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UTT seeks $10.9m from former directors
The University of T&T (UTT) is seeking $10.9 million in compensation following a High Court ruling against its former president Prof Ken Julien and six former directors. On Friday, Justice Vasheist Kokaram dismissed an attempt by Julien and the six former directors to have a lawsuit filed against them by the university struck out.
In September 2012, the university started legal action against the seven men seeking to recover money it claimed had been lost due to Julien and the ex-directors’ alleged involvement in accommodating Reverend Juliana Pena, a spiritual adviser to former prime minister Patrick Manning, at UTT’s guest house in Aripo.
The lawsuit involved two transactions in which UTT claimed Julien and his board breached their fiduciary duty and failed to exercise due diligence in the sub-leasing of the guest house for a five-year renewable lease at a monthly rental of $50,000, as well as accommodating Pena.
Following the ruling, UTT issued a press release stating that the particular loss and damages suffered amounted to $2.85 million in rent for the period February 1, 2006, to October 31, 2010. The university also claimed it incurred losses of $1.48 million in annual operating costs together with capital expenditure of $1.2 million. “As a result, the board of governors is seeking compensation in the sum of approximately $10.9 million,” the release stated.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, whose office initiated legal proceeding against the former UTT board, said the matter must now proceed to trial. “We have been awarded legal costs which are likely to be substantial, having regard to the involvements of so many senior counsels who were retained by the defendants,” he said.