The Virgin Islands government is gathering evidence for a planned lawsuit against Washington DC attorney Lester Hyman for his involvement in the failed BVI Airways venture. Though Mr. Hyman told government’s lawyers last year that he recalled receiving $500 from the airline, he now admits to receiving a $100,000 finder’s fee with the promise of $100,000 more upon the successful launch of the airline — both of which he says he previously forgot to mention. (Photo: BVI AIRWAYS FACEBOOK PAGE)

Shortly after government hired a law firm to recover $7.2 million in taxpayer money paid to the now-defunct BVI Airways, Washington DC attorney Lester Hyman told an investigator in July 2019 that he recalled receiving about $500 from the airline for helping broker an ill-fated deal to provide direct flights between Beef Island and Miami.

Now Mr. Hyman has changed his story.

In documents recently filed in a DC court, the 88-year-old admitted that he received at least $102,500 and promises of an additional $100,000 from BVI Airways that he previously forgot to mention.

The payments are a key piece of an ongoing legal battle between government and Mr. Hyman, who served as the territory’s United States legal counsel for about three decades until government terminated the relationship as the BVI Airways deal soured in 2017.

Attorneys hired by government — who are gathering evidence for a planned lawsuit against Mr. Hyman — claim that his shifting story is evidence of an unethical conflict of interest: While representing the VI, they say, he improperly took secret payments from the airline and acted as the company’s lawyer at times.

Mr. Hyman says he did nothing wrong: He claims that he never hid the payments from government or otherwise acted unethically, and that the 2019 misstatement was nothing more than an octogenarian’s memory lapse.

“Rather than acting as legal counsel for either party, as both the BVI government and BVI Airways understood, in facilitating the dialogue between the [two entities] Mr. Hyman was simply acting as an honest broker between the parties,” Mr. Hyman’s attorney, Barry Pollack, wrote in a March letter included in recent court filings.

The claims were included in documents filed Aug. 21 in the United States District Court for Washington DC by Martin Kenney & Co. Solicitors, the Virgin Islands-based fraud and asset recovery firm government hired to probe the BVI Airways matter.

MKS attorneys are using Mr. Hyman’s own words as evidence in their latest request to subpoena more information about his finances as they work to build a civil case against him.

“Mr. Hyman has demonstrated that he cannot get his story straight,” an MKS attorney wrote in a May 31 letter included in the recent filing.

Moreover, the firm claimed, its investigation has uncovered evidence of other illegal behaviour from Mr. Hyman’s tenure as the government’s US counsel, during much of which he was paid an annual retainer of $100,000.

“It is abundantly clear that the BVI Airways matter was not the first time that [he] has been double dealing and unlawfully profiting while acting as the BVI [government’s] lawyer,” the firm stated.

Proposal’s origins

The BVI Airways proposal originated in late 2013 when Mr. Hyman introduced then-Premier Dr. Orlando Smith to a DC-based real estate developer named Bruce Bradley, according to the Aug. 21 filing.

During these early meetings, Mr. Bradley — the owner of the DC-based real estate investment firm Castleton Holdings LLC, which dissolved in September 2019 — sought support and financing for the BVI Airways project.

He got it. At Mr. Hyman’s urging, the government agreed to pursue the proposal in spite of warnings from experts about the risky nature of the investment, and an agreement was signed in December 2015.

But after receiving $7.2 million from government, the airline failed to launch a commercial air service by its October 2016 deadline. Government terminated the contract in November 2017 amid finger-pointing and public acrimony as residents called for answers about how $7.2 million could have been spent with no flights launched.

In October 2018, Dr. Smith’s government hired MKS to probe the failed deal and attempt to recover the funds.

Payment

After MKS began its investigation, BVI Airways launched arbitration proceedings against the government in New York on June 14, 2019. As MKS mounted a defence and counterclaim on government’s behalf, it reached out to Mr. Hyman six days later and requested government’s client file for work he did on the BVI Airways matter.

