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Miller Demands $10m From The Govt And Bob

Leslie Miller

Leslie Miller

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Leslie Miller yesterday accused Bank of The Bahamas and the government of an "unlawful conspiracy" to seize his shopping plaza, and demanded nearly $10m in damages from each.

The former Cabinet minister and MP, in a legal action filed with the Supreme Court, claimed both the BISX-listed bank and the former Christie administration reneged on agreements to fund multi-million dollar renovations to his family's Summerwinds Plaza so it could be rented to government ministries.

Besides claiming damages for the loss of multi-million dollar rental income through these purported contractual breaches, Mr Miller also accused the Minnis administration of "malice" and victimisation because he is a member of its Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) opposition.

He alleged that it deliberately refused to follow through on the leases signed by its predecessor knowing it "would trigger a default" on $25-$28m worth of loans owed to Bank of The Bahamas (BOB), thereby paving the way for the bank and the Bahamas Resolve bail-out vehicle to seize control of the Tonique Williams Highway plaza.

Mr Miller claims that BOB served him with a default notice just five days after the May 10 general election. In particular, he targets Marlon Johnson, acting financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who is also Bahamas Resolve's secretary, describing him as "a nemesis" who frequently attacked Mr Miller during his role as a "Free National Movement activist" on the campaign trail.

The outspoken ex-MP's claim also confirms Tribune Business's revelation that Bahamas Resolve and its managers, Deloitte & Touche, have appointed a receiver who is now running both the Miller family's Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace venture and the plaza as they bid to sell it and recover the outstanding loan.

But Mr Miller and his attorney, Damian Gomez QC, the former minister of state for legal affairs, are seeking a Supreme Court injunction to block any sale of the Summerwinds Plaza. They are alleging that his constitutional rights to private property and freedom of expression have been breached, or threatened, by the combined actions of the Government and bank.

"The matters set out herof constitute an unlawful conspiracy to dispossess the plaintiffs and each of them of the said Summerwinds complex through the unlawful withholding of sums due to the said plaintiffs and each of them by the Government of the Bahamas, and its control over and abuse of power in relation to the first and third defendants," Mr Miller's lawsuit alleged, referring to BOB and Bahamas Resolve.

The Government owns more than 80 per cent of BOB through the Treasury and National Insurance Board (NIB), and Mr Miller continued: "Essentially, the Government of the Bahamas has purported through its own wrongdoing to profit by the use of the first and third defendants at the expense of the plaintiffs and each of them.

"The Government deliberately refused to pay monies due under the five leases dated December 1, 2016, with the intention to trigger a default on the part of the plaintiffs and each of them in respect of their respective loans with" BOB.

Bahamas Resolve, the vehicle to which BOB's "toxic" loans have been transferred, has already advertised the Summerwinds Plaza for sale to interested buyers via a newspaper advertisement in the Friday, June 29, edition of The Tribune.

Moving to ensure this goes no further, Mr Miller alleges in his 'statement of claim' that the House of Assembly allowed him, via a January 15, 2013, resolution to negotiate the lease of his Summerwinds Plaza to the Government for "the purpose of providing offices to various ministries".

He claimed that two lease agreements were signed in summer 2013, which "required significant renovations and structural work to be effected" at the property to ensure it met the Government's requirements.

Mr Miller and his companies sought to finance these upgrades with a loan from BOB, which it allegedly agreed to do by extending $2.5 million secured by a further "upstamping" of its existing mortgage secured on Summerwinds Plaza.

But, after advancing an initial $185,000, Mr Miller accused the BISX-listed bank of reneging on its loan commitment in the final week of October 2013. This left him unable to complete the necessary renovations, and the Government "repudiated" the lease deals as a result.

Refusing to give up, the former MP secured five new lease agreements with the Government on December 1, 2016, following "lengthy negotiations" between himself on one side and the former Christie administration and BOB on the other.

This time, the $4.787 million financing for the upgrades was to come directly from the Government, not BOB, with this commitment included in the five lease deals. This arrangement is also described as "necessary" for BOB to "continue its loan facilities" with Mr Miller and his companies.

Mr Miller, though, alleged that he suffered a repeat of his treatment by BOB, with the Government just advancing $344,802 of the $4.787 million required to make the plaza suitable its ministries.

With the Government refusing to pay rental income Mr Miller claimed was due, just five days after the election, he received BOB's 'notice of default' demanding repayment of the entire outstanding loan balance owed on the Summerwinds Plaza.

Unable to meet their obligations without the rental income allegedly due from the Government, Mr Miller and his companies eventually saw their loan transferred to Bahamas Resolve as part of BOB's second shedding of "toxic" debt.

The receiver's appointment followed on April 9, 2018, with the Summerwinds Plaza advertised for sale in late June. Mr Miller alleges this was "part of a wider malicious and unlawful scheme to injure" himself and his family, and their companies.

