V.I. officials mum on how contractor's arrest could affect construction projects


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ST. THOMAS - V.I. government officials are saying little about how the arrest of one of their major contractors could affect the progress of government projects in the territory.

Since the arrest of Gerard Castor, president of Balbo Construction Inc. last week, V.I. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls has not responded to numerous phone calls and emails seeking information about the status of Balbo projects.

Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr. said Tuesday that the government would need to receive a formal information request before it could discuss such a sensitive matter.

However, the contracts that Balbo Construction currently has with the government are expected to stand unless Castor is found guilty, Greaux said.

Castor, 68, faces one count of conspiracy to evade or defeat taxes, one count of willful failure to collect or pay over tax and one count of fraud and providing false statements.

Castor turned himself in to law enforcement officials Friday morning after they informed him of his charges the night before.

The case also involves former director of the V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue Louis Willis, who is facing one count of conspiracy to evade or defeat taxes and one count of fraud and providing false statements. Prosecutors said Willis helped Castor falsify Castor's taxes, according to court documents.

Castor's company, Balbo Construction, which incorporated March 6, 1989, has won a long list of large governmental projects on the island, including the projects at the V.I. Legislature, Tutu Library and Smith Bay Park, according to V.I. Assistant Attorney General Denise George Counts, who is prosecuting the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Chisolm also will be working on the case, according to a press release issued last week by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The status of current projects Balbo Construction has with the government remains to be disclosed.

Greaux said that the government would have to seek legal counsel before it addresses how it is preparing for potential outcomes of the case, including a finding of guilt.

"The government is continuing to monitor the situation as it proceeds forward and is prepared to handle any potential ramifications as they surface," Greaux said.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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