Row Surrounding JetGate, Donation Continues

May 17, 2014

[Updated] The ongoing row over “JetGate” and Nathan Landow continues, with Members of Parliament sparring over the matter last night [May 16] in the House of Assembly.

Last week Think Media quoted a source as saying the OBA received a $300,000 donation from Maryland real estate tycoon Nathan Landow prior to the last election, which took place in December 2012.

Following that report, the Bermuda Sun reported that Mr. Landow himself confirmed that some $300,000 was sent by himself and his various associates.

Under current laws, the island’s political parties are not required to reveal their sources of funding, however on Wednesday, OBA Chairman Thad Hollis said that the Party never received funds from Mr. Landow and his known associates.

The Chairman added that the OBA plans to conduct an internal investigation into the matter and make their findings public.

The Sun’s report cites Mr. Landow as saying the money was not wired directly to the OBA campaign, but to a group called the “Bermuda Political Action Club,”

Bernews also understands the money was not sent to the OBA, but was instead sent to a separate account that at least two people had access to, with indications suggesting it could actually be closer to $350,000.

Video of OBA Chairman Thad Hollis discussing the matter on Wednesday

Following the initial report, Opposition Leader Marc Bean said, “Whether the OBA received the $300k from Landow is their own affair and will be for the Party to deal with internally.

“What concerns me and I think the people of Bermuda is whether those funds were part of some quid pro quo related to gaming or a casino license. Only the Premier can answer that question.”

In response to the Opposition Leader, Premier Cannonier said, “There was never any quid pro quo agreement with Mr. Landow.”

Following Mr. Hollis’ statement about the internal investigation, Premier Cannonier said, “I welcome and support any effort to ensure full transparency and accountability.

“The inquiry was approved with a view to clearing away doubts and questions that are distracting attention from the Government’s hard work to rebuild Bermuda’s economy and the much needed jobs that come with it.”

Mr. Landow — a multi-millionaire whose jet was involved in the “JetGate” incident — has a history of being involved in casinos.

In January 2012 the state of Maryland rejected a bid led by Mr. Landow to build a casino at the Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort.

Mr Landow’s application was to build a casino with 500 slot machines and the application included about $25 million in state bonds to finance the construction of the facility, the Daily Record reported.

His interest in casinos is said to stem back decades, with a 1978 Washington Post story saying that Mr. Landow had hired Joe Nesline, who was alleged to be an “illegal-gambling kingpin” as a consultant in an unsuccessful effort to build a casino in Atlantic City. Mr. Landow later said the article contained inaccuracies.

Under present laws, casinos are not permitted in Bermuda, however last week the Premier said the Government plans to bring legislation to create the statutory framework to legalize casino-style gaming.

This follows after the announcement made in December 2013 that Government would not be holding a referendum on gaming, and instead the matter would be decided by a vote in Parliament

During the run up to the 2012 General Election, the OBA pledged to hold a referendum multiple times, and their election material [PDF] stated they would hold a referendum on casino gaming.

The decision to cancel the referendum received a mixed reaction, with some criticizing the Premier for going back on an election promise, while others felt it was a good move.

Mr. Landow told the Sun he was no longer interested in having a casino on the island, and the Premier recently stated that although Mr. Landow did express an interest in developing the St. George’s hotel property, his company did not submit a proposal in time.”

Last night’s ZBM broadcast asked the Premier whether the account the money went to was held by Stephen DaCosta and Derrick Green, which the Premier declined to answer.

ZBM also asked Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell the same question, to which Minister Crockwell replied, “I think there is some consistency with the names you mentioned,” but declined to answer a strict yes or no saying he has not seen documentation.

Mr Dacosta is a private business associate of the Premier who was also on the “JetGate” flight last year, while Derrick Green has served as a consultant to the OBA. The Premier was first asked back in March if  Mr. Greene was involved in arranged or attending involved the meetings with Mr. Landow, to which he said “no.”

When asked last night by Bernews if the money went to Mr DaCosta and Mr. Green the Premier said, “I’m not going to be talking to donations that come into the OBA.

“That’s something that parties had never done. It is not a rule, and we’d prefer to keep that internal at this time…as you know we’re looking at these things.”

The Premier also acknowledged meeting Mr. Landow while in Opposition, saying, “I had met him one time before.

“I can’t remember the exact time, but it was during the time that we were the opposition. I was introduced to him by an American lobbyist at that particular time.”

It is understood there is some division within the OBA over the matter, with some factions of the Party supporting the Premier, while others feel it may be more suitable for the Premier to step down in light of the circumstances surrounding this donation.

