PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Tuesday, February 7th, former NV GEBE employee, Sergio Thielman, made a series of false, slanderous, and unlawful statements against the company, which were publicly shared on a social media blog page in an attempt to defame the company; as it is still actively engaged in recovering and restoring the customer data lost due to the last year’s ransomware attack. Given the gravity of this situation, GEBE has taken swift legal action and served Mr. Thielman with a cease-and-desist letter to prohibit the sensational publication of inaccurate information. Many of the allegations are not only contrary to the terms of the signed settlement agreement between Thielman and NV GEBE, but they also contain false information, numerous inaccuracies, and unproven assertions.
Firstly, the statement, “A former employee of NV GEBE, Sergio Thielman, has placed a lien on all accounts at all local banks belonging to NV GEBE,” has been proven false. In fact, all of GEBE’s associated banking institutions have confirmed that no liens have been placed against any of the company’s accounts.
Furthermore, the following statement is untrue: “Thielman, in an exclusive interview with SMN News, said that NV GEBE hired him in 2011, and in that same year, he was injured on the job.” In fact, GEBE categorically denied that Thielman suffered any accidents while working at the company. In February 2022, Thielman’s employment at GEBE was dissolved by the Court of First Instance without awarding severance. This was later appealed. During the hearing on January 17, 2023, Thielman appeared before the Court of Appeals, where he was informed that he had failed to prove that he had been injured at GEBE.
It was also falsely stated that: “He (Thielman) appealed the case, and the Appeals Court ruled in his favor.” Parties reached a mutual agreement in good faith between NV GEBE and Thielman’s legal representatives after the court advised Thielman that he should consider the earlier proposals made by GEBE to settle the termination of his employment. After reaching a settlement, the Court of Appeals was informed, with all details confirmed in writing.
A main component of the settlement clearly outlined that Thielman would provide GEBE with a ruling from the St. Maarten Tax Inspectorate indicating that GEBE would apply a special tax rate on the settlement amount. Additionally, GEBE compassionately agreed that Thielman would not have to pay the fees in other court cases, which he actually lost against GEBE.
The settlement agreement also outlined that Thielman would be paid the agreed-upon amount within two weeks after receiving the respective Decree from the Tax Inspectorate from Thielman. This document was delivered to GEBE’s offices on January 31, 2023. Therefore, payment will become due on February 14, 2023. The fact remains that NV GEBE is well within the period agreed upon by the parties to pay the settlement amount. With the best intentions to make the agreed-upon settlement payment, NV GEBE is also making every effort to precisely determine the special tax rate. As a result, putting a lien on NV GEBE’s bank accounts would be unlawful.
After carefully reviewing the foregoing, NV GEBE has sent a legal notice requesting that Thielman immediately retract all incorrect material published unfairly and also, to cease and desist from defaming the company by making unfounded allegations, in an effort to mislead the public. If the aforementioned rectification is not placed on the website of SMN News – the social media blog that posted Thielman’s incorrect assertions without validation from reputable sources – by Friday, February 10, 2023, GEBE will be forced to take further action. Furthermore, Thielman will be held liable for any damages GEBE may suffer for placing unjustified liens on any object or bank account belonging to NV GEBE.
The present management of NV GEBE inherited this litigation and has been working hard to guarantee its successful resolution along with any other pending cases. The management of GEBE, guided by competent attorneys, is giving this matter their full attention, patience, understanding, and rigorous follow-through.
With this in mind, the community of St. Maarten can rest assured that NV GEBE stands firmly on its mission to serve consumers as a committed company that provides reliable, cost-effective, quality electricity, water, and waste management services in a safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and innovative manner. Towards this end, ongoing community updates will be provided with additional details on relevant matters.
To stay informed, please visit our website: www.nvgebe.com,and Facebook page:www.facebook.com/nvgebe, as well as credible media outlets for further information.