Singling out Mr Johnson as someone who made "vitriolic attacks" on him prior to his appointment to a government post, Mr Miller alleged that the acting financial secretary advertised the Summerwinds Plaza for sale at an FNM branch meeting in the Freetown constituency.

Separately, the former Cabinet minister also hit out at the alleged leaking of his confidential banking/financial information, suggesting this also represented part of a campaign being waged against him by the FNM. He added that this had damaged his reputation, and caused him "much embarrassment, distress and grief".

Mr Miller then slammed Bahamas Resolve for mixing "the performing loan facility" of his daughter, Leslia Miller-Brice, with the debt secured on the Summerwinds Plaza. He claimed the bail-out vehicle had admitted there was "no justification" for that, but has not altered its stance.

With negotiations with the Attorney General's office proving fruitless, Mr Miller is seeking damages of $9.643 million and $9.847 million from BOB and the Government, respectively.

Most of these sums, $9.118 million and $8.476 million, is for loss of rental income the former Cabinet minister claims was due on the Government's leases, with the balance for monies invested in the renovations.

Mr Miller is now seeking a Supreme Court declaration that the five leases entered into on December 1, 2016, are "valid and binding" upon the Government. He also wants a declaration that there has been an "unlawful conspiracy" against him.

Comments

HonestTruth 2 years, 2 months ago

LOL.... this has to be a joke? I also need to sue the bank and be rewarded for defaulting on my loan.

Incompetence is rewarded in the PLP fraction of society

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

OMG! If there is substantial truth to the revelations made here by Miller, then immediate counter-claims should be instigated by the Minnis-led FNM administration, BOB and Bahamas Resolve against both Miller, Christie and Paul McWeeney on behalf of the Bahamian people. It seems abundantly clear from Miller's own admissions that he and Christie conspired to defraud the Bahamian people. How Minnis got the $18 million+ in advances from BOB to begin with, plus several subsequent advances together totalling additional millions of dollars, must now be throughly investigated. All three of them, Miller, Christie and McWeeney (who now works for Sir Snake) belong in the same prison cell for the remainder of their lives.

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alfalfa 2 years, 2 months ago

Well said "Well_mudda_take_sic". I agree with you wholeheartedly.

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DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

This person's audacity knows no bounds. It never ceases to amaze that such corrupt, immoral, illegal acts which have gone down in this country have been turned into acceptable behaviour by the perpetrators of these crimes against the very people of the Bahamas who elected them to office.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

Miller will eventually get the better of Minnis and the Bahamian people. It seems the dimwitted Doc is incapable of causing real justice to be brought to bear on behalf of the Bahamian taxpayers against the crooks in the last PLP administration, e.g. Shane Gibson, Frank Smith, etc. to just name but a few.

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realitycheck242 2 years, 2 months ago

Miller has his own Minnie BahaMar scandle on his hands. The only difference in unlike Sarkis, he did not put up a dime. He wants to ride the croonieism coat tail and get filthy rich. The devil is a lie er"

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themessenger 2 years, 2 months ago

Brudda Miller, I could please have some a dat cool aid yous be drinking and maybe lil piece a one a dem brownies you did get from Tal.

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Sickened 2 years, 2 months ago

The PLP slick as oil bey! Either way Miller getting paid. All they had to do is enter into a rental contract with Miller and Miller either collects rent or collects more from a lawsuit; even if the contract was reneged on by his own party. I'm sure the contract was done approved by their boys in high chambers to guarantee Miller payment no matter if either government actually used the space or either government was in power. PLP don't play boy! If they got your back - you richer than rich. If they don't need you - you don't exist!

If I was a nasty, greedy, soulless sub-human I would probably be a PLP supporter!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

But the fraudulent intent behind the arrangements is too transparent and no contract of any kind is valid if it was entered into with intent to defraud...in this case the public treasury/Bahamian taxpayers. Minnis won't do a damn thing though because the PLP boys know all about the deals Minnis and his crew have been cutting for themselves over the past year or so.

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geostorm 2 years, 2 months ago

Yup, they really raped this country and looked out for themselves. So sad! the greed and lack of integrity are really disgraceful. I don't know how we managed like this as a nation all these years. Just unbelievable!

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bogart 2 years, 2 months ago

Simple ......when the bank gives out a loan that has defects....the customer with money always can come right back and have recourse and sue the daylights out of the bank.......versus the pore man who geys a loan that has not been assessed correctly according to universal banking policies possible fraudently...negligently....well the pore man the consumer almost always loses the house or business all his investments an has noone to stand an protect da small man ....... In dis case All da best of luck Mr Miller in suing da living daylights outta all the bank an everry one responsible... !!!!....

