TT$826 million judgment in Florida …”DUPREY UNDER PRESSURE”

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Close friends of former CL Financial bossman, Lawrence Duprey, says he is under tremendous pressure these days.

They say he has gone into a state of depression, especially after he realized that the company he steered so successfully, is being wound up because of a $15 billion debt to the Government.

Well, his depression will deepen when he learns that he is being sued by a former subsidiary in the Bahamas for US$122 million (TT $826 million) over a failed land development in Florida.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court on Monday, British American Insurance Company Ltd (Baico), based in Nassau, Bahamas, is seeking to recover the money, which represents the damages awarded to it by the United States Bankruptcy Court in the South District of Florida on July 31.

Baico is contending that while the legal proceedings were ongoing Duprey was living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but moved back to Collens Road, Maraval, without paying the court ordered damages.

The proceedings in the US were over Duprey’s breach of fiduciary duty in the company’s investment in the Green Island real estate development in Osceola County, Florida.

Baico invested US$295 million in the project which resulted in over US$100 million in losses.

The losses forced the company into insolvency and led to subsequent multi-national insolvency proceedings.

Baico first filed its US lawsuit against Duprey and its other executives in September 2009.

While the executives came to out of court settlements with the company, Duprey, a former director, and former chairman Brian Branker continued to challenge the claim.

Duprey, Branker and their attorneys were active in the case initially as they opposed several aspects of Baico’s claim.

After Duprey and his legal team were absent from the proceedings periodically between 2013 and 2015, the company obtained a default judgment against the duo.

Duprey then challenged the default judgment as he claimed his attorney had withdrawn from the case and he was not aware of its status.

These arguments were rejected by US Judge Erik Kimball in July.

Kimball said: “In the ensuing two years, Mr Duprey did nothing at all with regard to this case. In contrast, during that time the companies were quite active. With defaults in hand against Mr Duprey and certain other parties allegedly central to the failed real estate transaction, the companies negotiated with a number of other defendants and entered into settlements for amounts far below the total damages allegedly suffered by the companies.”

Kimball ordered Duprey and Branker to pay US$122,636,450 in damages and US$247,960 in interest.

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Bankruptcy judge Erik P. Kimball.

Erik P. Kimball.

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