Premature and inflated claims
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E ven before Gov. John deJongh Jr. announced in February that he signed an agreement to develop a $55 million sports complex in Frederiksted, the developer, GlobeVest LLC, had announced the deal on its website, describing the deal as "a $350 million private/public partnership."
It is unclear how long the website (www.globevestllc.com) had been up before deJongh's announcement, but within days afterward, the website content disappeared.
Before it vanished, it not only vastly inflated the value of the sports complex, it also displayed splashy photos of tropical scenes, a picture of deJongh and the logo of Major League Baseball among other sports logos.
The short-lived website described the project on a grandiose scale, saying that "this massive development project will be built over 120 acres of beachfront land" and would comprise:
- A 5,000-seat aquatic stadium.
- A 2,500-seat tennis stadium with 24 courts.
- A 1,000-seat beach volleyball stadium with eight sand courts.
- A 3,500-seat baseball stadium.
- A 500-seat Little League stadium.
- A Carnival Festival park.
- A 350-room full-service hotel.
- A 100-room limited-service hotel.
- A 100-room athletic housing facility.
Asked about the extreme difference between the money amounts the governor and GlobeVest were claiming, GlobeVest spokesman John Cruzat said at the time that the $350 million included the government's $25 million and private money the company would bring in.
"The $350 million is money we'll be raising for the wraparound projects - the hotels, the retail shops - all of which is contingent on the government's investment," Cruzat said on the evening of the governor's announcement and press conference in February.
Shortly after the governor's announcement aroused public curiosity about the project and GlobeVest LLC, the company's website was taken down. Visitors to that site saw only a message that the website was "under construction."
In April, just before the first Senate committee hearing on the deal, the home page of the GlobeVest LLC website came back online. It still featured lush tropical scenes, but it did not mention $350 million. Instead it had a sketch of a baseball stadium and a link directing visitors to a different address, www.globevestvi.com, "to learn more about the U.S. Virgin Islands Sports Complex."
The original GlobeVest website still has links to "Alliance Team," "Management," "Projects," and "Contacts," but the site's links go nowhere, and clicking on them leads to an error message saying the page "was not found."
The new website says that "based upon the signed MOA," the project is a $55 million public-private partnership between the government and GlobeVest V.I.
GlobeVest V.I., the entity in the Memorandum of Agreement, is a joint venture between local contractor General Engineering Corp. and Colorado-based GlobeVest LLC.
The new website about the V.I. sports complex project scales down the claims of the original website. The new one says that "the public/private partnership site plan will be built over 60 acres of land that will consist of roughly 35 acres of designated public land and an estimated 25 acres of private land."
In addition to some V.I. photographs, the new site has an "about" page, a "team" page listing the "Project Team," and a "gallery" section showing conceptual drawings and an animated virtual tour of the proposal using drawings.
It does not mention the $350 million figure.