Witness dents Mac’s claims

| 16/05/2012

mac_0.JPG(CNS): The premier’s claims that he was paid money by developer Stan Thomas for assisting with the sale of land at Vista Norte in 2004 are undermined by a witness statement given to the police by Brian Wright, who was involved in the sale of the land by Gil Freytag to Thomas in 2003. In two statements given to the Financial Crimes Unit he explains the timeline of the deal between the two men and indicates that a deposit of $1.5 milllion had already paid by Thomas to secure the sale in May 2003. Although Bush has not stated exactly when he became involved in the deal, he did not send an invoice to Thomas until what appears to be almost a year after the sale was first agreed.

Despite the implication that a letter Bush sent to Thomas in October 2004 demanding $350,000 was related to the re-zoning, not the sale, of the land, the premier has said that the letter was a mistake sent by his assistant. Last week he told The Caymanian Compass that he had clarified that the money he was asking for was on an outstanding balance of $750,000 in relation to work he had done on brokering the sale of the land to Thomas that the developer was trying to buy from Freytag to develop a resort.

Although it is not yet clear when Bush and Thomas became involved in a business relationship via the premier’s family’s real estate company, Windsor Development, it seems the two men first met in Las Vegas in February 2004. At this time the zoning issue for the land remained in question but the sale had been completed, according to Wight’s police statement and documents released under the freedom of information law.

Throughout 2002 and 2003 both the Central Planning Authority and the ministry responsible for planning were keen to see the land in question re-zoned and there seemed to be no objections or concerns over land being cleared for hotel development.

At the end of November 2003 the planning department recommended the re-zoning of all Vista Del Norte lands. However, just over two months later on 2 February 2004, right after the formal completion and registration of the land sale between Thomas and Freytag but a few weeks before Thomas and Bush met in Vegas, the planning director was advised that Cabinet had unexpectedly refused the re-zoning.

According to government documents, that refusal was then overturned in July 2004 when the ministry advised the planning department that “Cabinet had reconsidered the matter” and approval was to be given for the rezoning of all the Vista Del Norte lands and it was to be referred to the Legislative Assembly.

Bush has claimed that he met Thomas in Vegas in order to discuss the details of the resort the property developer was proposing to build on the Vista Norte Lands, where he also wanted to introduce casinos — an issue the government was actively considering at the time. The premier has said that Windsor Development was not involved in the re-zoning process at all as that application had been made before he became involved in the deal.

Bush, who was at the time leader of government business, has said that the invoice he sent to Thomas in April for $750,000 was for consultancy fees for the sale of the land as he acted as a buyer’s agent. 

According to comments the premier made to the Compass, the only media house that he has elected to offer any explanation to, the infamous letter to Thomas asking for the money after all of the re-zoning issues had been addressed was worded and sent to Thomas by Richard Parchment, his political assistant, in error. Bush says another short letter sent the same day clarified what the money was for.

Bush has denied that he has done anything wrong, despite the fact that the letter sent by Parchment remains at the centre of a two-year police probe, which is one of three investigations Bush is now under.

Both these letters are dated 7 October, but the fax stamp on the letter relating to zoning is dated 15 October while the second later has no fax time stamp. Parchment has said he has no explanation for the discrepancy in dates but that he sent both letters on 7 October.

After a year of silence the premier admitted to the local paper that he was involved in a the real estate deal with Thomas and that he went to Las Vegas, where he says the developer gave him a $20,000 goodwill cash deposit. An invoice sent to Thomas in April then asks Thomas to wire a further $355,000 in relation to the deal described as “real estate sales commissions”.  The invoice suggests that almost one year after the sales deal which Bush says he worked on had been agreed, he had received only $20,000 of his $750,000 fee.

In Wight’s statement to the police about the chronology of events and the eventual deal between Thomas and Freytag, he makes no mention of Bush’s involvement in the actual sale, though he agrees that Ronald Zimmer, the man that Bush has said he was dealing with, was involved in the deal.

