June 3, 2006 – A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss charges, setting an August trial for former Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen.
Hansen, a former gubernatorial candidate, was indicted with four others for allegedly trying to use political connections to secure a $3.6 million sewer repair for their company, Global Resources Management, then allegedly billed the Virgin Islands government for work they weren't authorized to do.
Hansen had argued that fraud and conflict of interest charges against her should be dropped under the Free Speech and Debate Clause, which gives legislators some immunity while conducting legislative business, said her attorney, Jomo Meade.
Hansen was a senator when she hired Global Resources Management to analyze planning documents for the then-proposed University of the Virgin Islands Technical Park.
District Court Judge James Giles denied Hansen's appeal to have charges dropped Friday, saying her actions were not protected because they were not a legislative act, Meade said.
Hansen – charged with fraud and conflict of interest – is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 17, Meade said.
After nearly three weeks of trial, a St. Croix jury was deliberating the fates of Global Resources president Ashley Andrews and accountant Campbell Malone. Both men face conspiracy and fraud charges.
Prosecutors said Andrews formed Global Resources with Ohanio Harris, a former aide to Gov. Charles Turnbull. Harris hid his connection to Global Resources while advocating the company receive a no-bid contract to repair St. Croix's ailing sewer system.
Harris pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest charges days before the trial started.
Giles dropped charges against Hansen's husband, Esdel Hansen.
When Turnbull voided the contract before authorizing work to begin, Andrews and Malone allegedly filed false claims for work they'd already done.
One part of the claim seeking government compensation listed Global Resources Management employees working more than 24 hours in a single day.
The government never paid the claim.
Andrews and Malone also allegedly filed false asset statements while seeking a bond to insure their work – reporting more than $100,000 in assets. Prosecutors said the company actually had an account balance that varied between $7 and $5,000.
They also allegedly falsely claimed to have 10 employees, 20 work crews and contracts for other building projects, including the new Peebles Hospital on Tortola.
Andrews' attorney, Stephen Brusch, said Andrews had planned to use the sewer contract to "share the wealth" by helping sub-contractors on St. Croix, bolstering the island's weak economy.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.