But Mr. Hyman said he didn’t have one.

“Everything with which I was involved was done telephonically or in person,” Mr. Hyman wrote MKS. “Whenever I came from my home in Washington DC to the BVI, I met privately one-on-one with Premier Smith to review the situation regarding the proposed new airline.”

MKS also asked Mr. Hyman a list of other questions, including whether or not he received payments from BVI Airways or its affiliates in relation to the project.

Mr. Hyman responded on July 8, “Having become a member of the BVI Airways Board, I believe I was paid $500. (I am not sure of that amount.)”

Civil case

Sceptical of the claims in Mr. Hyman’s responses — and believing that he received more money from BVI Airways than he had disclosed — MKS and the government turned to the courts seeking hard evidence of payments he received and potential conflicts of interest.

In September 2019, the VI attorney general filed an application asking the United States District Court for DC for an order allowing government to subpoena information for a potential civil lawsuit against Mr. Hyman for his involvement in the failed deal.

Government was considering suing Mr. Hyman for alleged “fraud in equity, breach of fiduciary care and loyalty, and negligence,” according to the filing.

“The record shows that Mr. Hyman pushed his own client hard to enter into the then-proposed airline venture,” the government stated in its 259-page pre-action discovery application for judicial assistance. “In doing so, he put his client into harm’s way. The available evidence suggests that Mr. Hyman did so because he was secretly being paid by the other side.”

The government-commissioned investigation suggested that “Mr. Hyman personally profited from the failed airline venture … to the tune of an undisclosed $10,000 director’s fee, $2,500 for each in-person meeting, and stock options,” according to the filing.

Government also noted suspicions that Mr. Hyman secretly received a $200,000 finder’s fee from the airline and may have been a director of a related company.

As part of its request, government sought the court’s help in obtaining the comprehensive client file for Mr. Hyman’s work with the VI; financial records such as payslips; documents outlining the nature of the agreement between Mr. Hyman and the VI government, and more.

Mr. Hyman’s attorney responded to the government’s initial filing on Nov. 5, 2019, denying that Mr. Hyman did anything wrong and asking the court to oppose the discovery.

“Having no ability to pursue its speculative and unfounded claims in its own courts, the [VI attorney general] has turned to this court asking it to authorise a wide-ranging and expansive fishing expedition into Mr. Hyman’s personal financial information and computers,” Mr. Pollack stated.

Ruling favours discovery

DC Judge Royce Lamberth, however, ruled largely in government’s favour.

“After the BVI [government] terminated Mr. Hyman, he attempted to recharacterise his role from that of attorney to that of ‘honest mediator,’ but he later admitted to working on both sides of the transaction,” Mr. Lamberth wrote in a May 23 decision. “The BVI [government] cites numerous emails between Mr. Hyman and the then-premier of the BVI which show that he failed to disclose important red flags about the airline investment to his client.”

Mr. Hyman, the judge decided, could be compelled to provide the client file and much of the other information requested by government and to testify under oath about his representation of the VI as its attorney and his relationship with the other partners in the BVI Airways deal.

“The BVI [government] has a right to this information, and regardless of whether Mr. Hyman failed to maintain a client file or is simply withholding it, Mr. Hyman cannot refuse to turn over information that should be in that file,” the judge wrote. “The applicant should also be able to obtain any information pertaining to Mr. Hyman’s relationship with the failed airline, as that is directly relevant to the contemplated lawsuit.”

Though the court denied other parts of the government’s request for information about Mr. Hyman’s personal finances — which it described as “overly broad” and “unduly burdensome” — it left the door open for a more narrowly tailored request for such records.

“At this time, the court believes that [government] is entitled to financial information specifically pertaining to the airline venture and the contemplated civil suit, but not to financial information extending beyond those matters,” the judge ruled. “Therefore, the applicant will need to reword its requests to ask only for information that is relevant to its contemplated lawsuit.”