In his first statement Wight tells the FCU officer that the deal was signed at Thomas’ lawyer’s office when the deposit of $1.5 million was paid. He also reveals how the lawyer had been seen hurrying across town to Freytag’s lawyer’s office with the relevant documents.

In a second statement at a meeting with the police, where Wight handed over relevant documents about the sale to the financial cops, he clarified that the sale took place in May 2003 when the first deposit was paid. He said that necessary changes to the contract and other delays meant the closing did not actually occur until January 2004. The sale was then registered with lands and survey in February, ahead of the meeting in Vegas.

See related story: Bush blames assistant

See CPA minutes below.

Category: Politics

Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is this the INSINUENDO that Mac referred to on the radio? LLLLOOOOOLLLLL!

  2. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:

    The upside of all this is we will get to move on to a new era of politics in these Islands. Thinking people have finally awakened out of their nightmare. One man rule isn’t cutting it. For the people, of the people and by the people is back come July 18th.

  3. Natural Mystic says:

    To Tennis Ace,

    "It is funny how CNS decides that they will try this case in the media and allow persons to post their comments on what is happening, but decide to withhold commentary from other legal proceedings, including serious crimes like murder, rape etc.
    And yet they would have us think that they are being objective. The RCIPs needs to either make an arrest in this situation or they need to address the issue. We cannot allow a situation like this to be spiralling out of control. We are not talking about some johnny come lately here. We are talking about the country's representative. The Premier. This is the person that represents the Cayman Islands on the world stage. It is either he has committed an offence and therefore deserves his day in court or there is nothing in the rumors swirling around. This has got to stop." I am an expat and my only interest in this situation is not to have this country become another Turks & Caicos.

    Please reread your own post, no he is not just any Johnny come Lately He IS the Govt Repesenitive of this COUNTRY who has to answer to THE PEOPLE of this Country Its OUR money that he benifitted from more than once, so unlike the other examples that you have stated we do have the rights to know what is going on because we are the VICTIMS, and as for becoming like T&C, we have been that way for a long time it's jst a mater of time before the UK steps in..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mr. Parchment, since brother Mac is off island 95 percent of the time, would you care to say how many more times you used his 'electronic signature'? We sure hope the 'mistakes' weren't as atrocious in all the other instances.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to say that I find it extremely unlikely, to the point of being absurd, that a man in Bush's position would allow, or indeed request somebody, anybody, to write a letter of this significance, or any letter for that matter, on his behalf and allow his signature to be applied to the letter without so much as drafting, or at the very least dictating the contents of the letter. Parchment was then allowed, indeed instructed, to deliver the correspondence without so much as Bush reviewing it or having it read to him over the phone prior to it being sent?

      A very simple e-mail or fax to Parchment would have been a more likely, proper and certainly a more responsible route, and again to allow it to be sent without so much as having it read to him over the phone prior to it being sent to my mind is very simply inexplicable.

      Apart from the above it is my understanding that Bush was back in office the very same day and supposedly sent the clarification letter the very same day? What on earth was so extremely urgent about this letter that it HAD to be prepared and sent by someone else in Bush's absence? The letter was sent with Bush's signature being applied to it by someone else with Bush having no clue as to the contents of the letter when Bush could have done it himself the very same day? Or at the very least the letter could have waited until Bush had had a chance to review it on that very same day before it was sent?     

    • Mighty Mousey says:

      Guess what? The “Electronic Signatures” don’t Match!
      Just look at all the Documents yourself if you don’t believe me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Only one (the first letter dated 7 Oct. 2004) was said to have an electronic signature. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mac has spoken, Alden, thank you. And by the looks of things he's put that size 11 right where it needs to go again. Thank you Alden.

  6. Knot S Smart says:

    Just looking at that photo made me say: 'Wooooo its getting hot in here'

  7. Anonymous says:

    Chuckie has to adhere to lawyer/client privileges now so maybe Mac should hire him so he don't let any more skeletons out the closet.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am no wighead, nor am I a  Philadelphia lawyer, so dont take what i say too seriously. Having said that, I must admit I do enjoy an occassional episode ofLaw and Order while staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Miami.

