Published On: Thu, Feb 13th, 2020

How Frans lost his building and his seat in Parliament

Sunset Building 1

PHILIPSBURG – Port de Plaisance Boutique is the rightful owner of the Sunset Building in Simpson Bay. Attempts by its previous owners – United St. Maarten party leader Frans Richardson and Bureau Telecommunication and Post director Anthony Carty, as well as their company Paradise Real Estate (PRE) – to declare the auction of the property null and void fell on deaf ears in the Court in First Instance last year December 2019. Here is a recap of how Frans Richardson lost his beautiful building.

In November 2011, Scotia Bank (now Republic Bank) extended a $2 million loan to PRE, to be repaid in sixty monthly installments of $17,423. The collateral for the loan consisted of a mortgage on the right of long lease and personal guarantees by Richardson and Carty.

But by March 2018, after the loan agreement had been extended by one year, the outstanding debt was still $1,391,162; this shows that Richardson and Carty paid just 35 installments up to that time – less than half of what they should have paid.

The bank finally had enough and informed Richardson and Carty on September 28, 2018, that it was going to terminate the banking relationship, allowing for six months to find alternative banking arrangements. In its notice, the bank stated that the 5-year loan term had ended in March 2017 and that it had granted a one-year extension with the understanding that there would be no more extensions afterwards. The notice furthermore states that PRE failed to make the balloon payment of $1,556,490 to settle the outstanding debt.

Sunset Building 2

Finally, on May 29, 2019, the bank terminated its relationship with PRE, demanding a final payment of $1,317,648 before June 30 – or face the auction of the Sunset Building.

Because PRE failed to settle the debt, the bank auctioned the property on October 30. The buyer is Port de Plaisance Boutique; purchase price: $2,240,000.

Twelve days before the auction, the court ruled that the bank was entitled to auction the property and to terminate the banking relationship because PRE, Richardson and Carty were in default.

One day before the auction, Jairo Bloem, the attorney for Richardson and Carty, informed the bank’s lawyer Roeland Zwanikken that his clients were in the process of closing a sale with Food & Beverage Unlimited but that they needed a couple more days to complete the transaction.

The same day, the bank’s second attorney, Jeroen Vlasblom, offered Richardson and Carty an amicable settlement.” Under the terms of this agreement, they would have to sign a settlement agreement, agree to end the banking relationship per December 1, pay the outstanding debt by November 5 and pay notary and legal fees.

Sunset Building 3

After the auction, Bloem sent an email to his confrere Zwanikken informing him that in his clients’ opinion the bank was “guilty of serious shortcomings and of violating its duty of care by not canceling the auction. The auction is invalid, Bloem wrote, adding that through his email his clients voided the extrajudicial auction purchase by Port de Plaisance.

The court put these arguments aside, ruling that there was no agreement about a postponement of the auction and that Bloem had declared termination of the banking relationship non-negotiable. There was also no unconditional agreement with the four demands put forth by the bank.

The plaintiffs have been in default since September 2018 and they have made no efforts to arrive at a settlement, the court ruling states. Richardson and Carty waited until one day before the auction to negotiate a postponement.” Too little, too late,” Judge Coen Luijks wrote in his ruling, adding that said negotiations were not going anywhere anyway.

The court also dismissed the demand to dissolve the purchase of the property by Port de Plaisance, because Richardson and Carty were not a party to the transaction.

The court ordered Carty and Richardson to pay 4,000 guilders in court fees and 450 guilders in additional costs.

The ruling is provisionally enforceable.

Frans under pressureA month later, on Thurday, January 9, 2020, Frans Richardson also lost his seat in Parliament, placing fourth in the list of top votegetters in his United St. Maarten Party while the party only managed to obtain two seats. With the recent court ruling in the Emerald case where Richardson was found guilty of bribery and tax fraud charges and sentenced to 36 months in prison, he may also one day see himself not only having lost his building and his seat in Parliament, but also his freedom as well.


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