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HomeNewsArchivesV.I. Supreme Court Rejects Prosser Appeal

V.I. Supreme Court Rejects Prosser Appeal

The V.I. Supreme Court this week rejected former Innovative telephone and cable owner Jeffrey Prosser’s appeal of the V.I. Public Services Commission’s decision to allow Prosser’s biggest creditor to purchase his former companies, leaving in place the transfer of control finalized a year and a half ago.

The opinion, written by Associate Justice Maria Cabret, upholds the V.I. Superior Court decision a year and a half ago, which itself upheld the PSC’s original ruling.

Among other angles, Prosser argued V.I. Superior Court erred in upholding the PSC because:

– the transfer of control agreement freezes rates for four years, which Prosser argued violates laws against setting the rate without hearings and against private rate negotiations;

– purchaser National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) did not provide enough proof it would bring the pensions up to date on schedule;

– the PSC’s decision was made based upon misinformation from CFC;

– the PSC and its hearing examiner failed to consider letters Prosser wrote to the PSC;

– the wrong individual signed the transfer of control request, invalidating the transfer.

Cabret said most of Prosser’s arguments were not "properly preserved for review” because V.I. law explicitly limits consideration of appeals of PSC decisions to issues that were raised in the original petition to have the PSC reconsider its ruling.

After applying that razor, the only issues left to consider are whether the wrong individual signed the transfer request, and whether the PSC improperly refused to consider Prosser’s personal letters, Cabret said.

Regardless of who signed the initial document, the PSC had legal authority to decide on the transfer of control, and a technical error on a document is not sufficient cause to reverse the actions of the PSC, Cabret wrote, affirming the earlier Superior Court decision.

On the last issue left, Cabret wrote that Prosser’s argument the PSC issued arbitrary findings of fact by failing to consider Prosser’s personal letters "is based on a flawed premise, because the record indicates that the PSC did, explicitly, consider those letters."

She also pointed out the PSC held public hearings on the transfer, publicly announced it was accepting written comments and allowed public comment, but Prosser declined to participate.

"The Appellants did not provide written comments in advance of the hearings, nor did they appear at the hearings and give live testimony voicing any concern about the transfer of control proceedings," Cabret wrote.

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