    From my perspective, when you have a supsect of a crime, you should try and interview them as soon as possible.  This way you get them on the record right away and any changes in their story are documented.  Interviewing early also gives people less time to manufacture a story.

    Also, are there any human rights issues here? – when a person can be publicly declared to be under  criminal investigation, the situation can be left to stew in the public domain for years, documents in the case constantly leaked to the press and the public, widespread public commentary and verdicts declared in the court of publc opinion, and even with all this, the suspect has still not yet been interviewed even years later.  Not to mention that the suspect is the most senior elected representative of the land and the persons carrying out the investigation are the foreign appointees of a separate far away administring power.

    I hope i am wrong, but this is looking more like nothing short of another very public debacle that will cost the people of this country dearly.

     

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right – you are no lawyer. When it comes to financial crimes and when it comes to the leader of govt. you certainly DO NOT try to interview them as soon as possible. You won't know all the right questions to ask and they may learn more from you than you will learn from them. Instead, you gather as much evidence as possible from other sources that you can effectively question them. As soon as you question someone you tip them off as to what information you have and if this is a powerful person you may find other sources of evidence drying up. It is OK if they manufacture a story not knowing how much information you have. It is usually in the botched coverup that the case is solved. They will only design the story to fit the facts which they know are known to you as the investigator. And therein lies the rub. If you have done a thorough job there will be evidence known to you that they don't know that you know.

      There are no human rights issues in being under investigation for as long as it takes to prepare the case. Bush is carrying on about not receiving official notification of being under investigation because he has been advised that to receive such notification may trigger certain human rights considerations.  

      Frank McField was under investigation for the better part of 4 years and I heard no one shouting about his human rights.         

      • Anonymous says:

        Cool thanks for that response. You obviously know more about the law than i do.   I will just stick to watching TV.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like a John Grisham thriller doesn't it?

    • Anonymous says:

      The only reason i can think of why the police would not interview a suspect of a crime is if they were conducting a undercover operation and were monitoring ongoing criminal activities of the suspect. in a case like this letting the suspect become aware he was being watched would cause them to cease the criminal activities and lesson the chances of a conviction.

       

       

  9. Anonymous says:

    He is not you or me; he is the Premier and they have to be doubly sure of their case. Also, once he is interviewed and they show their hand sources of evidence may dry up.

    • Anonymous says:

      In an interview surely you do not need to show your hand.  What ever happened to questions like –  "Mr Smith, please explain the letter to Mr John of October 2004?  Let him talk. That is rubbish that you will give away your hand or what you know.  As far as i know You can also feed him incomplete information etc.

       

       

       

       

  10. Anonymous says:

    The worse part is that Cabinet cannot legally "refuse a rezone". In actuality, the legal position is quite clear: Once the Appeals Tribunal hearing had been done (circa 2002) then the Tribunal was required by law to write a report to the Governor who would then refer the matter back to the CPA for the CPA to take into account the report of the PAT and then the CPA would have to incorporate whatever amendments they deemed necessary and then forward the amended plan through the Ministry of Planning for it to be tabled in the LA. It is then a matter for the LA to decide whether to implement the amendments to the Development Plan, thereby changing the zoning. This whole concept of "Cabinet Approval" is a farce and is not in accordance with the very prescriptive procedure set out under the Development And Planning Law, and is consequently, unlawful.

     

    XXXX 

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think any appeal was involved. The sole objector withdrew his objection before the CPA resolved to recommend rezoning. The Law does say the matter is the referred to the LA.

