Philipsburg, Sint Maarten — Former director Henry Lynch had his first day in court and faced the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) on May 27 at the Court of First Instance. Requesting a compensation of US $25.000 in damages from the foundation, Lynch attempts to force the foundation to make a public apology for damaging his good name. In the proceeding, Lynch represented by his lawyer stated that major damage was done to his character and the incident cost him a Minister’s seat in the Marcel Gumbs’ Cabinet.
Lynch is fighting his dismissal from the housing foundation after he was served a letter from the board siting financial discrepancies and credit card fraud. The foundation issued a press release at the time of the dismissal and stated via its attorney, the service agreement with Henry Lynch has been dissolved on the basis of a host of instances of financial mismanagement. His service agreement ended February 4, following his suspension dated December 12, 2014. “In the time period between the suspension with pay and the decision to terminate the service agreement with immediate effect, SMHDF commissioned further investigations into the previously-established financial irregularities within its organization,” the press release read.
“The results of those further investigations performed by the newly appointed interim management team coupled with unsatisfactory, incomplete and untruthful answers given by Mr. Lynch during the first time that an opportunity was given to him by SMHDF to give reason and account, and his subsequent refusal after that first meeting to attend further meetings to explain matters, necessitated the immediate termination of his service agreement.”
Ten grounds were given for the termination in the press release, including the structural employment of SMHDF employees for work in his companies’ personal projects, consequently partially financing the construction of these projects at the expense of SMHDF, The structural personal use of the SMHDF credit card, to the tune of more than 100,000 Guilders over the years, with expenditures either not being accounted for, or not properly and truthfully so.
This was refuted by Lynch’s attorney Cindy Marcia who stated that no facts were given by the foundation in the meetings with Lynch. Marcia said in her presentation to the judge that there are no credit card policies at the housing foundation. Lynch wanted to make it clear that the rumors of him using the SMHDF credit card for brothels for call girls is not true, there were instances that the office was treated to lunch at Casa Blanca and that was it. Marcia further stated that her client used the credit card to his discretion for the foundation only. In a statement from the former financial controller Lynch had to provide receipts for the credit card statements and if there was no receipt, the monies were deducted from Lynch’s salary monthly. The attorney said it is not the best system but the supervisory board put that rule in place and her client had no problem with that. Salary slips were also presented as evidence to substantiate the claim.
The dismissal was unlawful and was not backed up by the entire supervisory board according to Marcia, “if there was wrong doing by Henry Lynch, why wasn’t there an official complaint made at the prosecutor office? Your honor, this dismissal was not done correctly, therefore it should not stand”. At the end of the hearing, Marcia said if Lynch was such a bad guy, why would the foundation present Lynch with an employee of the year award, out of 18 employees working at the housing foundation last year. The case continues on June 2.
Source Today Newspaper