Home News Local news HANSEN LAND SWAP SUIT TO STAY IN TERRITORIAL COURT

HANSEN LAND SWAP SUIT TO STAY IN TERRITORIAL COURT

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The V.I. attorney general’s request to have a federal judge hear Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen’s lawsuit against the V.I. government-Beal Aerospace land exchange was denied Thursday.
In his decision to deny Attorney General Iver Stridiron’s motion, Judge Raymond Finch said District Court didn’t have jurisdiction in the matter.
On Oct. 8, Territorial Court Judge Alphonso Andrews granted Hansen’s request for a temporary restraining order against the land swap, which had been approved by the V.I. Legislature three days earlier. Andrews ruled Gov. Charles Turnbull violated the public trust when he sent the land exchange agreement to the Senate for approval.
Following Andrews’ decision, Stridiron moved that the case be heard in District Court and the temporary restraining order stayed. Stridiron said a majority of the issues pertained to federal laws and therefore the case should have been heard in District Court.
Hansen said Finch’s decision was "good news" and that she and the 19 other plaintiffs in the suit are, so far, winning the legal battle.
"We won round one and two." The first round was the TRO, she said, and "the second was the one on Thursday."
On Oct. 5, the Legislature approved the land swap so that Texas-based Beal could acquire 14.5 acres of land, once the home of the Camp Arawak youth camp, for a portion of a parking lot. The lot will accompany Beal’s proposed $57-million world headquarters and rocket assembly plant near Great Pond Bay. In exchange for the Camp Arawak land, the government would receive acreage owned by Beal in Estates Whim and Grange Hill.
Opponents of the swap contend that the Camp Arawak land was deeded to the people of the territory to be developed into a park and therefore cannot be traded away.
Andrews had scheduled a hearing for Oct. 21 on whether to grant Hansen a preliminary injunction. He also had extended the temporary restraining order to Oct. 28. As of Thursday, Territorial Court offices were closed and the hearing had not been rescheduled
Hansen’s attorney, Ned Jacobs, who lives adjacent to Camp Arawak, said the hearing may be rescheduled for next week.

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