  11. Anonymous says:

    There you have it, about 80% of the facts. There still remains a few unanswered questions, the most obvious one being, where is the evidence of the real estate listing and/or the contract for the real estate commission? Surely you wouldn’t make a 3/4 million dollar deal without a written agreement? Or was it written on a Four Seasons napkin and Mac (sorry, Richard) accidentally threw it away?
    Here’s another thing that’s going to be interesting when we get the details: who was in Vegas with the LOGB and has that person or persons been asked for a statement, and if so, what did they say? To get to that, I would suggest that you find out his official travel plans at the time and go from there. Then we may have an explanation for why the investigation is taking so long…

    • Dred says:

      Not sure if this will repeat because I attempted to comment early but my computer blitz out.

      What I would like to know for clarity sake is this:

      When did Mr Bush receive the $355,000 payment? How many meetings of the board that provides approval on planning matters happened between this payment and the approval?

      I guess you can see where Iam going with this. I believe there will not be many if any meetings in between these two matters.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see McGyver get out of this mess!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is this Pastor Ron Zimmer who was sued by Mr. Thomas?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anyone with more than half a brain can see that this belongs in a court of law.  There is clearly enough evidence to charge, why have the police not even interviewed him? You can bet if it were you or me that would have happened.  Whilst it is not the job of the police or the legal department to decide on someone's guilt or innocence it is their job to get the matter before the courts so that justice can be done one way or another. After over two years we are entitled to ask what exactly is taking so long?

    • Anonymous says:

      Given the experience of Operation Tempura and that subject is the Premier and by that fact has considerable public support it has to ensure that the evidence is so overwhelming that even a biased jury would have to concede guilt. It is clearly not at that point yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      With the current evidence gatherers and department of prosecutions that we have, i am not holding my breath.

  15. The Spin Cycle says:

    Could it be? No! Impossible! But could it?? Could it possibly be the Premier was not quite forthcoming????  I don't believe it!!!!! Do I???  Simply because he is Leader of Government Business and owns a Real Estate Company and a developer wants rezoning and he meets him in Las Vegas and cash changes hands and the land is rezoned and he sends him another bill doesn't mean anything peculiar went on. Does it????

  16. Anonymous says:

    The truth is not what’s being Persued here, what everyone is after is Bush’s head weather he’s quilty or not….

    • Anonymous says:

      People are looking at the facts and drawing the obvious conclusions.

    • Anonymous says:

      What does the weather have to do with anything?

      • Anonymous says:

        Let us be realistict!

        Would you expect anyone that supports Puppet Mac to know the difference between

        "Weather" and "Whether"?

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone is after his head and for good reason. And its not for his 'seat' as he would have people like you believe.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean what's Prasad here…?

  17. Anonymous says:

    The sale was completed BEFORE Mr. Bush had the meeting in Vegas, so how can he now say that he was involved in it as a buyer’s agent? It had already been done.

    • Dred says:

      I have been wondering about this myself. In fact the ONLY thing remaining is what he said on the "Demand" letter to begin with.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You are trying to swim in quicksand Mac, just going deeper and deeper.

  19. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    This saga just get's more and more unbelievable on a daily basis

  20. Anonymous says:

    Keep it coming on…keep it coming! Keep it coming on, coming on…..keep it…..

  21. Anonymous says:

    'I did not have financial relations with that man'. Mac Clinton Bush

  22. The Nature Of Monkey says:

    Chewbacca lives on Endor.

  23. TennisAce says:

    So rather than the RCIP conducting its investigations in the proper way, we have documents being leaked which continuously show the Premier in a very negative light.  This cannot and must not continue.  

    It is funny how CNS decides that they will try this case in the media and allow persons to post their comments on what is happening, but decide to withhold commentary from other legal proceedings, including serious crimes like murder, rape etc. 

    And yet they would have us think that they are being objective.  The RCIPs needs to either make an arrest in this situation or they need to address the issue.   We cannot allow a situation like this to be spiralling out of control.  We are not talking about some johnny come lately here.  We are talking about the country's representative.  The Premier.  This is the person that represents the Cayman Islands on the world stage.  It is either he has committed an offence and therefore deserves his day in court or there is nothing in the rumours swirling around.  This has got to stop. 