Subpoena

In keeping with that ruling, Mr. Hyman was served with a subpoena on June 11 to seek the information the court allowed so far, including the client file and certain financial records.

In response, Mr. Hyman turned over hundreds of pages of emails and other documents, but MKS attorneys didn’t stop there.

Using several of the subpoenaed emails as exhibits, the firm submitted a new filing to the court on Aug. 21, narrowing down its previous request and asking for an order allowing it to subpoena more information.

In the new filing, Mr. Kenney wrote that Mr. Hyman had provided 1,154 pages of documents on a rolling basis in response to the initial subpoena, “all of which are properly considered to be part of the BVI [government’s] client file spanning 30 years and some of which are directly related to the failed airline venture, undermining his initial assertion that there was no client file and that everything ‘was done telephonically or in person.’”

Bar complaint

Besides the subpoenaed emails, MKS also filed other recent documents in support of its Aug. 21 request to the DC court.

A cornerstone of the Aug. 21 filing is a series of three letters starting with a Jan. 15 complaint the VI government filed with the Washington DC Bar through the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the DC Court of Appeals.

In the complaint, MKS attorney Markus Stadler reiterated the government’s claims against Mr. Hyman and alleged that he had violated the DC Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct, in part by accepting a payment from BVI Airways without government’s knowledge and by unethically benefitting after he helped broker the deal.

“Instead of vigorously advocating the BVI government’s interests with the parties associated with BVI Airways, Mr. Hyman browbeat BVI government officials into ultimately agreeing to unsuitable terms,” the complaint alleges.

Mr. Hyman responded to the DC Bar complaint on March 19 through his attorney, Mr. Pollack.

In his response — which was also included as an exhibit in MKS’ Aug. 21 filing — Mr. Hyman corrected his previous claim that he was paid only $500 for brokering the airline deal and admitted to accepting $102,500 from BVI Airways.

“The actual compensation for his attendance at a single [BVI Airways] board meeting was $2,500, not $500,” Mr. Pollack wrote. “Mr. Hyman did not recall that he had also been promised $200,000 in compensation, and paid $100,000.”

Mr. Pollack noted that his client is 88 years old and “his memory is simply not as accurate as it used to be.”

He added that Mr. Hyman wasn’t obligated to answer MKS’ earlier questions and “had no motive whatsoever to intentionally fail to disclose his compensation accurately.”

“Plainly, in answering these questions, he had some failures in his recollections,” Mr. Pollack wrote.

Rules broken?

He also stated that Mr. Hyman didn’t believe that accepting the $100,000 “success fee” violated the DC Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct as MKS claimed, because he “was not providing legal advice to BVI Airways with respect to its negotiations with the BVI government.”

Though the government was paying Mr. Hyman an annual $100,000 retainer for legal services at the time of the negotiations, Mr. Pollack wrote, “There is no evidence, much less clear and convincing evidence, that Mr. Hyman had an attorney-client relationship with either the BVI government or BVI Airways with respect to the airline project.”

For this reason, he added, Mr. Hyman “simply does not have a client file for the matter” even though he “has a limited number of documents related to the BVI Airways transaction.”

Moreover, he stated, the government “was fully aware that Mr. Hyman was acting as a liaison between the parties to help move the project forward.”

Mr. Hyman believed facilitating communication between Mr. Bradley and the premier was in the parties’ mutual interest, according to the lawyer.

“Not only did Mr. Hyman not violate any of the Rules of Professional Conduct, at all times Mr. Hyman operated with the utmost integrity and transparency in his communications with the BVI government,” Mr. Pollack wrote.

Bradley declaration

Mr. Pollack supplemented his response to the bar complaint with a sworn declaration from Mr. Bradley, one of the original partners in BVI Airways.

Under penalty of perjury, Mr. Bradley asserted that then-Premier Dr. Smith knew Mr. Hyman was a member of the BVI Airways board and didn’t object.

