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Osborne – Show Me The Money

Darnell Osbourne

Darnell Osbourne

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Bahamas Power and Light chairwoman Darnell Osborne has hired attorney Alfred Sears to secure payment from the government for defamation and breach of contract relating to the dissolution of BPL’s board in August.

The defamation claim springs from comments Works Minister Desmond Bannister made after the board disintegrated.

Among other things, Mr Bannister claimed Mrs Osborne submitted personal bills for BPL to pay, including make-up bills to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Mrs Osborne has insisted Mr Bannister’s claims were false and that the make-up service was for a BPL photo shoot which involved other employees. Mr Sears, a former attorney general, is representing her as well as Nick Dean and Nicola Thompson, the two other board members who were forced to resign in August.

The Tribune understands that Mr Sears sent a “letter before action” to Mr Bannister about five weeks ago, hoping to settle the matter without going to court.

Attorney General Carl Bethel confirmed to The Tribune yesterday his office is in talks with representatives for the trio. Mrs Osborne declined to comment when asked recently. Her willingness to pursue legal action against the Minnis administration highlights how much her relationship with the Free National Movement has frayed. She resigned as a member of the party this summer, having served as a major fundraiser who, a source said, raised thousands for the party ahead of the last general election.

Mrs Osborne resigned as BPL’s board became increasingly dysfunctional, disintegrating into two factions, one involving her, Mr Dean and Ms Thompson and the other involving Patrick Rollins, Ferron Bethel and Whitney Heastie. Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis promised in August he would launch an investigation into the saga. Three months later, he has failed to fulfil his pledge.

Mrs Osborne, Mr Dean and Ms Thompson are only the latest to seek payment from the Minnis administration because of circumstances surrounding their departure from public office. This list includes former Christie administration consultant Sir Baltron Bethel, former Financial Secretary Simon Wilson and former Water & Sewerage Corporation Chairman Glen Laville. Mr Wilson and Mr Laville have both sued the government, The Tribune understands.

As for Sir Baltron, he told The Tribune yesterday he and the government came to a “mutual agreement” in his matter but he declined to elaborate. Dr Minnis revealed last year that Sir Baltron’s contract with the government had been extended and significantly increased before the 2017 general election. He told parliamentarians he cancelled the contract and refused to honour its terms.

The Attorney General declined to reveal the government’s arrangement with Sir Baltron, citing confidentiality.

It is unclear how much money the former BPL board members are demanding, however Mr Sears has experience seeking substantial payments for people who have had bad breaks from the government. In 2013, he initiated wrongful termination proceedings on behalf of Algernon Cargill, the former National Insurance Board director who was fired by the Christie administration following an audit by Grant Thornton. Under the Minnis administration, Mr Cargill reached a settlement of $300,000. Mr Sears also represents Mr Wilson.

Mr Bethel said yesterday that the administration is in talks with Mr Sears concerning Mr Wilson’s matter.

Comments

sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Lawd, Lawd ............. We The People have to carry more debt for the hapless BPL????

Please take that lawsuit (if successful) out of the personal fortunes of Bannister, KPT, and Minnis for their stupidity.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wait until Shame and Frank done with us

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BONEFISH 3 months, 2 weeks ago

A point of correction, Mr.Glen Laville was the general manager of the Water and Sewerage Corporation and not it's chairman.

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realfreethinker 3 months, 2 weeks ago

another lawsuit threat so the gov could settle out of court. I am surprise that munroe eeen get this job. Like the many others this aint gern no where.

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BahamasForBahamians 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Not really a threat.

These guys have contractual commitments from the government... whether we like it or not. It would be wise for the government to settle out of court than to waste the court's time and end up paying double.

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

How much will Alfred Sears pocket for these civil lawsuits????? ........ 20% ...... 30%

Sears, Munroe, and Creole Fred make a frigging living suing the Government and living off our Treasury money ........ Our taxes.

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BahamasForBahamians 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Are you suggesting there is an issue here?

I'm assuming these barred attorneys would make a living off litigation? Isn't that what they went to school for?

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 1 week ago

Those enlightened lawyers know how to frustrate and block the system ......... and then turn around and complain that the legal system is no good and dysfunctional ........ But they are the ones responsible for the dysfunction.

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