PLP claims Izmirlian is ‘vindictive’ with damages claim


PLP chairman Fred Mitchell.


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday accused Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian of being “vindictive” and “seeking revenge to injure the Bahamas” after it was revealed Mr Izmirlian filed a $2.25 billion damages claim against Baha Mar’s main contractor, China Construction America (CCA).

In a statement, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said the most “egregious insult in the entire filing” was the suggestion the bankruptcy of Mr Izmirlian’s operation was somehow influenced by dealings of the PLP administration, which were “secretive and suspect” because the documents were sealed by the Supreme Court.

Mr Mitchell said Mr Izmirlian needs to remember he was “unable to complete the project not once but twice” and he “must take responsibility” for whatever faults are uncovered.

Mr Izmirlian launched the damages claim against CCA, accusing it of “one of the largest construction-based frauds in this hemisphere.”

The $4.2 billion project’s original developer, in a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court, alleged CCA and its subsidiaries perpetrated a “massive” scheme of “cover up,” “deceit,” and “outright sabotage” to both conceal its failures and “extort more money than it earned”.

The action, filed in the name of Mr Izmirlian’s BML Properties vehicle, claims that the Chinese state-owned construction firm deliberately concealed its intention to use Baha Mar as “a massive training exercise” that ultimately doomed the project to failure.

Besides alleging CCA’s “real intent” was never to complete Baha Mar “on time and on budget, Mr Izmirlian and BML Properties also claim it falsified and misrepresented reports on the mega resort’s construction progress and the size of its workforce.

“Recalling that Izmirlian and his group lost the project because of his own acts and omissions and irresponsibility, the filing of the latest legal action in the United States comes off as vindictive and an act of revenge calculated to injure The Bahamas and its reputation and to cast aspersions on the PLP,” Mr Mitchell, former minister of foreign affairs and immigration, said.

“When one looks at the words of the documents filed, this seems nothing more than a rehash of the narrative which Mr Izmirlian is determined to tell, although the actual facts bear no reality to his narrative. The most egregious insult in the entire filing was the suggestion that the bankruptcy of his operation was somehow influenced by dealings by the government then a PLP administration which were ‘secretive and suspect’ because the documents were sealed by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas.

“This is outrageous. The FNM parroted this nonsense during the campaign only to have to be shown that it was simply untrue. Why is this back in the public domain in official court documents? Reasonable minds can conclude that it is being done to cause injury to The Bahamas and to this important economic project in The Bahamas.”

Mr Mitchell said he believes the filing is an attempt by Mr Izmirlian “to trying to muddy the waters and sully Baha Mar which is now well on the way to success.”

“The first developers of Baha Mar must simply be reminded that they were unable to complete the project not once but twice. They failed in their payments to Scotiabank and then failed again in their responsibilities to the China Export Import Bank. The company suffered a fate no worse than any other mortgagees who cannot pay their bills, the bank realised its security and acted to protect its risk by selling the asset on the open market, in this case supervised by the courts. There was nothing secret or suspect about it,” the statement said.

“When, if as alleged there were issues with construction, surely those were matters which could have been spotted and reconciled long before the company got to the point of bankruptcy. The developer must take responsibility for faults uncovered. The first developers should give it a rest and stop defaming The Bahamas.

“The PLP administration worked hard to ensure a successful development after the first developer failed to deliver on the project. The rescue of the project was carried out in an open and transparent fashion and despite all the propaganda, the good results are there today for all to see.”

Back in June, Tribune Business reported Mr Izmirlian urged the Minnis administration to impose “a moratorium” on the completion of Baha Mar’s sale and warned he was considering legal action against the Christie administration’s “state sponsored discrimination”.

Last month, Attorney General Carl Bethel said the government received a letter from Mr Izmirlian in response to questions from The Tribune over whether the government would investigate the issuance of a casino licence to CTFE.

The letter, said to be dated October 17, and sent to the Office of the Attorney General purportedly called on the Minnis administration to look into the previous government’s April 5, 2017 issuance of the licence, a source told The Tribune.


