Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) is seeking a stay of a court order that awarded $6 million in damages to firms partially owned by the family trust of former State Minister of Legal Affairs Damian Gomez.
Attorneys for the bank and Gomez will appear in a Grand Bahama court today to submit arguments on the application.
The order to award damages was issued on March 6, 2019 by Deputy Registrar Stephana Saunders following years of legal action between the firms and BOB. Gomez said he resigned from the Christie Cabinet in December 2015 in order to pursue the matter.
Saunders awarded the firms $6,049,194.63 with 6.75 percent interest from October 5, 2017 in damages.
Kaydee Ltd., David Edward Jennette S., Mercantile Land Resources Ltd., Seaport Construction Company Ltd., Meridian Corporation Ltd. and Dominion Swan Industries Ltd., are listed as the plaintiffs in the matter.
Bank of The Bahamas is listed as the defendant.
In a May 27, 2019 affidavit, David Edward Jennette III asked the court to “cause receivers to be appointed for the purpose of selling the said assets of the defendant bank so as to pay the plaintiffs their judgment debt and the costs of enforcement of said judgement”.
Jennette noted that he spoke to “Philip C. Galanis, Sir Baltron Bethel, Mr. Michael Halkitis and Ms. Patricia Hermanns, each of whom have consented and agreed to act in the capacity as receivers of the defendant bank for the purpose of enforcing the judgement”.
He also said that BOB continued to “refuse to comply” with Saunders’ ruling and “that the defendant bank’s pattern of conduct is contemptuous and in defiance of the said ruling”.
But in its July 1, 2019 submission in support of its application, BOB asked the court to issue a stay of execution.
“Indeed, the plaintiffs themselves appear to have accepted that there is no legal basis for a significant number of claims advanced in the statement of claim,” the court document said.
It noted that the plaintiffs included claims of $14,085,920 in their statement of claim but during the assessment of damages hearing, attorneys for the plaintiffs said, “there was a legitimate claim for some four million plus dollars”.
“By the bank’s calculation, the total sum of the claims pursued at the assessment of damages hearing was in fact $3,740,899.98,” the document said.
“The plaintiffs have therefore already abandoned claims with a value of over $10 million. It is of concern that the plaintiffs were willing to claim an amount from the bank which they must accept was vastly inflated.”
BOB argued that if a stay is not granted, the plaintiffs “will be entitled to enforce the judgement of $6,049,194.63 plus interest of 6.75 percent…even though, if the bank’s applications are successful, the plaintiffs will not be entitled to these sums”.
But in submissions filed yesterday, attorney Harvey Tynes, who represents the plaintiffs, argued a final judgement “has been entered following an assessment of damages by the registrar [and that] the award of damages may only be challenged by way of an appeal to the Court of Appeal and not by way of a review by the registrar herself”.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English