MAPP ABANDONS POSH RENTAL AFTER STICKING TAXPAYERS WITH $118,500 BILL
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Gov. Kenneth Mapp says he has renounced his state-funded residence on the island of St. Thomas out of economic concerns.
Mapp made the announcement in a statement May 30 following public criticism of government expenditures. The government paid $14,500 a month plus $50,000 in incidental expenses to rent the villa where Mapp has been residing for the first five months of 2015.
Government House initially said the cost of the rental was $4,000 and accused the St. Croix Avis of making “a mistake” when it reported that information given to them by an official Government House spokeswoman.
Mapp said he will live in his private home on St. Croix for now. The governor owns a condominium at Coakley Bay and his ailing mother owns a home in Estate Rattan.
Virgin Islands law requires that the governor live in the territory’s capital of Charlotte Amalie.
Mapp has made frequent trips abroad since first taking office and claimed in March that the former Hess Oil refinery could be used as a U.S. military base and that Disney Cruise Lines CEO Karl Holz was considering St. Croix as a theme destination. But a U.S. Department of Defense spokesman and a Holz spokeswoman each told John McCarthy of the Virgin Islands Free Press that they had not spoken to the governor.
When Mapp first took office in January 2015 he promised his administration would be “transparent.” The governor delayed releasing a copy of his actual lease for four months and when he finally did it revealed that the rental amount was actually $14,500, not the $12,500 he had told the press after walking back the $4,000 amount.
The Estate Nazareth lease revealed that the West Indian Company, Ltd. promised to pay Mapp’s rent plus incidentals in exchange for tax breaks. The total amount through five months was at least $118,500 that will be paid for by Virgin Islands taxpayers.