“At every step of the process, the BVI government was aware that Mr. Hyman was involved in helping the parties reach an agreement,” Mr. Bradley declared. “Mr. Hyman was simply acting as a liaison between the parties and honest broker, attempting to assist both parties move the project forward.”

He also said he didn’t view the promised $200,000 success fee as problematic.

“I believed it would be fair for Mr. Hyman to be compensated $100,000 by each BVI Airways and the BVI government, totalling $200,000 in compensation for the key role he played for both parties in this venture,” he wrote. “[Dr. Smith] agreed that it was appropriate … but was not willing to commit the BVI government to share in the arrangement.”

He added that the premier did not object to BVI Airways paying the full fee.

“Accordingly, BVI Airways, with the full knowledge of the BVI government, agreed to pay Mr. Hyman $200,000,” Mr. Bradley stated. “It made an initial payment to Mr. Hyman of $100,000, once the formal agreement was ratified, with the understanding that BVI Airways would pay the remaining $100,000 once the airline was up and running.”

MKS response

However, MKS told a very different story. In a May 31 response in the DC Bar proceeding, Mr. Stadler used Mr. Hyman’s own words in an attempt to deconstruct his account.

“The acknowledgement that Mr. Hyman received $102,500 and was promised to receive another $100,000 from an adverse party is remarkable,” Mr. Stadler wrote, adding, “Contrary to Mr. Pollack’s assertion that all of these payments were fully disclosed, … nothing could be further from the truth. This acknowledgement is the first time that the BVI government have been made aware of the specifics.”

Mr. Stadler vigorously questioned the claim that Mr. Hyman forgot about the payments.

“Representing that he was paid about $500 is not a minor, immaterial misstatement that is subject to reasonable forgetful error: It is a gross misstatement given that Mr Hyman received, at a minimum, $102,500 from a party adverse to his client,” he wrote, adding that Mr. Hyman didn’t correct the mistake until “the issue was put to him through a disciplinary complaint from the DC Bar, of which he became aware in February 2020, over seven months after he made this material misstatement.”

He added that government believes Mr. Hyman’s admission is “unbelievably yet another inaccurate” account of the total he was paid by BVI Airways.

“At a minimum, Mr. Hyman has failed to acknowledge the $10,000 and stock options that he received upon becoming a paid director of BVI Airways,” the letter alleged.

Mr. Stadler also refuted Mr. Pollack’s claim that the government didn’t have an attorney-client relationship with Mr. Hyman in respect to the airways deal. In fact, he wrote, government never had a relationship with Mr. Hyman in any other capacity. To show as much, Mr. Stadler’s letter quotes several emails. In one of them — an April 2014 message urging Dr. Smith to sign a memorandum of understanding with BVI Airways — Mr. Hyman wrote, “As US legal counsel for the BVI, I assure you that this step legally has no downside risk for the BVI whatsoever.”

In another email, from June 2017, Mr. Hyman told Dr. Smith that Mr. Bradley “knew from the beginning, and knows now, that I am involved in this project solely in my capacity as the United States legal counsel for the BVI.”

Two years later, he wrote an MKS attorney that for “many, many years” he had provided advice to the government as its US legal counsel, adding, “In that capacity, I introduced Mr. Bruce Bradley.”

Client file

Mr. Stadler also complained that Mr. Hyman had continued to violate the DC Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to provide the VI’s client file by that time.

“To this date, almost a year after MKS requested the BVI government’s client file of Mr. Hyman and Mr. Hyman provided a blatantly false reason for why it did not exist (which was likely an attempt to divert attention away from him and continue concealing his improper activity in the BVI Airways matter), Mr. Hyman still has not handed over his client file on the BVI government,” the attorney wrote.

In fact, he added, Mr. Hyman’s response itself included exhibits that belied his previous claims that he had no documentation of his correspondence with the government about BVI Airways.

“He now has turned over as part of the response a few self-selected emails, directly refuting his initial claim that there was never any written correspondence,” Mr. Stadler wrote.

Mr. Pollack’s response itself, he added, was internally contradictory.

