Feb. 2, 2007 — According to one of Jeffrey Prosser's lawyers, his two French island companies have been sold for $70 million, as part of Prosser's efforts to cope with bankruptcy.
Prosser is sole owner of Innovative Communications Corp. (ICC), the parent company to the Virgin Islands telephone company, also known as Vitelco.
The announcement was made Jan. 30 during a telephonic hearing before a U.S. Bankruptcy judge, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Scott C. Shelley, of the New York law firm, Shearman & Sterling, delivered the news.
More precisely this was Shelley's statement regarding the "exclusive providers" of cable TV service in Martinique and Guadalupe:
"The debtors are pleased to report that ITC [a French firm not further identified] has signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale of 100 percent of the stock of those two cable companies the transaction is scheduled to close by the end of March 2007."
The value of these "down-island assets" had been estimated at about $100 million by the Prosser forces in the same courtroom earlier in the month.
The attorney's announcement is the most solid indication to date of Prosser finding a buyer for one or more of his properties.
None of the lawyers representing Prosser's creditors would comment on the reported sale. Those creditors are the Greenlight Companies, the former minority stockholders in a predecessor company to ICC, and Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative, a financial institution in Virginia, Prosser's longtime bankers.
The $70 million could play a role, but not a major one, in meeting Prosser's debts. His lawyers argue that the total to be raised is $402 million, the amount of a settlement reached last year between Prosser and his two major creditors.
However, lawyers for the creditors contend that the actual amount owed is about $550 million, since the settlement for $402 million is no longer binding since Prosser failed to meet a deadline for financing.
The first V.I. hearing in this long, involved and "acrimonious" court case, to quote the U.S. Justice Department, will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the Bankruptcy Court on St. Thomas. It will be before Bankruptcy Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald, who has been hearing the case in Pittsburgh and in Wilmington, Del. She is a judge who sits in all three courtrooms.
The Justice Department has argued that there are sufficient bad feelings in the case, and other complications, to warrant the appointment of a case trustee to manage the debtor's properties. Prosser has replied with a request for the appointment of a "responsible person" (from a list he has prepared) to manage the debtor's affairs.
The judge has made it clear that either of these two options would be an improvement over the current situation, in which the Prosser forces are the managers and she may make a decision on this, and perhaps other matters, during the Feb. 6 hearing.
The case, which has seen more than 400 motions, counter-motions, filings and orders so far, is now more than a year old.
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