent twice on Oc­to­ber 20 for John-Williams. At 12.37 pm when the ques­tions were first sent, he read the mes­sages as in­di­cat­ed by a blue tick but did not re­spond. The ques­tions were again sent that day at 7.42 pm. The fol­low­ing day, the ques­tions were again sent at 7.46 am and 10.47 am but there was no re­sponse. The ques­tions were again sent twice the fol­low­ing day and still there was no re­sponse.

Ques­tions for John-Williams:

Good morn­ing again Mr John-Williams, I hope you are keep­ing safe. I am send­ing my ques­tions again.

1. I am ask­ing for the record once again for a sto­ry that I am work­ing on as it re­lates to Ven­ture Cred­it Union and if any at­tempts have been made to re­pay the monies owed af­ter the Pub­lic court judg­ment. Se­nior of­fi­cials at Ven­ture speak­ing on the record said you have not made any pay­ment to date. Can you just in­di­cate if you have or have not?

2. Al­so, I have spo­ken to of­fi­cials at In­ter-com­mer­cial Bank, which was al­so award­ed a judge­ment against you in the sum of $1.599m since 2015. They have in­di­cat­ed that they have had to re-reg­is­ter the claim since they have not re­ceived any pay­ment to date. Based on this Pub­lic court doc­u­ment I have in my pos­ses­sion, can you say if any at­tempt has been made to ini­ti­ate pay­ment? A sim­ple yes or no will suf­fice, please.

3. Al­so, the Na­tion­al In­sur­ance Board (NIB) was award­ed a judge­ment against you and broth­ers Patrick John-Williams and Christo­pher John Williams in May 2016 in the sum of $2.73m. This Pub­lic court doc­u­ment which I al­so ob­tained shows the claim was re-reg­is­tered in Au­gust 2018. Have you made any at­tempts to pay NIB since then?

4. Al­so, have you set­tled the court judg­ments award­ed to Massy Ma­chin­ery Ltd in June 2015 for the sum of $493,986.07 and Gor­don Win­ter Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2011 to the sum of $497,425.40? A sim­ple yes or no would suf­fice since these court doc­u­ments are all pub­lic.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian

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