“Likely an attempt that hopefully something sticks, Mr. Pollack’s response presents three inconsistent and mutually exclusive factual scenarios, which by definition means that at least some (I would submit that all) of the factual scenarios are being misrepresented,” he wrote. “I submit that, in doing so, Mr. Hyman has demonstrated that he cannot get his story straight.”

Response to Bradley

Mr. Stadler also took aim at Mr. Bradley’s declaration.

“The facts as admitted by Mr. Bradley under penalty of perjury are astounding,” he wrote. “I fail to see how these facts are distinguishable from a classical bribery scheme. Mr. Hyman, in the public employ as an agent of the BVI government, secretly seeking to profit beyond his official pay, at a moment where he has leverage and sufficient sway to scuttle a deal dependent on discretionary government action, either demands a ‘success fee’ from a private party trying to obtain a public contract or is offered one by the private party.”

Additionally, Mr. Stadler refuted Mr. Bradley’s account of his discussions with Dr. Smith.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the then-premier strenuously rejects Mr. Bradley’s assertions, saying that he stood in astonished silence at Mr. Bradley’s proposal [that government pay Mr. Hyman $100,000] and that Mr. Hyman would not be paid anything other than his official fixed fee as agreed to between Mr. Hyman and his client, the BVI government,” the MKS attorney wrote.

Mr. Stadler maintained that Mr. Hyman never obtained the required “informed consent” from government to accept a success fee from BVI Airways.

He concluded, “Mr. Hyman received very substantial secret payments from the other side and concealed them until compelled by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to respond to a former client’s complaint, and then began to lie about not being the BVI government’s attorney, lying about having obtained informed consent, lying about representing the BVI government free of conflict, and submitting a declaration under penalty of perjury in this disciplinary investigation with statements that he knows to be factually inaccurate.”

Emails

Besides the letters from the DC Bar battle, the Aug. 21 MKS filing also includes dozens of other emails — many of which were obtained through the subpoena — in support of the government’s claims against Mr. Hyman.

Several messages show Mr. Hyman aggressively pursuing his $200,000 success fee and pressuring the premier to move ahead with the project after Dr. Smith told him in January 2015 that Cabinet had decided against it. On April 5, 2015, Mr. Hyman sent Dr. Smith an email he had cleared in advance with BVI Airways Board Chairman Scott Weisman, promising the premier that the airline deal “would not cost government a cent,” according to MKS.

Minutes later, Mr. Hyman emailed the request along with a personal note to the premier’s wife, Lorna Smith, who promptly responded.

“Definitely and will make sure Orlando responds asap,” Ms. Smith wrote back after ten minutes. “Would be great for the BVI!”

Shortly after the National Democratic Party won re-election in June 2015, Mr. Hyman emailed Mr. Bradley about his fee, requesting assurance that he would be paid for his time working on the project before he resumed negotiations with authorities including Dr. and Ms. Smith and then-BVI Tourist Board Chairman Russell Harrigan, who is the publisher and majority owner of the Beacon. Mr. Hyman requested “written assurance that 1) I will receive only out-of-pocket expenses as I pursue this result and then, once a contract is signed between you and [Mr. Weisman] and the BVI, I would receive $200,000 as my success fee.”

On Aug. 6, 2015, Mr. Hyman wrote in a separate email to Mr. Weisman that Ms. Smith’s support was “extremely important.”

“As you undoubtedly know, there is no American who has as close relationship with both Lorna and Orlando as I,” Mr. Hyman wrote. “Accordingly, if this new proposal of yours comes to fruition, I would expect to be appropriately recompensed for my efforts in making that possible.”

In the Aug. 21 MKS filing, Mr. Kenney took issue with this message.

“There is no other way to interpret this email than to say that Mr. Hyman was selling his influence over his client, quite contrary to any assertion that this arrangement was in the open, let alone with the informed consent of his client,” Mr. Kenney wrote.

