Feb. 11, 2003 – After several years of wrangling, the V.I. Real Estate Commission agreed on Tuesday in a Territorial Court settlement to apologize to St. Croix businessman Carl Gotts for improperly issuing a cease-and-desist order against his company Vacation St. Croix.
"We were fighting for our reputation, which is priceless," Gotts said.
In the settlement, the Real Estate Commission agreed to write a letter of apology to Gotts for "improperly issuing a cease-and-desist order against your company, Vacation St. Croix, in May 2000." and stating that "We regret any inconvenience, difficulty or disruption that this action caused you, your company and your employees."
No money was involved in the settlement.
The case began when the Real Estate Commission issued the order against Vacation St. Croix, an action which Gotts said caused the company to lose money. The order alleged that Gotts did not hold the real estate license required to operate a villa management company. But Gotts said he'd had a real estate broker's license for more than a year before the cease-and-desist order was issued. His wife, Marti, a co-owner of Vacation St. Croix, did not have such a license.
The commission removed the order on Nov. 19, 2001, with no explanation.
Gotts said the Real Estate Commission told vacation villa owners that Vacation St. Croix was under investigation. "They called homeowners and said I was operating illegally," he said.
According to Gotts, he was targeted because he refused to operate Vacation St. Croix under the shingle of a certain St. Croix real estate company, which would have taken a piece of the financial pie. He did not want to disclose the name of the company.
He said he filed the suit in Territorial Court in an effort to ensure that he not be hit with any further attempts to curtail his business.
He said he believes the commission settled because its members did not want to answer questions about their actions regarding the cease-and-desist order.
Repeated efforts to reach the commission chair, Fred Vialet Jr., on Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
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