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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


A former executive officer of Virgin Islands Telephone Corp. has sued Vitelco, Innovative Communication Corp., ICC owner Jeffrey Prosser and ICC officers Thomas Minnich and Philip van Meter, alleging racial discrimination.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on St. Croix by Delbert Hewitt, also alleges violation of federal and territorial civil rights and violation of conditions of Industrial Development Commission benefits, among other charges, according to a report in the V.I. Independent.
According to court documents, Hewitt, a black native Crucian who had been employed by Vitelco since 1977, was fired Jan. 31 after twice being offered a transfer to its parent company, ICC, with a promotion and a raise. His transfer was arranged last year but then was delayed as Hewitt was put in charge of Vitelco's restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Lenny, according to the records.
Hewitt, according to the suit, had held several top management positions with Vitelco and was chief operating officer at the time Prosser took sole control of the telephone company in 1997. Shortly after Prosser assumed sole ownership, Hewitt was demoted and put under the supervision of van Meter.
The suit, filed May 23 by attorney Charles Engeman of Dudley, Topper and Feuerzeig, states that on Jan. 31, Hewitt was "suddenly and summarily terminated from his employment with Vitelco," and that the ICC transfer offer was withdrawn. The suit further says that Hewitt was replaced with a "young white statesider," Tod Bolinger. Hewitt subsequently turned down two severance package offers, according to the Independent account.
ICC spokesman Holland Redfield was reported to be off-island and not available for comment.

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