Paid, but seeking more

Documents included in the Aug. 21 MKS filing also show that Mr. Hyman was paid the initial $100,000 after government signed an agreement with BVI Airways in December 2015, and he was due to be paid another $100,000 on Dec. 17, 2016.

But the second payment didn’t come through following the airline’s failure to launch flights by the scheduled October 2016 deadline, when a six-month ex – tension was granted. On March 19, 2017, Mr. Hyman sent an email to Mr. Weisman with the subject “The rabbi needs some gelt!” to request the remainder.

When Mr. Weisman replied that “funds are extremely limited,” Mr. Hyman proceeded to email the premier on March 22, 2017.

He urged Dr. Smith to act within a day to resolve an issue surrounding a guarantee designed to help source more funding for BVI Airways on top of the $7.2 million already paid out by government: Otherwise, he said, Messrs. Bradley and Weisman would end the deal.

“They are not bluffing,” he added.

Government officially terminated the agreement in November 2017, and the final $100,000 was never paid to Mr. Hyman.

BVIA Airports Authority

MKS also claimed in the Aug. 21 filing that subpoenaed emails show Mr. Hyman received money for representing BVI Airways in a different capacity that he had never properly disclosed to government.

In September 2014, the BVI Airports Authority sued BVI Airways for fees incurred when the airline was under different ownership. The BVIAA sought $176,758 plus costs for outstanding airport development frees and parking and landing fees, and Mr. Hyman provided legal advice related to the dispute and was later paid by the airline, according to MKS.

In support of its claim, MKS provided a Sept. 2, 2014 email from Mr. Hyman to Mr. Weisman that included an itemised breakdown of “the legal work I have performed on behalf of BVI Air over the past month and a half.”

The bill came to $8,850, but he apparently was paid only $5,000, MKS claimed, citing a June 19, 2015 email from Mr. Hyman to Mr. Bradley.

“As you well know, I spent a tremendous amount of time on that project without any compensation,” Mr. Hyman wrote. “(Scott did pay me $5,000 for my role in advising him re the dispute between the BVI Aviation Authority and BVI Air).”

Mr. Hyman said the payment occurred separately from the negotiations to facilitate direct flights to the US, but MKS said his failure to disclose the invoice to government was “not minor.”

“He had motive to continue to conceal for as long as possible his representation of BV Airways, Inc. with respect to the dispute between BV Airway, Inc. and BVIAA,” the firm wrote in the Aug. 21 filing. “By Mr. Hyman’s calculations, this purported legal representation of BV Airways, Inc. caused $94,000 in harm to his client, the BVI [government]. It remains unclear to what extent [Mr. Hyman] invoiced and/or was paid for other legal services provided on behalf of the operator parties.”

Pursuant to the subpoena, Mr. Hyman also provided a heavily redacted single page of his 2016 personal federal tax return, which appears to show $100,00 in income from BVI Airways and $50,000 in income from the “British Virgin Islands,” equivalent to half his annual retainer. But Mr. Kenney argued that Mr. Hyman has yet to provide a total account of the amounts paid to him and could not be trusted to do so without a sworn written statement and supporting documents.

Because of this perceived unreliability, MKS argued in its Aug. 21 filing that the court should compel Mr. Hyman to provide a sworn declaration about banking and payment records directly related to the failed airline venture.

This declaration, MKS wrote, should take the form of responses to interrogatories — written questions submitted by MKS that must be answered in writing and signed under oath.

“Interrogatories are even more clearly the appropriate tool given [Mr. Hyman’s] repeated inability to provide consistent and straightforward answers on a simple, and very material, issue,” MKS wrote.

The firm proposed an order that would compel the disclosure of all payments between Mr. Hyman and the other parties involved with BVI Airways since Sept. 1, 2013. The details requested include the date, amount and method of any payments.

Under the proposed order, Mr. Hyman would also have to explain the purpose of the payment and identities of the people involved in the transaction, as well as saying if he promised to give or receive relevant payments.

