Despite all the allegations against him, Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon, says he is not resigning.
Dillon has admitted that he is a party in a civil matter in the United States Supreme Court for the State of New York, where he is accused of defrauding an elderly man, Trinidadian Neville Piper, of an upscale condominium in Manhattan.
Piper, 88, was originally from La Brea before migrating to New York. The court documents also point to several cash and bank transactions, including a US$5,000 cheque made out in Dillon’s name.
On Friday, Dillon said he knew Piper for over 45 years and he was almost like an uncle. He said their relationship grew stronger over the years to a point where he stayed at Piper’s apartment whenever he traveled to New York and also served as Piper’s driver when he came to Trinidad for vacation.
He said he called Piper almost every day for friendly conversation, including politics. Dillon said he was gifted with Piper’s apartment last year.
Dillon added, “I accepted a gift of the remainder interest in an apartment after his death. The effectiveness is given to me through well-established attorneys of law in the United States in the presence of witnesses.”
Dillon, already under pressure for the state of crime in the country, said there are two sides to the story and his side will not be known until such time as required by law to do so.
Dillon insisted, “They are only allegations until proven otherwise and the matter is still pending before the court.”
Dillon said he had spoken Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley about the matter, but did not go into the details.
On the issue whether he should resign as a result of these allegations, Dillon said, “I value my integrity at all costs and I would have to prove my integrity as the case stands right now.”
Asked if he was aware Cabinet members contacted the Piper family to keep the matter quiet, Dillon said he was not. He said Piper’s niece, Esther Nicholls, has made an application for the appointment of a guardian for the property, in which it is alleged that based on a power of attorney, a transfer of an undivided 50 per cent interest in Piper’s condominium was made by Piper to Dillon on August 21, 2017, but that Piper lacked the capacity to make such transfer validity.
The documents claimed the purported signature of Piper on the deed and transfer documents were not his and he denied any knowledge of the transaction. The documents added that Piper also had no attorney and no guardian for said transaction, that there were several large transfers and withdrawals from Piper’s account, which is inconsistent, uncharacteristic and contrary to his history, practice and norm and that Piper may have been the victim of elder financial abuse, exploitation and fraud.
The court evaluator’s report states that Piper does not recall any visits by his family members and would not know them if he had seen them.The court has ordered that until the proceedings are concluded, Dillon is prohibited and restrained from transferring any interest in the New York condominium, including any interest which Dillon may claim pursuant to the deed related to the property.