CHRISTIANSTED — Was it a Freudian slip by embattled Virgin Islands Republican Party chairman John Canegata?
Or was he misquoted by a St. Croix tabloid newspaper?
Canegata, who remains under a temporary restraining order issued by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay, confirmed everything opponents have been saying about his eight years on the job as party chairman.
Speaking to the St. Croix Avis on Friday, Canegata said his job isn’t to run Republicans for office — be it senator in the Legislature or Delegate to Congress.
“What is the job of the chairman?,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of it is to raise money.”
However, the money Canegata raises doesn’t go to party coffers.
Instead, it goes to a controversial political action committee called VIGOP. Despite its official sounding name, VIGOP is not part of the territorial Republican Party. Instead, it’s run by Canegata and has been accused of being a so-called scam PAC by stateside media and even two black Republican congressmen.
Most of VIGOP’s money goes to pay Washington-based political consultants.
The rest goes to Canegata, who has used the money to buy a television from Amazon and reimburse himself for clearly fake expenses, like over $7,400 for a three-day Republican National Committee meeting in January.
Canegata lost a bid to move the case to federal court recently.
In U.S. District of the Virgin Islands, the court decided in favor of Gordon Ackley, saying that the case was not a federal matter.
It sent the case back to the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
Canegata’s case will be decided at a hearing in Judge Mackay’s St. Croix courtroom this week.