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Donastorg: V.I. Government Must Monitor ICC Bankruptcy

Aug. 2, 2006 – Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg said Wednesday he was very concerned about the fate of Innovative Communication Corporation employees in light of the company's recent bankruptcy filing.
Additionally, ICC owner Jeffery Prosser has filed personal bankruptcy.
"I have had major concerns with this company's business practices for years now," Donastorg said. "But I have always supported the employees – most of whom have also been negatively affected by the illegal and unethical maneuverings of its upper management."
Donastorg said that he addressed the issue of ICC's failure to adequately fund its employee pensions some time ago.
"I am deeply concerned about those employees that have worked with this company for decades," he said. "Regulated utilities should offer secure employment, but it has been many years since ICC was truly regulated. I am calling on the Public Services Commission to take whatever steps necessary to protect ICC employees and telephone rate payers."
Donastorg said the company has suffered financially because it drained so many resources from its local enterprises. ICC previously purchased utilities in both St. Maarten and Belize.
"The phone company was very profitable and it became outlandishly profitable following the first tax breaks," he said. "Mr. Prosser paid himself multi-million dollar bonuses just in advisory fees. Profits tripled as a result of these tax breaks."
Funds from the telephone company were raided in order to purchase the Virgin Islands Daily News.
"This misguided attempt to control public opinion further drained the resources of the telephone company," Donastorg said. "We have been subsidizing the operations of the Daily News when we pay our monthly telephone bills. The PSC should never have allowed this."
Donastorg said that lax regulation of the phone company allowed for its instability.
"The jobs and the future security of hundreds of Virgin Islanders are now in jeopardy as a result of our Government's failure to regulate VITELCO and ICC," he said. "The PSC could have stopped the drain of funds from the phone and cable companies. We have also had major lapses by the Department of Labor when it comes to ICC."
Donastorg, who is running alongside Dr. Cora Christian in this year's gubernatorial race, said that as governor he would immediately work for true reform at the PSC.
"Those that are benefiting from the lax regulation and the corruption are deeply concerned about the possibility of me being in Government House," he said. "You can bet that a large degree of support from ICC will go to any candidate that opposes me, but I am running to protect the public interest and not special interest."

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