GERS floats St. Croix's Carambola resort $350,000 to carry it through slow season
Published: August 23, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The Government Employees Retirement System board on Thursday voted to provide $350,091 to the Carambola Beach Resort to help bridge a projected cash flow shortfall at the resort during slow season.
The cash call will help carry the resort - which GERS owns - through August, September and October, GERS administrator Austin Nibbs said after the special meeting. The Carambola is on St. Croix's North Shore.
Officials expect business to pick up at the resort once high season and the winter months start to approach.
The discussion surrounding the projected cash flow shortfall occurred during a lengthy executive session that was closed to the public, although the vote occurred in open session. The vote was unanimous, with members Dr. Wilbur Callendar, Carol Callwood, Raymond James, Desmond Maynard, Edgar Ross, Leona Smith and Vincent Liger voting yes.
GERS has owned the Carambola since last year, after the hotel defaulted on a $15 million loan it had obtained from GERS in 2009. GERS took possession of the property in 2012.
In other discussion, Nibbs reported back to the board on a request for proposals GERS issued for a financial consultant for the local alternative investment program.
Although it appeared on the agenda as an action item to make a selection, Nibbs said GERS heard from only two respondents to the RFP, and one of those was deemed non-responsive.
The RFP will be reissued, Nibbs said.
In other action on Thursday, the GERS board:
- Ultimately voted to accept the presentation by consultants to conduct a study of Havensight Mall on St. Thomas, based on receiving additional information from a GERS attorney. The presentation was made in executive session.
The study is to look at all aspects of Havensight and its operations, including the physical plant, Nibbs said.
There had initially been a motion to authorize execution of a contract with the consultants, consistent with a sample contract that was presented during executive session, but that motion failed after a discussion about the GERS attorney's desire to add some clauses into the contract.
Later, though, before adjourning, the board voted to reconsider the matter and then voted to accept the presentation.
- Change the terms of an alternative investment loan to V.I. Finest Foods, to increase the loan from $7 million to $7.7 million.
- Authorized Nibbs to negotiate or propose a settlement with the V.I. Water and Power Authority over money that WAPA owes GERS in retirement contributions. The motion spoke addressed finding "middle ground" for the settlement.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email email@example.com.