Additionally, MKS filed another request seeking to subpoena BVI Airways-related emails from the employer of Mr. Hyman’s daughter, Elizabeth Hyman, who works as the CEO of the technology trade organisation XR Association.

Ms. Hyman’s work email address was blind copied in an email between Mr. Hyman and Mr. Weisman on Oct. 11, 2019 about Mr. Hyman’s efforts to retain an attorney. Using this email as a basis for seeking other communications about the airline, MKS is requesting any emails in the XR Association system that were sent to or from BVI Airways parties.

‘Fishing expedition’?

In a Sept. 4 filing that was partially redacted, Mr. Hyman’s attorney argued that MKS’ updated request for information should be denied entirely.

“Following the court’s ruling, the applicant asked Mr. Hyman if he would voluntarily produce tax documents that reflect any payments from BVI Airways,” Mr. Pollack wrote. “Mr. Hyman agreed to do so and has produced any documents that he has responsive to this request.”

But he did not agree to respond to written questions under oath, a request that wasn’t included in the original motion government filed in September 2019, according to Mr. Pollack.

“This proceeding is hardly the appropriate forum to attempt to resolve the BVI’s (as yet unasserted) claims,” Mr. Pollack wrote, reminding the court that government hasn’t yet filed suit against Mr. Hyman.

Mr. Pollack also submitted a partially redacted opposition to government’s request to subpoena XR Association, calling it a “quintessential fishing expedition.”

“The applicant has not come close to making the necessary showing that the discovery sought can reasonably be expected to lead to relevant information,” Mr. Pollack wrote.

He added that the application failed to specify a timeframe, Ms. Hyman’s role, or the emails’ relevance to the BVI Airways venture.

“The fact that it can point to no evidence suggesting XR Association or Ms. Hyman were involved in the BVI Airways venture is fatal to any claim that XR Association has relevant communications,” he wrote.

He also argued that the request would be unduly burdensome for the company, and that government was harassing Mr. Hyman by involving his daughter and her employer.

Government responded on Sept. 11, reiterating its previous claims and denying that its request for discovery through XR Association amounted to a “fishing expedition.”

Further investigation

The Sept. 11 filing also accuses Mr. Hyman of other instances of “double dealing” in his role representing the VI.

“[Mr. Hyman] asserts that he is highly reputable. Unfortunately for [him], the applicant’s investigations have expanded into [Mr. Hyman’s] entire tenure as the BVI [government’s] lawyer, and it is abundantly clear that the BVI Airways matter was not the first time that [he] has been double dealing and unlawfully profiting while acting as the BVI [government’s] lawyer,” Mr. Stadler wrote. “He has been crooked in his dealings with the BVI [government] for many, many years; the only thing that is different now is that he has been caught, and the [government] intends to hold him accountable.”

As an example, the firm provided a 2013 email obtained through the subpoena, which MKS cited as evidence that Mr. Hyman improperly offered to assist a firm interested in bidding on a solar project in the territory.

At the time, MKS stated, Mr. Hyman “was advising the BVI [government]. He had no business advising potential bidders … on the side, and he should not be introducing potential competitive bidders to each other.”

MKS did not provide further evidence in support of its claim of other illegal behaviour.

Mr. Hyman has yet to respond to the new accusations in the court system.

The ball is now in the district court’s hands to determine what additional discovery, if any, government can pursue.

Contacted by the Beacon, Mr. Pollack declined to comment in detail.

“Mr. Hyman faithfully served the BVI for 30 years,” Mr. Pollack wrote. “While the BVI government has repeatedly said that it intends to sue Mr. Hyman, it has not done so. If it does, Mr. Hyman will respond to any claims brought in court, not through the media, just as he has with respect to the BVI’s repeated efforts to take broad ranging discovery from him through the court in the District of Columbia.”

Attempts to contact Dr. and Ms. Smith, Ms. Hyman and Messrs. Bradley and Weisman were unsuccessful. Mr. Harrigan declined to comment.


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