    And before anyone starts bashing me, remember that I am an expat and my only interest in this situation is not to have this country become another Turks & Caicos. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The latest documents that were leaked were apparently leaked by the Premier as he gave his exclusive ‘tell all’ to the Compass. Apparently he thought that they portrayed him in a positive light. The Compass’ coverage has sought to spin this by omitting details which would allow a time line to be drawn because of the clear implications. All that CNS has added are documents and information of public record which have been obtained from FOI or the Hansards of the LA.

      I notice that you did not make a similar complaint about leaks on caycompass doubtless because they were portraying the matter in a positive light. Your comments here have the stench of hypocrisy.

      As for you being an expat this does not mean that you have no bias. I gather from the comments that you hail from a certain neighboring country whose nationals believe that their best interest lies in supporting Mr. Bush at all costs to this country.

    • Anonymous says:

      No legal proceedings have begun in this case.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rumors swirling around? You sound like McKeeva. We are looking at evidence not rumors. He will get his day in court but not before time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that CNS may not be the most objective source, however we are looking at the evidence, and trust me…, IT DONT LOOK GOOD FOR MAC.

    • JoeB says:

      Turks and Caicos is back on its feet and has a future to look forward to.  Cayman is till failing and picking up speed as she sinks.  All thats left is the inevitable fall from grace,  the blame game(that should be a hoot) and the long repayment plan.  You should be glad that Turks and Caicos willnot be another Grand Cayman or did you lose something in T&C?

      • Anonymous says:

        I am not the original poster but that is garbage. Try telling the TCI Islandsers that TCI is back on its feet. They have lost their democracy, trial by jury has been suspended, their former leaders are undergoing corruption trials, the economy is in shambles, there is massive unemployment and their future is doubtful. We pray that what has happened in TCI does not happen here. TCI would love to be Grand Cayman.

    • Anon says:

      Other legal proceedings, including serious crimes like murder, rape etc. do not allegedly involve public servants abusing public office and the public purse….

      Perhaps that's the reason?
       

  24. Anonymous says:

    Bang ga lang ga lang ga u in trouble.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Keep it coming, CNS. The timeline and order of events is critical to understanding what went on here:

    14 May 2003 – CPA resolves to recommend the rezoning of the property

    May, 2003 – contract for sale of land signed and deposit given.

    Jan. 2004 – closing of the sale occurs.

    2 Feb. 2004 – the Ministry informs the CPA that rezoning refused. 

    17 Feb. 2004 – transfer registered with Registrar of Lands.

    Feb. 2004 – Bush meets with purchaser in Las Vegas and payment of $20,000 is received.

    21 April, 2004 – letter from Bush to Thomas confirming payment of $20,000 as good faith, demanding the payment of $355,000 and indicating that the final $375,000 required before the end of 2004

    29 July, 2004 – Cabinet reconsidered and approved rezoning

    7 Oct. 2004 – fax saying that Bush had ensured Cabinet approval of rezoning and demanding payment of $350,000. Fax time stamp indicates that faxed on 15 Oct.

    Dec. 2004 – Jan. 2005 phone calls from Bush to Wight demanding payment of $375,000 from Thomas.

    Feb. 2010 – first letter dated 7 Oct. 2004 discovered in court bundle and referred to the Governor and then the police for investigation.  

    July, 2011 – Governor announces that there is a police investigation into the letter of 7 Oct. 2004. 

    May, 2012 – Bush makes public a letter dated 7 Oct. 2004 saying that the $350,000 was not in respect of rezoning, in which Windsor was not involved, but for unspecified consultancy work done and advice given after rezoning. No fax time stamp. Bush says both letters dated 7 Oct. 2004 were faxed on the same date but does not explain discrepancy with fax time stamp showing 15 Oct. for the first letter.

    Questions:

    Was the original application to Cabinet in fact refused by Cabinet (rather than deferred, for example) and if so on what grounds?

    What caused Cabinet to reconsider and view the application favourably and grant the application in July, 2004?   

