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PRICEY KRIGGER CONTRACT SURPRISES SENATORS

Aug. 24, 2001 – Under questioning by Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen at a Finance Committee hearing Thursday, the Public Finance Authority director, Amadeo Francis, provided details about the PFA's recent acquisition of the King's Alley Hotel and shopping complex on St. Croix, including one fact which stuck in the craw of the senators.
Francis disclosed that a contract to oversee the King's Alley project had been awarded to Rudolph Krigger Sr., with compensation set at $100 an hour. Krigger was Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's fiscal policy and economic affairs officer until he retired earlier this year. Turnbull, by virtue of his office, chairs the PFA board.
Hansen and her St. Croix colleague Sen. Emmett Hansen II expressed surprise at hearing of Krigger's contract. Both asked why it had not gone to a St. Croix firm. "Why do you want a St. Thomas overseer?" Emmett Hansen asked, adding with a laugh, "Why, he can't even see St. Croix from here."
Sen. Norma Pickard-Samuel supplied her answer. "He got the job because he is a political crony of Turnbull's; that's obvious." She demanded to know how much Krigger had been paid to date. Francis said he has not yet received a bill from Krigger.
Francis said that at its meeting last week, the PFA board discussed the fact that there was some opposition to the hiring of Krigger.
The PFA foreclosed on the King's Alley lease held by Development Consultants Inc. after the company failed to meet its financial obligations, including a $2.2 million loan from the Bank of Nova Scotia. The PFA had provided financing for the King's Alley properties, which include the 23-room hotel and 16 shops and restaurants.
The authority formed a new holding company, King's Alley Management Inc., to complete the renovation of the property on the Christiansted waterfront. The PFA hopes to unload the property and recoup the $4.6 million it has invested in financial guarantees, Francis said.
Francis had tried to interest the West Indian Co. in taking over management of the property until it could be sold. However, he told the senators on Thursday that WICO had decided that managing the property wasn't in its best interests.
Alicia Hansen asked how much the PFA paid Scotiabank to buy out its interest. Francis declined to provide a figure, saying the answer to the question could have a detrimental effect on current negotiations over the property. Hansen asked for substantiating documents within 30 days.

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