Home News Local news Judge Rules Against Prosser and PSC

Judge Rules Against Prosser and PSC


Jan. 15, 2007 — U.S. Federal District Court Judge Curtis Gomez has ruled against Jeffrey Prosser, owner of Innovative Communications Corp., in the continuing bankruptcy trials of Prosser and his companies.
In the same procedural ruling, the judge also rejected an attempt by the V.I. Public Services Commission to support Prosser.
There is a certain irony to the thrust of the ruling, as Prosser's numerous adversaries have tried for more than a year to keep Prosser's case away from Gomez.
The issue, decided by Gomez Jan. 12, dealt with whether the bankruptcy cases should be pulled out of the federal Bankruptcy Court and placed in Gomez' own courtroom. No, the judge said, they should stay exactly where they are at the moment, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The judge cited the bankruptcy law as he gave four reasons for supporting the unusual action of shifting courts, as Prosser and the PSC had asked. His response was:
"Neither the debtors [i.e. Prosser and companies] nor the PSC … have sufficiently shown that withdrawal of the reference to the V.I. Bankruptcy Court would [1] promote uniformity in bankruptcy administration, [2] reduce forum shopping, [3] foster the economic use of the debtors' and the creditors' resources, or [4] expedite the bankruptcy process."
The judge went on to note that though the debtors and the PSC had argued it would be better to hold the hearings in the U.S. Virgin Islands, they had never asked the Bankruptcy Court to have the hearings in the islands. He went on to note that a major hearing was scheduled to take place in the St. Thomas Bankruptcy Court on February 5.
Innovative Communications Corp. is a corporate parent of Vitelco, the territory's phone company.
The cases are being heard by Judith K. Fitzgerald, a U.S. bankruptcy judge based in Pittsburgh, who also sits in Delaware — where some of the cases were filed originally — and in the Virgin Islands.
The judge has scheduled a hearing on a set of issues raised by the parties for her courtroom in Pittsburgh on Jan. 19, in addition to the Feb. 5 hearing in the islands.
Fitzgerald had ruled earlier that the proper venue for the trial was in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Thomas, but this ruling did not mean that the hearings had to take place in the islands. The ruling does mean, however, that appeals from her decisions, if any, would go to the federal courts in the territory, and not in Delaware.
The case is a long, complicated and often hotly controversial one. The length was illustrated by the fact that Gomez' order was document number 342 in the case, according to the court systems' electronic data system, PACER.
The full text of all court documents, save those marked secret by the Court at Prosser's request, can be accessed on home computers via PACER, which stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. PACER requires users to sign up for the service and pay a small fee. To access PACER, click here.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here