Published On: Thu, Sep 24th, 2020

Court dissolves Mingo’s contract without compensation

PHILIPSBURG – The Court in First Instance has dissolved the labor contract of Mark Mingo with the St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company. The company does not have to pay its former director any compensation.

The court decision reveals the salary the harbor paid Mingo: 47,969 guilders ($26,798) gross per month – an annual salary of 575,628 guilders ($321,580). Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs earns 21,925 guilders ($12,249) gross per month, or 263,100 guilders ($146,983) per year. After the 25 percent salary cut the Kingdom wants to impose, her income goes down to $110,237 gross per year. Mingo’s salary was therefore almost 119 percent higher than that of the prime minister.

Mingo started working for the harbor back in 2002. On January 29 of this year, the Court in First Instance sentenced him for forgery and fraud to 46 months of imprisonment and a ban on holding a job at any government-owned company for a period of six years. Mingo has appealed the verdict.

On August 21, 2017, the Holding suspended Mingo after he was arrested and charged with defrauding the harbor for an amount of 10 million. On April 23, 2020, the General Meeting of Shareholders fired Mingo for urgent reasons. The shareholder furthermore decided not to pay Mingo any salary during the six-month term of notice, not to pay compensation for the termination of his contract and to reclaim the 10 million guilders (almost $5.6 million) for which he defrauded the company.

A day after the shareholder meeting Mingo received his termination letter. The reasons given for his dismissal were abuse of his function that led to the defrauding of the company, Mingo’s criminal conviction, the court’s ban on managing a government-owned company for a period of six years and the irreparable breach of confidence. The harbor also mentioned Mingo’s “bad name and reputation” as a reason for his dismissal.

Mingo asked the court to declare that he is entitled to payment of his legal expenditures by the holding’s insurance and to continue the payment of his 47,969-guilders gross monthly salary from April 2020 until the dissolution of his contract. Mingo also claimed compensation for his dismissal.

The harbor holding based its dismissal for urgent reasons on Mingo’s criminal conviction. Mingo contested this argument, saying that other directors let him have his way and that his contract was extended in 2013 with a higher salary. He claimed to have had “little maneuvering space” because the other directors, the supervisory board and the General Shareholders Meeting got in his way.

Mingo also argued that he was not the only one guilty of the fraud and said that other suspects carried more guilt than he did.

The court ruled in favor of the harbor holding that the contract must be dissolved for urgent reasons. This judgment is based on Mingo’s criminal conviction earlier this year.

The court dismissed Mingo’s objections against the contents of his court ruling, because they would not free him of guilt, even if his arguments held up. “He says for instance that others are more guilty than he is,” the ruling states.

The court declared Mingo’s counter requests inadmissible because it is still possible that they will be found to be valid in a regular court procedure. By declaring the requests inadmissible, the court indicates that it did not judge these claims.