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Gubernatorial Candidate Warren Mosler Charges ‘Serious’ Crime Committed With Misapplied GERS Deductions

CHRISTIANSTED — A 2018 gubernatorial candidate is calling for “justice” in connection with the Virgin Islands government taking money out of payroll checks for the Government Employees Retirement System (GERS) but committing it to “other purposes.”

In one of a series of eight radio ads that began in January, hedge fund magnate Warren Mosler asserted that “constitutional rights” had been violated by the practice and called on the “perpetrators” of this “serious offense” to be “brought to justice.”

“When money is taken from employee paychecks for retirement and then used for other governmental purposes, constitutional rights have been violated and a serious offense has been committed,” Mosler said in a radio spot. “As governor, I will do what it takes to make sure the perpetrators of this unconscionable behavior are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and brought to justice.”

Former V.I. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Fred Handleman told the Virgin Islands Free Press that the only person with the authority under the V.I. Code to order the GERS payroll deductions is Gov. Kenneth Mapp. The V.I. Code cannot authorize a violation of law.

Mosler also said that it is his understanding that GERS CEO/Administrator Austin Nibbs “has been quoted as saying a felony has been committed.”

“He [CEO Austin Nibbs] might have also elaborated on that and may be taking legal action,” the gubernatorial candidate said.
Asked about the GERS payroll deduction issue by the V.I. Free Press, Nibbs said:

“I said that if an employer deducts employee deductions (pension contributions and loan deductions) from the pay checks of its employees and not remit those deductions to where they are supposed to go within the specified time mandated by law, that employer has committed fraud.”

Gov. Kenneth Mapp did not immediately return a request for comment through Government House spokeswoman Sandra Gomansingh.

Asked how Mosler thought the issue would play out in the courts, if it ever got that far, he said:

“As governor I’ll first get the facts straight, consult with our atty general, inspector general, U.S. attorney,
and other legal resources to determine where we go from there with regard to prosecution, etc,” Mosler said.
“Current indications are that it’s at least a violation of USVI law — and perhaps federal law as well.”

To hear Warren Mosler’s radio spot #5 please click on the link below:

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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