     

    • Anonymous says:

      My limited knowledge regarding the CPA is once an application has been refused the only way to have it looked at again is for a new application to be filed including new fees to be paid and new notices to be sent out. Thefore if cabinet refused the application i would have thought it would need to be applied for agin in order for the Cabinet to reconsider the application

    • Anonymous says:

      Judging by the thumbs it seems two people don't like the salient facts to be laid out or pertinent questions to be asked. 

    • BORN FREE says:

      Why is there no evidence of the second letter not being faxed at all? Could it be that that letter has just recently been written? Parchment says he does not know the reasons for the discrepencies in the dates in which he faxed the two letters, yet he does not explain why it appears that the second letter was in fact NOT faxed at all. He needs to explain this, or prove that it was sent.

      • Anonymous says:

        The 'first' letter appears to come from the fax recipient (possibly Thomas or his crew). The 'second' letter, which has just made the public scene, appears to come from the fax sender (Mac and his crew), and would not have a fax date stamp on it. The way to confirm the second letter is to check the fax communications logs (both sender's and receiver's) and or to query Thomas if he can provide a copy of the 'second' letter to substantiate claims that it was ONLY for consultancy services. While you're at it, prob ask for a copy of the consultancy contract – I mean, it is a lot of money that's changing hands.

        • Anonymous says:

          True, the 'second' letter would not have a time stamp on it but by the same token it should be an original which should be presented to the police so that forensics can determine whether it is of recent origin or indeed was generated in 2004. My bet is that no original will be available. Likewise the original of the 'first' letter should be produced so that forensics can determine whether it was signed digitally.   

        • Anonymous says:

          Most fax machines have a confirmation stamp that shows whether or not the fax was sent successfully or not – it is usually printed out automatically by the machine after the fax goes through, so that the sender can tell whether or not it went through or if he has to send it again if there had been an error in transmission.   So yes, certainly check the fax logs / phone records, but also ask the sender to produce the confirmation from the fax machine that it did go through – both should match i.e. the details from the fax confirmation and the details from the fax logs should match and confirm it was indeed sent on such and such a date – that is also another way of checking whether this fax had been sent or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      I knew it! The FCO, RCIPS and other secret forces used their vast technological powers to alter fax machine dates! This is not mere coincidence folks, just part of the ongoing conspiracy to discredit the Premier. 

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean the FCO, RCIPS and Richard Parchment are out to discredit the Premier.

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      Does anybody REALLY believe that the demand letter which Bush has stated he instructed Parchment to send to Thomas was actually composed by Parchment. Apart from the implicit. ” personal ” tone of various aspects of the letter, how much of a coincidence can it be that the script of Parchment’s fax to Thomas, and the original Invoice/Statement sent by Bush to Thomas BOTH begin with the word ” PER “. Is that ODD, or is it ODD ??

    • Anonymous says:

      To 11:42 Thanks for laying the facts out so clear. Is the jury in yet?

  26. It wasnt mac says:

    But she caught me on the counter (It wasn't me)
    Saw me bangin' on the sofa (It wasn't me)
    I even had her in the shower (It wasn't me)
    She even caught me on camera (It wasn't me)

    She saw the marks on my shoulder (It wasn't me)
    Heard the words that I told her (It wasn't me)
    Heard the scream get louder (It wasn't me)
    She stayed until it was over

  27. Anonymous says:

    "…but I didn't inhale."

  28. Anonymous says:

    The time line reported here XXXXX

     

    I hope that this issue makes it to court soon so that Mr. Bush is found

     – guilty

     – not guilt, or

    – not proven.

    One way or another, the air should be cleared so the country's government can get back to real work.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      If McKeeva would just step aside the country could back to real work but none of his puppets will dare to suggest that he step down…….what a hot mess !!!

      Chuckster come take um down for us once more and lets remove them from politics once and for all !!!!

    • jsftbhaedrg says:

      Is finger pointing real work?

    • Anon says:

      Did it ever do any real work?