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John Canegata Faces Hearing Before Republican National Committee Over Legitimacy Of His USVI Chairmanship

CHARLOTTE — John Canegata faces the equivalent of a trial before the Republican National Committee in the lead-up to the party’s convention re-nominating President Donald Trump.

The hearing will be held after a group of Republicans filed a 77-page contest — basically a lawsuit under national party rules — with the RNC against Canegata, GOP National Committeewoman and former St. Croix Senator Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal, and Max Schanfarber. Canegata claims to be the VIGOP chairman.

The V.I. Free Press isn’t naming all of those who filed the contest as some are private individuals and not public figures. However, notable names include: St. Thomas businessman Gordon Ackley, who says he is the territory’s GOP chairman; outgoing National Committeeman and V.I. Board of Elections member Jevon O.A. Williams; Glenn Webster, another member of V.I. Board of Elections; Amalia Café owner Randolph Maynard; St. Croix lawyer Bruce Cole; and Antoinette Gumbs-Hecht, who ran for national committeewoman against Belardo de O’Neal in the GOP’s now-infamously canceled primary election.

Their contest contains a five-count indictment of Canegata that, among other things, alleges repeated violations of territorial and national party rules, rigging his re-election by cancelling this year’s primary, and a failing to hold elections for party offices in 2018. They also allege Canegata’s caucus to elect party offices this Saturday is “irregular, improper, unlawful and illegitimate.”

Canegata lost a similar contest in 2016, when John Yob and a slate of other Republicans were seated by the RNC as delegates to the convention that nominated Trump to run against Hillary Clinton.

Yob, who is running for GOP national committeeman against Schanfarber, did not sign the contest against Canegata, Belardo de O’Neal and Schanfarber.

The contest will proceed along the same lines as civil litigation. Each side will file briefs and other arguments with the RNC before a hearing is held; most likely a week before the national party’s 2020 convention.

As of publication, some of the convention is set to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina with other parts, including Trump’s re-nomination acceptance speech, scheduled to occur in Jacksonville, Florida.

Asked for comment from the Virgin Islands Free Press, Canegata had this reply: “Ironically, I am not aware of any hearing or the sort… I was told that some documents may have been filed, but I’m not interested in the details.”

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