The Turnbull administration has a week to respond to claims that it is violating the territorys competitive bidding laws in its negotiations to sell the V.I. Water and Power Authority. Otherwise St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn will take it to court.
Rohn, who is representing St. Croix community activist Gail Watson Chiang, wrote to the Turnbull administration, including Attorney General Iver Stridiron, on Jan. 5 warning that its negotiations with Southern Energy Inc. violate local competitive bidding laws. Rohn said the V.I. Code mandates that before a public asset is sold or a government contract is let, competitive bidding must take place.
So far Southern Energy is the only company the government has negotiated with in regard to selling WAPA. Reports are that the company would pay approximately $100 million for 80 percent of the utility.
"The law doesnt allow them to have an exclusivity agreement," Rohn said, adding that as of Friday she hadnt received a response to her letter from Gov. Charles Turnbull. "If I dont hear from the governor by Jan. 28, I will file a suit."
Stridiron said that although he hasnt received a request from Turnbull to look into Rohns allegations, he has assigned the Justice Departments solicitor general to study the matter in case the governor does.
Stridiron added that his office will only respond to the allegations if the governor asks it to.
"At this juncture, I cant tell you if what Lee Rohn is saying has any basis in the law or fact," Stridiron said.