March 22, 2003 – Attorneys representing the V.I. government and Southland Gaming Corp. say a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit over Southland's right to sell and install video lottery terminals.
The settlement was arranged Thursday night in the office of Attorney General Iver Stridiron. Judge Ive Swan, the judge who was scheduled to preside over a bench trial in the case on Monday, oversaw the settlement proceeding.
Attorney Arturo Watlington filed suit on behalf of Southland after Stridiron and Government House officials ordered the director of the V.I. Lottery to stop granting permits allowing installation of the electronic gaming machines. Southland claimed it had a valid contract, and government officials were largely mum until Swan, during a pre-trial hearing, ordered Gov. Charles Turnbull, his legal counsel Paul Gimenez and confidential assistant Horace Brooks to submit depositions about their knowledge of any agreement.
Lottery Director Austin Andrews did, however, submit a statement to the court, saying Gimenez and Brooks directed him "not to do anything else with Southland Gaming, for various reasons."
At the time the suit was filed Southland had already installed 36 VLT terminals in three locations on St. Thomas and was in the process of putting 100 machines into the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort.
Swan said he had "bent over backwards" to gain the governor's deposition without forcing him to come to court. He warned at the Thursday hearing that failure to submit the statements could result in penalties and possibly jail.
The government claimed Southland's contract was invalid, but at the hearing Watlington produced a second, fully executed contract, missing only a date.
The settlement was reached later in the day. The governor did not submit a deposition. An official at Government House said Gimenez was off-island. There was no word about any actions taken by Brooks to comply with the judge's order.
Neither Watlington nor Stridiron offered comment on the terms of the agreement.
"The only thing we could tell you is there has been a settlement agreement and the case has been dismissed, but we are not at liberty to disclose the terms of the agreement," Stridiron said.

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