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NIBBS SHOWS, SAYS HE CAN'T TALK

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June 11, 2001 – After weeks of allegations, correspondence, a canceled hearing and questions as to whether he would show up, former Senate Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee researcher Alphonse Nibbs appeared before the panel Monday night.
However, his two minutes of testimony shed little light on the allegations of corruption in V.I. housing agencies he had made in recent weeks.
Nibbs has claimed corruption in V.I. housing agencies is widespread and that indictments of high-level housing officials will soon be handed down by federal agents. He told The Avis that his life was being threatened because of his statements. And he stated in a June 7 letter to committee chair Celestino White that he had sent a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull on April 17 about the alleged corruption but never received a reply.
Before Nibbs arrived, roughly 30 minutes after the hearing started, White chastised Nibbs for not having appeared at the previously scheduled hearing.
Nibbs had been subpoenaed to appear before the committee on May 21 but did not show up. He had stated beforehand that he had been subpoenaed earlier to appear in court in Louisiana at that time.
Ten minutes after Monday's meeting started, White had the chief of security at the Legislature search the building to determine whether Nibbs was on the premises. White then lashed out at Sen. Lorraine Berry, stating she was a "second accuser" and was "representing" Nibbs in forwarding his accusations against housing officials with no evidence.
As White continued to speak, Nibbs and his attorney quietly walked into the chambers and sat in the audience.
When called to testify, Nibbs said "boxes" of documents that could implicate housing officials and other government employees have been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Fraud and Corruption Task Force.
He declined to discuss any details of corruption, citing a pending investigation by federal authorities. "I am legally constrained from answering anything written or otherwise," he said, adding that it was his "legal right" not to answer to the committee.
White then excused Nibbs and his attorney. "Sir, I thank you for coming to the hearing before Housing. It is your right legal or otherwise," White said. He said he dismissed Nibbs and his attorney "because we met to discuss corruption and instead we got 'What are you talking about?'"
Nibbs and attorney Lauren Caffee of A.J. Weiss and Associates immediately left. Later, after Berry raised a point of order to respond to comments made by White on the issue but was not allowed to speak, White declared the issue dead.
"This is no court; this matter is finished. Don't you understand that?" White told Berry. Nibbs, he said, "had the whistle and he failed to blow it."

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