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ohdrap4 2 years, 2 months ago

sure the borrower is never at fault. according to you at least.

in the past i recall some unscrupulous borrowers who used their loan money inappropriately and conducted their busieness in manner where profits were not possible. they sued the bank, they lost, the employees were never paid. it is really disgusting because the bosses enjoyed cars and houses and boats off money that should have gone into the building.

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Porcupine 2 years, 2 months ago

Reading this article and the comments above made my day. Almost beyond belief, but true.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

OK ....... Potcake build a big, big complex off BOB money .......... he ran into financial problems while he was a MP ....... He call up Perry and get a Government contract to rent the place ....... He borrow more money to renovate from BOB ......... But Perry left him hanging in 2017 ........ Now he blaming the FNM????????? ............. Perry jook Potcake on dat one.

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bogart 2 years, 2 months ago

@ohdrap4.....bank officers loan officers.....staff have a responsibility to protect da owners of da bank and do da rightful tings. Banks have been doing all sorts of tings to make profits...loan officers are forced to give out loans odderwose dey dont gets a salary increase ...bank officers are suspect to giving out loans to family friends lovers....there is sispect bank people who give out loans to political friends who dont quaualify.....banks have the capability of knowing whichin borrower lying and da powers to deny any loan....dey has to protect the owners shareholders on dese banks trading shares on da stock exchange BOTTOM LINE IT TAKES TWO ...DA APPLICANT AN DA BANK PEOPLE...AN ANYONE FOUND GUILTY OF GIVONG OUT LOANS THAT DO NOT QUALIFY SHOULD GO TO JAIL........IT IS AN EXTREMELY SIMPLE MATHEMATICAL ANALYSOS TO VERIFY IF THE APPLICANT CAN REPAY DA LOAN...PLUS THE BANK PEOPLE PLENTY OF DEM HAVE THE RIGHTS TO ASK DA APPLICANTS FER ALL OT MORE INFO TO DOUBLE CHECK...ETC WHETHER DA APPLICANT TELLING DA TRUTH......AN DA FINAL RIGHT TO DECLINE DA LOAN......,!!!! We have to stop dis mentality dat people who wears suit an tie an white collar dont do no wrong...

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bogart 2 years, 2 months ago

@ohdrap4...on the matter of the disbursement of the proceeds of the loan....it is common sense and always done for the bank offocer to pay out loan proceeds on invoice....and bank offocer manages the giving out of the loan money also daily reviews current account checque transactions to see payees of checks written by customer to see if the loan proceeds going to pay sweetheart...school fees....fancy car...many bank officers have a duty to follow up on constructive notice etc..some bank officers even go to the grocery store borrower an see what going on....some even do inspections...like poking the top box in storeroom to see if empty...and many such loams are designed that the bank can even goes amd takes over the running of da business....etc....of course in the end the banks have the mostest money to ppays the bestest lawyers.

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banker 2 years, 2 months ago

LOL. Well known fact that Potcake's "financial advisor" was arrested for fraud and lost his bank job because of it. Now he runs a "financial business". Hilarious.

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bogart 2 years, 2 months ago

Lol...yep you knows da routine Banker....many banks hav dis strange ting of having employees leave an going on to odder financial servises....some even gets dere contracts paid off an leave... Usually it would appear many smaller bankers leaves.....but these questionable practices should also go after the bigger higher people.....evens all da way to da Head of da Board of Directors....wid da real big powers......INSTEAD WE ACTUALLY HAS MANY BIG COMPANIES GOING OUTTA BUSINESLIKE CLICO.....SUPETMARKET BUSINESS...AN MORE......PLUS MANY OF DESE GOVT ENTITIES....DAT JUST KEEPS ON GETTING BAILED OUT...SIBVENTIONS...PROPPED UP....AND NOONE RESPONSIBLE.....,!!!!!.....an da pore people has to pay fer odder people doing.........business as usual ....!!!!

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HonestTruth 2 years, 2 months ago

The PLP is a criminal organization

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sucteeth 2 years, 2 months ago

Someone needs to remit this fool into Sandilands for his foolishness. He is a tief. If he paid his loan payment he wouldn't be in this situation.

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jackbnimble 2 years, 2 months ago

@ muddier take sic - your comments are spot on.

But seriously, Miller should be in jail but the man clearly has no shame and probably won’t spend a day in prison even .after single-handedly (with the help of the crooked PLP) having stolen - yes I did say stolen - millions in taxpayers money to fund that big waste of space called Mario’s Entertainment Centre or whatever it’s called..

I guarantee that business never turned a profit from the start but he spent so much time bragging that he was doing it all in memory of his dead son that he just won’t admit its a dismal failure and and one very large but dead investment.

Mr Miller please take my advice and give it up. The Government is doing you a favor by selling it. You’ve gotten away with enough. There are persons in prison for stealing less. Please cut your losses, drop your pride and let it go.

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