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Nad Board 'Not Politically Pressured' To Discount Airport Tenant

The Lynden Pindling International Airport: Passengers travelling to the US could face increased screening time.

The Lynden Pindling International Airport: Passengers travelling to the US could face increased screening time.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE Nassau Airport Development Company Ltd’s Board of Directors did not face interference from any politician nor was it compelled by political pressure under the former Christie administration to discount a Lynden Pindling International Airport tenant $1.2m in rental debt, according to former NAD Chairman Anthony McKinney, QC.

In a frank and lengthy interview with The Tribune Friday, Mr McKinney said he took issue that Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Agulair intimated that there was malfeasance on the part of the Board.

Branding the minister’s claims “troubling” and “irresponsible”, he suggested that had the comments not been cloaked by parliamentary privilege, legal action may have followed.

He further rejected any suggestion that the board was fired by the Free National Movement government, but instead provided letters to this newspaper showing his resignation with immediate effect on June 8, 2017.

The Tribune has learned that Patmor Holdings Ltd and its owner Patricia Mortimer is at he heart of this controversy.

The attorney stressed that the $1.2m “discount” was among other conditions that were concluded following an audit by Kikivarakis & Co. It was the result of a lengthy discrepancy that also took into account other factors of Patmor’s lease.

Mr McKinney’s rebuke comes after the minister told the House of Assembly Thursday night that a tenant who operated five stores at the Lynden Pindling International Airport racked up a rental debt over five years of more than $3m under the Christie administration.

At Parliament, Mr D’Aguilar asserted that she was allowed to remain delinquent due to “direct intervention by the political directorate”.

Even worse, he claimed that the tenant approached the NAD board of directors two months before the general election and was allowed to enter into an agreement to “write off” $1.2m of this debt on the condition that she give up one store and pay her balance.

While outlining what he suggested was a personal favour extended to the tenant because she was well-connected politically, Mr D’Aguilar questioned why the woman was not evicted from the airport despite five years of not paying rent.

He explained that this was the reason NAD’s board was dismissed shortly after the FNM won the May 10 general election.

Million-dollar discount

According to Mr McKinney when the new NAD Board of Directors was appointed in 2012, Patmore was already in arrears of $1.2m. He suggested that some of this was due to the original tenant who had a financial arrangement but was unable to honour its terms.

As a result, he said Mrs Mortimer expended considerable sums of monies to ready the leased areas for the opening of the terminal.

He said she also voiced discrepancies that her rental fees were disproportionate to other tenants – Mrs Mortimer's at between 12 per cent and 14.6 per cent and other tenants at 10 per cent.

The matter came to a head in 2015, Mr McKinney recalled, when the board tried to negotiate a reasonable settlement of the arrears having regard to the fact that there were certain things concerning NAD that were not up to standard.

NAD had promised a certain percentage increase of pass through passengers, but this fell through as Baha Mar did not open as was expected.

He said: “I must now segregate the board from the management of NAD. There were discussions and it was determined by the board that there was a need for an independent audit because Patmor was always challenging the number and saying she was being overcharged and so we determined that it would be best if some independent body looked over the overall problem and see if there was any merit in her position.

“In 2015 it was agreed by NAD, the management, that it would refer the matter of the arrears to its attorneys Higgs & Johnson. Higgs and Johnson then referred it to Kikivarakis & Co to do an audit of the rentals and make suggestions as to best resolve the impasse over what Patmor argued.

“Sometime in 2016 the latter part, it was agreed that the best formula to solving the problem (it was agreed) Patmor would be given a discount of $1.2m and the balance (of) $800,000 be paid within 30days of signing an agreement of settlement. Thereafter a certain amount would be paid on a monthly basis to reduce the arrears and on top of that the company was to give up one of the stores in Terminal C, namely the downstairs area that it had.”

Asked if this in anyway correlated to the May 10th general election, Mr McKinney said: “The agreement was signed from in March of 2017," adding that its terms were completed from 2016.

He continued: “I believe he is most irresponsible without at least having the courtesy of giving me a call.

“I am not that aloof. If he had some concerns he ought to have asked me what was my side of it and I would have been just as up front and frank as I am with you. But he is the minister and I technically have no objections with speaking with the minister of the Airport Authority.”

“Not the slightest interaction with me,” he said when asked if there had been a meeting with the minister prior to shocking revelations in the House of Assembly.

“In my opinion he is not behaving as a minister ought to behave. He ought to have had the courtesy to extend to me and my board a group of persons who worked for five years in the public service.

