You are here
Hart pulls disappearing act
The hunt is on to find former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart. This as civil proceedings documents sent to Hart at Unit 701 Las Olas, Grand Private Condominiums, 411 N New River Drive, East Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33301-3176, United States, have been returned to T&T as he no longer resides at this address.
His whereabouts are unknown, as stated in the affidavit obtained by Sunday Guardian that was filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court on June 1. The High Court has cleared the way for Hart to be served outside the jurisdiction of T&T. The court order was granted by Justice Andre des Vignes in the Port-of-Spain High Court on June 5.
The Civil Proceedings Rules 1998 requires that originating proceedings be served personally on defendants. In the present case, the court was satisfied that the proceedings will come to the attention of Hart if he was served at his Florida address.
However, according to the affidavit, Hart cannot be located. Before migrating to the United States, Hart lived at De Lima Road, Cascade, with his wife Sherrine and their two children.
‘Move to avoid being served legal documents’
In the affidavit, attorney Christlyn Moore stated the sudden change of address appeared to be a move by Hart to avoid being served with the legal documents outlining a breach of his duty to exercise skill, care and diligence in the management of the affairs of Udecott.
In relation to the controversial Brian Lara Cricket Academy at Tarouba, the State is claiming that Hart failed to ensure that the advance payment bonds were renewed upon expiry or, alternatively, the balance of the advance payments made to Hafeez Karamath Ltd by Udecott in the sum of $65,680,978.88 were recovered.
Since its conceptualisation in 2003 under the former administration, the controversial construction project has been plagued by a combination of cost overruns, compounded by shoddy work. Taxpayers are now saddled with a $1 billion debt and an eyesore that is no closer to being completed.
The academy was expected to host the 2007 Cricket World Cup in Tarouba. The original price of the stadium was estimated to cost $272 million. The State is seeking to recover the outstanding sum, including damages and interest. Sunday Guardian learnt that a pre-action protocol letter was sent to Hart on October 17, 2011, at the Fort Lauderdale condominium, informing him of plans to initiate the legal proceedings.
Hart had acknowledged receipt of the legal letter on November 12 and requested that documentation to substantiate the allegations be sent to him. According to the affidavit, on February 3, documents regarding the advance payments were sent to Hart via FedEX Express and was delivered on February 7.
The affidavit stated that an individual by the name of Pacciulli signed for receiving the package, and on April 27, Hart sent a letter to Moore indicating that he received the legal documents. However, in an unexpected move on May 14, a letter sent to Hart from Moore via FedEX Express inquiring whether he was prepared to authorise someone within the jurisdiction of T&T to receive the service of the claim form and the statement of case against him was returned to its sender.
Contents of the affidavit stated that FedEx Express representative Charlene Hall, in a telephone conversation, informed Moore’s assistant Reisha Hutchinson that the letter was returned by an occupant claiming that the package had been accepted in error as Hart no longer resided at the address. Hart did not respond to an email sent to him yesterday.
Gibbs: Investigations at a sensitive stage
Commenting briefly on the situation yesterday Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs said while he was unaware of the “development”, investigations were ongoing and are at a sensitive stage. Hart shockingly tendered his resignation on March 6, 2010, and fled T&T days later, following the court ruling by Madam Mira Dean-Armorer that allowed the Prof John Uff Report to be made public.
In his report, Prof Uff called for a police probe into the former executive chairman and a full-scale investigation into the awarding of an $885 million contract by Udecott to Malaysian-based CH Development Ltd, now Sunway Construction (Caribbean) Ltd. The report also questioned the $368 million awarded to Udecott for construction of the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower.
Former job titles
• Executive chairman of Udecott
• Chairman, chief executive officer and managing director of T&T Mortgage Finance Co Ltd
• Chairman of National Insurance Board
• Director of Home Mortgage Bank
• Chairman of Nipdec
Quick facts and allegations
• Former prime minister Patrick Manning announced in Parliament on May 23, 2008, that the government had set up a Commission of Inquiry into the construction sector
• According to former finance minister Karen Tesheira, Hart was paid an estimated $6.3 million in salary and perks ($158,375/month) for his chairmanship on five state boards since 2006
• Documents allegedly linking Hart to a company his board awarded $820 million in contracts emerged on March 3, after being obtained by the Congress of the People. The documents allegedly linked Hart’s wife to the Malaysian firm Sunway Construction (Caribbean) Ltd—the company that was awarded the contract for the construction of the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower in Port-of-Spain.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.