Gov. Kenneth Mapp disapproved the application of the Carambola Golf Club for an extension and modification of economic development benefits, according to a statement from Government House on Thursday, citing a lack of past or present compliance with the terms of the tax breaks.
“The application submitted to me for review recommending approval does not include information necessary for me to act favorably on the application to award an extension and modification of benefits," Mapp said in his response to the Economic Development Authority board. "The application submitted revealed that as part of their renewal application Carambola Golf requested that its original commitment to maintain employment for 39 employees be reduced to 18 employees; that there be a cut back in their requirement to pay for health insurance; and that all compliance issues be waived,” he said.
“Throughout the entire time of Carambola Golf’s benefit period, they remained noncompliant in several areas: employment, charitable contributions and health insurance. Additionally the EDC acknowledges that Carambola Golf grossly overstated their projections. For instance, Carambola Golf projected that it would have direct expenditures of $11.1 million. The actual direct expenditure was $4.9 million. Carambola Golf projected $26.5 million in indirect and induced outputs. The actual amount was $12 million,” Mapp said.
Mapp said economic development benefits should only be granted when it is necessary to attract major investments, create jobs and spur opportunity for business creation. And beneficiaries seeking extensions must exhibit that they have contributed to the growth of the Economic Development Commission program and more specifically to the territory’s economy, he continued.
“If the EDC had granted a reduced amount of benefits and term, I may have acted differently. For these reasons, I do not approve or endorse the grant of extended or modified economic development benefits to Carambola Golf Club LLC at this time,” Mapp said.
Carambola Golf Club is separate from the neighboring and affiliated Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort.