Jan. 16, 2003 – Kenneth Mapp, beginning while lieutenant governor in the Schneider administration, was sent some $25,000 a month in "training payments" from an off-island company owned by Innovative Communication Corp., according to the sworn testimony of three witnesses.
Mapp, who was lieutenant governor from 1995 to 1999, is now the director of finance and administration of the Public Finance Administration, by appointment of its board, which is chaired by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
It was during the Schneider-Mapp administration that Innovative Telephone, also owned by ICC, was granted near-total corporate tax breaks for five years from the government's Economic Development Commission.
ICC is wholly owned by former St. Croix resident Jeffrey Prosser. In the Virgin Islands, ICC, in addition to the telephone company, owns Innovative Wireless/Vitel Cellular, Innovative St. Croix Cable TV, Innovative St. Thomas-St. John Cable TV, cable channel TV 2, Innovative Business Systems/Vitelcom, Innovative Long Distance and the V.I. Daily News Publishing Co. Prosser also owns V.I. Community Bank. Elsewhere, ICC owns telecommunications businesses in St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Martinique, the British Virgin Islands and France.
The three witnesses, all at one time executives with ICC or a subsidiary thereof, said in response to questions asked during separate depositions that they did not know what work, if any, Mapp did in return for the payments that came from St. Maarten Cable TV, a wholly owned ICC subsidiary.
Mapp, in a fourth deposition, said he had received payments from St. Maarten Cable TV but refused to discuss the extent of the payments.
The depositions were taken separately by St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn in connection with two civil suits, against ICC and the V.I. government, filed by plaintiffs who allege they have been wronged. A deposition is a pre-trial, out-of-court interview with a witness, with opposing lawyers and a court reporter present; it is a formal event, and the witness is under the same obligation to answer questions fully and honestly as in court.
In addition to Mapp, those deposed by Rohn were Barry Denham, former controller of ICC-owned St. Croix Cable TV; Thomas R. Minnich, former chief operating officer of ICC; and Elizabeth Goggins, former accounting manager of ICC.
Denham, Minnich and Goggins each, in different words, said that in the course of their work they knew about the payments to Mapp. None could say exactly how many "training allowance" payments were made.
Denham, for example, cited payments of "25,000 or something a month" to Mapp by the St. Maarten cable company. When asked whether Mapp had done any work for the company, he replied "not to my knowledge."
According to a letter from Rohn to Turnbull dated Nov. 1, 2002, "Mr. Denham further testified that ICC took over St. Croix Cable TV in December 1997. By his testimony, that means the payments began shortly thereafter, within several months, and clearly while Kenneth Mapp was still lieutenant governor."
Minnich, who has also served as a member of the ICC board of directors, confirmed the payments to Mapp in the following exchange:
Rohn: Was it correct that you approved wire transfers for $25,000 [a] month for two years?
Minnich: I don't know the exact amount, ma'am.
Rohn: Was that approximately the amount?
Minnich: I believe that this was approximately the amount for his training.
Minnich also stated that to his knowledge ICC never offered Mapp a job:
Rohn: Sir, you would like a jury to believe that you spent $600,000 training a man and then you didnt hire him?
Minnich: We didnt hire him. That's my understanding.
Goggins said that she played a role in some of the payments:
Rohn: Were you aware of wire transfers to Mr. Mapp?
Rohn: How frequently did you do them?
Goggins: Once or twice.
Rohn: For what sums of money? What is your best estimate as you sit here today as you recall?
Goggins: Twenty-five thousand.
Rohn: Per transfer?
Rohn, in her deposition of Mapp, asked him if he had been paid $247,000 by St. Maarten Cable TV, a dollar figure not seen elsewhere in the depositions. He refused to state the amount of money he received. As to the work done, the deposition had this exchange:
Rohn: What consulting work did you do for the St. Maarten Cable TV company?
Mapp: Consulting issues that they asked me about. I don't think I should be discussing the specifics between my client and myself.
After leaving office at the end of the Schneider administration, Mapp attended graduate school at Harvard University. He said that he subsequently set up Mapp and Associates, a consulting firm.
Rohn, in a Feb. 15, 2001, interview of Mapp at the Atlanta airport, established that the firm had no office, no Web site, no business cards and no stationery.
Mapp announced last February that he had decided to drop out of the running for the fall gubernatorial election. In March, Turnbull announced that he had approved the contracting of Mapp as the top executive of the Public Finance Administration, although the PFA board had voted a month earlier to hire separate individuals as directors of finance and administration.
The PFA is an entity that floats bonds for the territorial government and directs the expenditure of the borrowed funds. Its board consists of five members — the sitting governor, who is the chair; the sitting Finance commissioner and Office of Management and Budget director, who are appointed by the governor; and two private-sector representatives who are named by the governor.
The depositions of Denham, Minnich and Goggins grew out of a civil suit filed in Territorial Court (Dennis Sheraw and Associates, plaintiff, vs. ICC, Jeffrey Prosser and Oakland Benta). That of Mapp was related to a suit filed in federal District Court (Peter Anderson, plaintiff, vs. Government of Virgin Islands d/b/a Virgin Islands Police Department, Ramon Davila, Kenneth Mapp, Robert Soto, Elton Lewis, Roy Schneider and Derek Hill ).
Texts of the Denham, Minnich and Mapp depositions were provided to the governor via a process server and mailed to the media by Rohn. The Goggins deposition is on file with the Territorial Court on St. Croix.
Valerie Lovett contributed to this report.
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Editor's note: Here is the correction written by David North and published May 28, 2003.
In an article I wrote for the Source on Jan 16, 2003, I wrote:
"Kenneth Mapp, beginning while Lt. Governor in the Schneider administration, was sent some $25,000 a month in "training payments" from an off-island company owned by Innovative Communication Corp., according to sworn testimony of three witnesses."
Rather than attributing the statement regarding the timing of such payments to the three witnesses directly, the article should have attributed the statement to Attorney Lee Rohn who had taken sworn testimony from the three witnesses. However, none of the witnesses testified or told Attorney Rohn that Kenneth Mapp was paid by ICC or any of its subsidiaries while employed as Lt. Governor of the Virgin Islands.
Rohn made the statement that the payments had begun while Mapp was Lt. Governor in a letter to the editor, dated Nov. 1, 2002 and in a letter to Governor Turnbull on May 21, 2002.
She made both letters available to the Source. I relied on the letters rather than the actual sworn statements. At no time did I contact any ICC subsidiary or ICC employee to ask for the company's side of the story, as I relied solely on Ms. Rohn's comments regarding the deposition of these witnesses.
Both ICC and Mapp deny the veracity of Ms. Rohn's statement regarding the timing of the payments.
The Source and I regret any confusion that may have been caused by the article.