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Millennium Bank’s sister company feels backlash

Millennium Bank’s sister company feels backlash


Former workers of Tommy and Nelson Legacy Place, sister company of the embattled Millennium Bank, spent the last weekend and the earlier part of this week angry and frustrated.{{more}}

Approximately 140 of the company’s employees, including laundry workers, bartenders, maids, waiters, construction workers, and security officers, spent their last day on the job on Friday, March 27, 2009, following a move by this country’s International Financial Services Authority (IFSA) that placed Millennium Bank Inc under receivership.

According to a release from the IFSA, Kris Beighton of KPMG, Cayman Islands, and Charles Thresh of KPMG Advisory Limited have been appointed as joint receivers of the Bank.

The Authority is presently assisting the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its investigation into the St. Vincent and the Grenadines registered offshore Bank, after the SEC alleged that the bank deceived targeted US investors in a US$68 million fraud scheme. The bank is owned by William J. Wise.

On Thursday, March 26, 2009, when workers at Tommy and Nelson Legacy Place, a resort at Ratho Mill, received their pay cheques, little did they know that their employer’s account at the National Commercial Bank (NCB) for that business, as well as those of several other related businesses in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, had been frozen.

They were thrown into a state of shock when tellers at the NCB requested that they return the cheques to the person(s) who had issued them, because the account was frozen.

However, Brian Glasgow, local partner of KPMG Eastern Caribbean, told SEARCHLIGHT: “Nobody from KPMG had jurisdiction over that (Tommy and Nelson Legacy Place). We did not have direct jurisdiction over that property.” Glasgow explained that he suspected the Bank (NCB) had reacted to the US Freezing Order to freeze all assets associated with the defendants.

Irate that the possibility existed that they may not be paid for their month’s work, or for any other entitlements, it is alleged that some employees stormed the premises on Saturday, March 28, 2009, and looted the property of several expensive pieces of furniture.

On Monday, March 30, 2009, it is claimed that a loaded truck was just about the leave the Ratho Mill property when members of the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force who were dispatched to the resort arrived on the scene and were able to stop it.

When Searchlight visited the Ratho Mill Property, it was being secured by Premium Security Firm headed by Adolphus ‘Famo’ Adams, who said he was called in on Monday by the Hadley family, from whom Wise had leased the land.

According to Adams, two other security firms who were at the property before were asked to give way to Premium Security Firm, which was successful in retrieving a significant quantity of the items such as beds, mirrors, tables, mattresses and chair sets which had been removed from the resort and which were hidden in nearby bushes.

Adams said his security team also had to deal with persons who came with trucks as late as Tuesday night to continue the looting. Up to press time, Premium Security Firm and the Special Services Unit were stationed at the property.

A group of security officers who had worked with the Tommy and Nelson Legacy Place visited SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday afternoon, having spent most of the morning outside the Bedford Street branch of the NCB awaiting word on their money.

When questioned about the looting, they were adamant that they did not engage in such activity.

They, however, were naturally concerned about receiving their wages. Their salaries range between EC$1,500 to EC$2,000 a month.

The workers received the good news on Wednesday that they could return to the NCB to cash their cheques.

“We are happy that we were able to receive a month’s pay, since some of us live from one pay cheque to the next. We will, however, be going to the Labour Department to find out about our severance,” said a security officer who called SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday to inform us that the workers were at the Bank receiving their money.

The security officer said while they feel a bit better, some of them are upset that they left other jobs for this one that has not worked out.