Stanford owes St. Croix firms $1.2 mln, records show

CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands,  (Reuters) –  Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, charged by U.S. securities  regulators with an $8 billion fraud, owes various St. Croix  businesses $1.2 million, according to public records.
Stanford’s offices here have been shut down by the U.S.  court-appointed receiver overseeing his assets, a member of the  receiver’s team told Reuters on Tuesday. Federal authorities  said they also have an eye on other Stanford assets, such as  his $7.7 million home and office compound. which is empty,  guarded and being assessed. His 120-foot custom yacht is unable  to move from the St. Croix Marina, according to its captain.
The yacht’s value was not immediately known, but could be  worth about $20 million, based on other yachts for sale,  according to one broker. The flamboyant financier and sports  entrepreneur owns deeds to $34.7 million of property on the  Caribbean island.
Out of 19 different properties, only five showed mortgages,  according to the deeds office in Christiansted, St. Croix’s  largest city. The mortgages, which totaled $3.2 million at the  time of purchase, were all with the Bank of Houston.
Local businesses, including a property surveyor, two  architecture firms, an excavator and an asphalt provider, have  filed $1.2 million in liens against Stanford’s properties. The  parties are trying to protect themselves in case the fraud  charge and federal investigation interfere with Stanford’s  ability to pay them.
Larry Aldrich, who runs an earth excavation business as  part of Virgin Islands Solar Depot, filed a lien against  Stanford on Feb. 20 for $26,067.50 for excavation work. The  work was in connection with a road Stanford wanted built to  ease a steep climb to the $9 million hilltop estate he  demolished and planned to completely rebuild.
Work on the estate, which originally included three houses  and a small conference center, was halted by the Department of  Planning and Natural Resources.
Aldrich said he worked for about three months and got paid  $15,000. While no written contract was signed, he said he  expected the work to last the better part of a year and  eventually total $5 million.
But now, he said, he is unhappy, like many people on St.  Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I shook his (Stanford’s) hand once. He seemed like a sharp  businessman,” Aldrich said in an interview. “I thought he was  going to do all these things here like he did in Antigua, and  that’s why I trusted him. Oops.”
According to the deeds office, five liens totaling about $1  million have been filed against Stanford since Feb. 20, with  the majority pertaining to the hilltop property known locally  as the Kaiser Estate. Two other liens totaling $231,416.75 were  filed on Feb. 20 against his affiliate, Christiansted Downtown  Holdings LLC, which purchased commercial property in the  downtown area.
Survey Services Co is another local business feeling the  pain. Its president, Gary Bourdon, said Stanford had been “a  very good client for a period of time.” But now the property  surveyor has two liens against Stanford totaling $33,685.
“It’s really just sad for everybody,” Bourdon said.

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