“They could never compensate me for the time I spent and the work I did as the chairman of those two boards. Every morning I came in my office I had a multitude of emails, which I had to deal with and put my personal work on the side.”

“I think he owes me and he owed the board the courtesy of asking the question ‘Did this happen that in the slightest would not pass the smell test of having the potentiality of malfeasance?’.”

“It has none of that,” he said.

Comments

sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

McKinney and his incompetent and/or ineffective Board should just go away ....... They have already failed to collect the public finances ........... No need to filibuster and deflect blame (you failed)

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OldFort2012 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr McKinney, do yourself a favour and emigrate for a few years. When your PLP cronies come back to power, I am sure they will find another suitable position for you. Until then (unless you have already stolen enough), you will just have to find an honest job.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months, 3 weeks ago

McKinney and several others who were recently fired from the NAD board are well known influence peddling opportunists who are quite prepared and willing to owe their despicable station in life to corrupt politics played out at the highest levels of the PLP party.

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Baha10 5 months, 3 weeks ago

We need to adopt Legislation as in the UK that would declare McKinney a "Disqualified Director", thereby preventing him from holding such a fiduciary position again, as clearly any Landlord who allows a Tenant to accumulate so much in unpaid Rent is completely and utterly incompetent ... and the "salt in the wound" is he wants a "Thank You"!

As for Pat Mortimer, I am sure she was up for Queen's Honors for her business acumen, as with Sir. Tiger, as these People are truly gifted at destroying extremly viable ventures whilst at the same time enriching themselves personally, at the expense of Shareholdes, Fiananciers, Investors, Suppliers and Other Ceditors ... just look at ABC Motors, Solomon's Mines, RND, Burn's House, City Markets, etc. ... all once profitable, but destroyed through a combination of incompetence and outright embezzling, causing much unnecessary unemployment in the process.

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ohdrap4 5 months, 3 weeks ago

what a spin. plps always doing that, they fail to pay property tax, electricity water and when the bill is significant, they boldly say: "i will only pay if they write something off". i have witnessed one say that and also the other hired gun who writes crap on this board and is never up to date in bills.

that was to be done with bec bills.

if this woman had any credibility she would pay the bill and then sue NAD for discrimination and get money back.

just declare them bankrupt. i saw in the newspaper that a former plp mp is on course to be declared a bankrupt.

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John 5 months, 3 weeks ago

As more and more of the economic carnage that is exposed that happened under the Perry Christie government is exposed the desire to walk up to them and spit (yes spit) on their faces increases. Imagine that you a Bahamian taxpayer struggling to keep a job or kept your business open and they squandered so many millions and tirlef so much millions more. I say spit on Perry dem every time you see them and don't let them spend your money in dignity. Including D Shane Gibson who think he still owns Bahamasair

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TalRussell 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrades! What does it mean to recklessly sully your political appointees opposites reputations?
Surly, Anthony McKinney, QC is not saying that any red shirts crown cabinet minister, or their fellow red MP's, would now dare attempt to standup on the floor the People's Honourable House of Assembly - expecting to be all cloaked by "parliamentary privilege" - but hypricissy does lives on with every change government?

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banker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The PLP invented "hypricissy". Are you so cognitively challenged that you cannot parse the statements that the new board came in 2012, she was already $1.2 million in hock, but since she spent a lot of money for the new airport, they are forgiving? This is business 101 -- you either pay your bills or get out. Of course, the PLP invented not paying bills, so I suppose that it was a pre-existing condition. Your moral compass is so askew, that you are not save-able.

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TalRussell 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrade Banker, do you not believe that there had be government culpability that involved lots more than $1.2 million in unpaid bills left scattered across the private island by the organisers of the Fyre Festival? Not a damn peep coming from the Red Cabinet on Fyre. Why so? Let's pray our God is watching!

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banker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Obie was the Tourism minister then. There will be consequences. More PLP criminality and perfidy.

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ohdrap4 5 months, 3 weeks ago

the spelling is wrong, it is spelled hyprisissy.

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Socrates 5 months, 3 weeks ago

so if you cant negotiate a rent reduction, stop paying, let the bill swell, then get your reduction through the backdoor by agreeing to pay if they write off 1/3 of what you owe.. what masters of corruption we bahamians are.. a few questions about this... who was responsible for accounts receivable at NAD? what did they do as this bill started to swell? where was the Board finance and audit committee while all this happened? who lost their job because they weren't doing it?

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banker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

And that is why the board bears culpability. McKinney is not fit to be in business.

