Home News Local news Source Request for Vitelco Financials to Be Considered at Next PSC Meeting

Source Request for Vitelco Financials to Be Considered at Next PSC Meeting


Dec. 15, 2006 — Public Services Commission board members said they were "inclined to deny" separate requests made by the Source and attorney Maria Tankenson Hodge to postpone discussion on issues placed on Friday's PSC agenda.
At the end of the meeting, the board decided to deny Hodge's request and placed the Source's request for the V.I. Telephone Co.'s (Vitelco) financials on the agenda for the PSC's "next scheduled meeting."
In October, Hodge filed a motion on behalf of a concerned client requesting that the commission subpoena PSC chairwoman Alecia Wells and PSC legal counsel Jeffery Moorhead to address the controversy surrounding a secret agreement between the commission and Innovative Communication Corp. (See "Attorney Asks PSC to Subpoena Key Players in ICC Bankruptcy Agreement as Signed Letter Comes to Light").
Since Hodge was unable to attend Friday's meeting, which was held on St. Croix, she asked the commission to pick up the issue at a later date. However, PSC Vice Chairman Raymond L. Williams said he took "offense" to Hodge's request, since it precludes Wells and Moorhead from participating in the discussion.
"I see this as an insult, and I object that the chairwoman and counsel would not be able to participate, since they are among the people for whom the subpoenas are sought," Williams said. "It is out of place to want to separate any member of this commission for any intent and purpose."
Wells said she also wanted to put her comments on the record. "I think she [Hodge] is damn forward," she said.
Wells and Williams voted in favor of denying Hodge's request for a continuation, along with board members Joseph Boschulte, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Sirri Hamad and M. Thomas Jackson. The board then denied Hodge's original request for the subpoena.
However, Williams' suggestion to deny a similar request made by Shaun Pennington, the Source's publisher, was met with opposition from both Boschulte and Cole.
In a letter to the PSC, Pennington, whose mother died in December, asked that the board postpone discussion on the release of Vitelco's financials. Williams, however, did not think that was a valid reason.
"I'm still saying that there's business before us that has to be dealt with," he said. "I mean, there are different levels of sympathy, and I think what is prudent is the order of the day. We haven't had telecommunications issues heard in seven or eight months. If we set a precedent like this, we set ourselves up for real problems in the future."
Commission members decided to vote separately on the two requests and approved moving the Source's petition for Vitelco's financials to the next PSC agenda.
Williams voted against the motion, while Wells abstained.
When contacted Friday evening, Pennington said, "This issue has been tabled for over a year. Given the fact of the hardship involved, under normal circumstances, for me to leave my business to attend a meeting on St. Croix, I am very surprised by Mr. Williams' attitude. However, it's even more perplexing, since I am dealing with some serious personal issues at this point."
Pennington went on to say, " In fact, a couple of years ago, I went through the time and expense of having to travel to St. Croix to have this matter heard, only to find when I got there that our request for Vitelco's financials had been removed without any prior notification. It's obvious they [the PSC] are trying to push through this issue before the changing of the guard on Jan. 1."
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