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US investigating diversion of funds to Turks and Caicos
Published on November 4, 2011 Email To Friend    Print Version

The Brothers Misick: (L-R) Michael, Ariel, Chalmers and Washington

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- The Tribune newspaper in The Bahamas has revealed the existence of an investigation conducted by US government officials into the wire transfer of funds totaling some $1.65 million from accounts belonging to Sandals/Beaches resorts into the hands of the Progressive National Party (PNP) in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and former premier Michael Misick, using his brothers’ firms.

According to the article by Neil Hartnell, the funds after arriving in the TCI were divided between the law firms of Misick and Stanbrook, headed by Ariel Misick, and Chalmers and Company, headed by Chalmers “Chal” Misick; and Prestigious Properties headed by Washington Misick.

Washington Misick was a former TCI chief minister for the PNP in the early 1990s. He also headed the TCI Bank as chairman of the board of directors. TCI Bank has been in liquidation since April 2010 when it failed, taking down with it 4,000 personal accounts of islanders and $22.9 million in islanders’ pension funds.

One million dollars of the funds from Sandals was reportedly used to pay debts and obligations of Michael Misick himself. According to the Tribune article, a portion of this was paid to Jacqueline Lightbourne, said to be the mother of Misick's children. Misick had also been married to another Turks and Caicos Islander known as Yvette Misick, who he divorced, and also to US citizen Lisa Raye McCoy Misick, a Hollywood B movie starlet.

Misick has been seen recently in the Dominican Republic, where he is now said to reside, but returns on occasion to the TCI. He was last seen publicly in the TCI at a public demonstration staged on Providenciales.

The Bahamas-based Sandals in June this year filed an action in that country’s Supreme Court to recover the funds that are alleged to have come from their accounts. It is alleged that Dr Jeffrey Pyne, a Sandals executive, facilitated seven transfers between March 2005 and October 2006, when the early February 2007 election was looming.

The Tribune article states that $500,000 of the funds transferred was for the benefit of the PNP. The PNP had also collected another $500,000 from Dr Cim Kinay, the Turkish developer of Dellis and Joe Grant Cays.

The article goes on to describe a dispute between Pyne and Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, CEO of Beaches. Pyne claims he was directed by Stewart to send the funds to Misick. The investigation has uncovered what appears to be a front for a portion of the transfers on the basis that Prestigious Properties was purchasing TCI properties on behalf of Beaches. However, the accounts of Prestigious have revealed “handwritten notes” directing the funds to settle the personal obligations of Michael Misick.

According to Pyne, the $500,000 contribution to the PNP was disguised as legal fees for Stewart. However, Chalmers Misick is alleged to have accepted it as a donation to the PNP.
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