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jackbnimble 5 months, 3 weeks ago

My sentiments exactly! I mean even if the PLP crony had a problem with the rent why wasn't she paying ANYTHING at all!! Who does this?? More importantly, who gets away with it and conveniently gets a write off two months before the election? WTH!!

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Porcupine 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I understand all of the comments above. But, does any thinking person think that Agulair is good for The Bahamas? He wants to be a ruler, not a voice of the people. Is this the same guy who said, "web shops are here to stay"? So, should we accept that murders, cancer, STDs and theft are here to stay? Or, should we have the sense and decency to see what is ailing our country and attempt to fix it? How do web shops help this nation? Or, do the payouts to the politicians make it convenient to sell their soul, like Agulair? Who is he working for? Honestly.

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banker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

We elected him to kick azz. He is a business man. The business of the government should be business, not charity. It's about time some azz was kicked and I wish that Minnis would do more of it.

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Tarzan 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Best thing among many good things that has happened as a result of the election!

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OMG 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Fuzzy logic whereby the ordinary citizen gets his power and cable and water turned off if he or she is in arrears for less than a few months, evicted if in arrears with rent yet we are expected to believe that nobody monitors rental payments from these shops to NAD on a monthly basis. Can you imaging owing a a private landlord $10,000 and then saying if you discount it by $5000 I will pay the rest ?????. Of course there was political / personal intervention and the public have to subsidise this 4th world way of doing business by higher airport fees. Simple pay up or get out and go to court.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

That is classic Pingdomite political thuggery ............ Why is Lady SLOP still in Government House??????? ............ She should vacate that position by June 30 as well ........ She and the PLP exMPs who have not declared as all a disgrace to these "honourable" positions ...... We need our money!!!!!!!!!

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John 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The fundamental point is this woman had five stores! The first thing you do if not generating a profit is downsize. give up at least two of the stores and cut down on your overhead. LPIA is not a cheap place to rent and, of course the prices in the stores surely reflect that. Even parking there has increased 3 fold. This woman was hoggish and she knew she could get away with not paying because she was a big PLP crab. It's the people's money, and now it's the people's time! The government must recover some of this hundreds of millions if they are to ever put this country back on its feet. They had people being paid millions as consultants and never ever hitting a lick!

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sealice 5 months, 3 weeks ago

If anyone hires this dumbass after reading this then i guess it truly takes one to know one and like one.....

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screwedbahamian 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So I own a tourist Tee shirt shop downtown and my staff come in to work but is rains all day and I get no customers in the shop, I don't have to pay my staff for that day. What a way to do business. Only our great God can guarantee events.

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DDK 5 months, 3 weeks ago

SOMEBODY is responsible for the loss of revenue. Please say they are not going to weasel their way out of it. COLLECT THE DEBT! This, as the former, is the same Bahamas Government which instructs its corporations to disconnect power and water when its PEOPLE are in arrears. They certainly don't give them five years' grace! What a damn sham!

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BahamaPundit 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This director has so much "slave" in him. He can't even admit that him and his team completely screwed up. Did he go to school? Did he take Mathematics. Which stone in the bush did tjey find theis guy under? Nobody forgives that kind of money. Nobody (but him). Now he has thr GUTS to make excuses!!!! He should have been sweeping floors not governing an airport.

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Baha10 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This Story alone eptimomises why we are where we are 43 years post Independence by exposing nepotism, incompetence, ignorance, corruption, etc. ... now multiply a few thousand times! It is a wonder we are still floating ... or are we, as many will say we have already sunk, but either do not realize or worse, refuse out of lingering National Pride to admit!

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Tarzan 5 months, 3 weeks ago

...and if you believe this crock, I would like to meet to sell you some farm land between N.P. and Rose Island that I promise will rise out of the sea, thirty days after you pay for it. This blatant PLP theft scam has been exposed in Punch for months and months. Where was the good Board Member during all that if he is so ready to bring a legal action?

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birdiestrachan 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Just another FNM lie. Washers you presses.. you mouth runs far ahead of his brains and they choose to say that because of ones hue they are thieves and to many FNMs believe just that. old lying D'agulia.

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birdiestrachan 5 months, 3 weeks ago

only mean spirited FNMs would want to spit on other human beings. . What one sows they will reap and it may be very soon. what evil dwells in the recesses of their minds. it is out of the minds of such that comes murder, the wash house man lies. just as roc wit doc does. Bains Town free tax zone?

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EasternGate 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The PLP is the worst piece of Shit in the region!

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