Porcupine 5 years, 9 months ago

Given Mr. Mitchell's behaviour during this period, as Baha Mar was trying to grapple with staying afloat, doing right by the Bahamian people, it is clear Mr. Mitchell has no shame, perhaps no soul. Mr. Fred Mitchell is a blight on the Bahamian people. The sooner Mr. Mitchell leaves the stage, however that happens, the sooner The Bahamas can start healing, perhaps moving forward. Under Mr. Mitchell's supposed leadership and political positions, the people of the Bahamas will suffer for many years to come. Go Mr. Mitchell. Just go.,


Porcupine 5 years, 9 months ago

Repost: I have a strong sense that Sarkis is on the right side of history. We have continued to compromise ourselves as a country due to the ever lowering bar set fon corruption, ethical behaviour, and a whole host of activities, some legal, some not, that have become prevalent, only some coming to light. I also have a strong sense that Sarkis truly wanted a first class project which would have benefited all Bahamians in so many ways, and that he was well on his way. He was footing the bill to train so many Bahamians, bringing them up to world class standards. Something every government says it will do, but never does. We in the Bahamas helped crush Sarkis' dream, to the detriment of our children's future. None of us should be proud about this sad saga. Whatever happens in the courts, pales in comparison to the damage done to our country, economically and spiritually. Right now, rightfully so, Mr. Izmirilian should be busy helping manage one of the largest positive endeavors this country has ever had the opportunity to have. Instead, he is forced to waste his time seeking justice in an increasingly unjust world. Bahamians should hang their heads in shame. The only glimmer of hope is that much of what went on may come to light. If it is shown that our politicians used this opportunity to enrich themselves, I would hope that they are duly assassinated in the court of public opinion, and held to account in an unbiased court of law.


DillyTree 5 years, 9 months ago

The PLP are terrified their hand in all this will come out. The deals and the corruption will be their undoing. They will say anything to keep vilifying Izmirlian for fear of their own dirty hands being exposed.


John 5 years, 9 months ago

Can Fred Mitchell answer a few questions:

  1. Would he walk away from an investment where he has invested over $900 million when he has strong evidence that not only did the contractor intentionally stall the project, but diverted money from the project to fund his own (similar) project?
  2. Did Sarkis Izmililian not call out to the Christie led PLP government, not just once but from early in the project and say he was being hoodwinked and bambozzled by the contractor? And didn't Prime Minister, Perry Christie respond and say, "the man (Izmirilian) is losing his head?
  3. Would it be the right and fair thing to do to allow Izmirilian to have his day in court and bring closure to this strange and eventful saga. To clear the names and reputations of those who stand innocent with clean hands and have done no wrong?
  4. Isn't it correct that when Izmirilain tried to seek relief for his greviences against CCA and China ExIM bank in the first instance, the Christie led PLP government interfered with the process and through ignorance and their anxious desire to get the project up and running, publicly sided with the Chinese taking away his only access to a lifeline and chances to have his side heard by an independent court in New Jersey.
  5. While Mitchel claims Izmirilian is being vindictive, wouldnt it be the right thing to get all the information out, especially to international investors and clear the idea that "the Bahamas government is a bunch or priates who lure investors to the coutry and fleece them and/or assist others in robbing them of their investment? 6.

SP 5 years, 9 months ago

Firstly, anyone naive enough to believe that Baha Mar is a $3+ billion investment needs to have their heads examined! No way in hell can anyone justify $3000 million for the construction of this property.

Secondly, I personally have the first-hand experience with how the Chinese double projected development investment cost in order to garner 100% financing without actually investing a single penny of their own money by over-inflating Chinese produced products first cost.

Proving CCA scammed Sarkis from day one should be as simple as having qualified quantity surveyors run the numbers on what the actual cost is to develop this property with Chinese made goods.

WHY & HOW Sarkis and Christie acknowledged and accepted the $B3+ price tag from CCA in the first instance for the development is yet another question that must be considered as things go through the wash!

A more tangled weave of deceit is hard to conceive.


John 5 years, 9 months ago

And why did not FRED MITCHELL address the portion of the lawsuit that claims that many Chinese workers were working on the BahMar project without proper documents (work permits). And that some workers employed and imported to work at Bah Mar were transferred to the Pointe project without proper documentation and permission from The Department of Immigration. And also Fred Mitchell was the Minister of Immigration during most of the construction phase of Bah Mar. He was responsible for granting permits to thousands of Chinese construction workers and other nationals employed at bah mar. Thousands of permits. Did Fred Mitchell get any money under the table? Even just a lil bit of campaign money? Who financed the swimming pool complex he constructed in his constituency just prior to being soundly rejected be the people of Fox Hill?


killemwitdakno 5 years, 9 months ago

He didn't even call their name. Boy, they are still idiots.


yari 5 years, 9 months ago

“If yuh throw stone in a hog sty is the the one who squeal get lick”. Translation: The one who reacts the most to a statement is offended by it or guilty of something.


yari 5 years, 9 months ago

Or the more refined version: You know what they say, if you throw a rock and you hear a squeal you have probably hit a pig.


proudloudandfnm 5 years, 9 months ago

Fred is the worst we have. Time for him to retire. I just hope this lawsuit exposes the PLP so bad that we never have to worry about a PLP government ever again. That would make Sarkis a national hero in my book...


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