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Sunday, July 3, 2022


Government House has canceled a meeting planned for Tuesday to brief senators on the Prosser land-for-taxes deal and has not said when or whether it will be rescheduled. A Cabinet meeting Monday, reportedly also to go over the deal, was canceled too.
Several legislative sources said they received calls Monday from Government House saying the meeting had been put off.
Government House set up the meeting last week, and while senators knew it was about the pending deal with St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser, they had no details or documents. They were told that information would be provided Tuesday.
One legislative employee said "we got a call from Government House today canceling the meeting until further notice. They said 'until further notice' so it's not like they're scheduling another meeting or anything."
Cabinet officials reportedly were not told the subject of Monday's meeting when it was set up last week but were told to clear their decks. Acting Tourism Commissioner Clement "Cain" Magras confirmed that the meeting was canceled at the last minute.
Meanwhile, Rudolph Krigger, the governor's top financial aide, said Monday he didn't know anything "about any Prosser deal," despite a statement last week from another top gubernatorial aide that the governor was expected to make a statement about the proposal by Wednesday of this week.
Krigger, assistant to the governor for financial affairs, said the only thing he knew about any proposal between the V.I. government and Prosser was "what I read in the newspapers."
However, sources with knowledge of the inner workings of government say Krigger has been one of the architects of the plan. In fact, these sources say Krigger has been the administration's chief proponent of the deal, with many other people in Turnbull's inner circle opposing it.
James O'Bryan, spokesperson for Government House, had said Thursday that the Prosser-V.I. deal "is still being discussed and analyzed. The numbers are still being crunched."
O'Bryan said then that the administration should make a statement by Wednesday, April 21. When asked for a document or a copy of the Prosser proposal, O'Bryan said it was still in the works. (See story below, "Prosser-V.I. deal details due within days.")
O'Bryan did not return a call Monday afternoon for an update on the proposal.
The proposed deal, which was laid out April 1 in a four-page spread in the Daily News, a newspaper Prosser owns, said Prosser was "bailing out" the V.I. by giving the government 1,000 acres at Carambola, which he is in the process of buying, and building several projects in exchange for 30 years of tax breaks for his Innovative Communications Corp. Prosser is the sole owner of ICC, which owns multiple companies, including the V.I. Telephone Corp., both cable television companies, the V.I. Community Bank and the Daily News.
The newspaper estimated the tax breaks would be worth $6 million a year, or $180 million. It said the land was to go to unionized government employees to help satisfy the government's $200 million debt to them for retroactive pay.
Though the Office of the Governor has acknowledged the existence of the proposal, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has remained mum on the story since it broke.

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