Update 11.23am: The One Bermuda Alliance confirmed that a joint meeting of Parliamentarians and members of the OBA executive will be held at OBA Headquarters in Hamilton this afternoon, and said they will have a statement afterwards.

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Comments (28)

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  1. swing voter says:

    Another amusingly entertaining session ;-) Another session of non-productivity ;-(

    • Steve Biko says:

      P.L.P was disgusting, O.B.A/ubp are disgusting, pathetic and embarrassing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. lizard says:

    It was rumoured (reliable sources) that John Duess funded the PLP victory.

    Whats the difference now?

    • Tired of the Ignorance says:

      Are you dopey or are you being just plain STUPID. The issue has NEVER been the donation. There is NOTHING wrong with the donation. Anyone can support a political party, ANYONE. Mr. Landow gifted $300,000.00 to the OBA or so he thought. The money NEVER made it into the OBA coffers so WHERE did it go. That’s the issue and you obviously have no issue with it, but guess what? Mr. Landow does. The OBA chairman has an issue with it and rightfully so. When the next bomb drops you might change your position.

      Stay tuned, won’t be long now.

      • We the People (1st!!) says:

        Exactly. You are 100% correct.

        It has nothing to do with the donation.

      • Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

        Point of clarification…

        Where in Mr Landow’s interview did he state that he had a problem with where the $300K went? Mr Landow knew that the funds were not going directly to the OBA, that accounts for Thad Hollis NOT knowing about the donation; it was never received into the OBA accounts – end of investigation.

        Mr Landow knew that the funds were being used for political purposes, and he highlighted some of those purposes. Mr Landow knew the name of the group that the funds were sent to; Bermuda Political Action Group. Now provided that this Group can substantiate how, when and where they used the funds, and here again, Mr Landow was aware that the funds were being used not along traditional lines, but rather, “We were told that it was campaign contributions and it was what you might say an underground campaign for getting out the vote, getting people to the polls,” So, if they (Bermuda Political Action Group) managed the funds in accordance with the expectation of Mr Landow and his associates, then this case is closed even to OBA insiders.

        Even the OBA insiders/executives do not have a legal leg to stand on unless your Constitution expressly states otherwise. Enact laws on political contributions or revisit this issue in future, in many other forms.

        It was a very sophisticated manner in which a select few OBA insiders got this contribution (from Democrats rather than the conservative Republicans) and were able to use the funds with the overall knowledge and approval of Mr Landow and his associates, but not with the knowledge of many in the OBA.

        What does your Constitution say here? Does it state anything about political donations? Was there a legal oversight here?

        Cannonier may be a novice, but he’s pulling a political stride here that’s very sophisticated.

        London, England

        • Steve Biko says:

          Not to mention that when asked if he knew Mr. Landow he said no, when asked how many people flew on Mr. Landow’s private jet he said 3 but one of his managers just happened to bum a ride when it was confirmed it was four, not to mention his manager who is not a Government Official sat in the meeting and giving $300,000 dollars to a total stranger is not something successful business men practice.

    • Trust Me says:

      Why is PLP worrying about who and what and how they are going about getting the country in order. PLP head, is just jealous and they are the ones holding the country back. Ever since February, he, Mr. Marc Bean wants to talk about this jet. Man, leave it alone and move on, you guys had your chance to bring gambling here when Mr. Brown was in power, and yet, you all went against him. So whats that telling us, you guys are just a lot of talk and pointing fingers. Grow up. YOu guys would never make American politics. We could have had this gambling row stamp, signed, sealed and delivered by now, but you, PlP is just driving the resources away and now the man dosen’t even want to invest here now cause of your childish games. Stop playing with the politics Mr. Bean and Move on now or I won’t have PlP back anymore!

      • Redo says:

        Amen!! I am so sick of hearing about this! Get over it. Move on!!

      • We the People (1st!!) says:

        You don’t believe what you wrote, do you?

      • Signs of a Weak Foundation says:

        I always believed that the PLP would make a very good opposition. Why should Marc Bean leave it alone and move on? This matter needs to be dealt with and NOT be swept under the carpet.

        “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” – Bo Bennett

    • We the People (1st!!) says:

      Come on now, you cannot be serious. Why are you defending this and deflecting a serious issue talking about the PLP? Why? This has nothing to do with the PLP.

      Mr. Johnson revealed last week, using an anonymous person, that Mr. Landow donated money to the OBA. People were so quick to discredit this report because of the anonymity and hey demonized Mr. Johnson for making such claims which we now know are 100% correct, verified, and true.

      The Premier and all OBA members denied these claims, saying they never received the money. Thus the OBA chairman announced earlier this week that he will do an internal investigation, because Mr. Johnson’s article has some validity to it.

      The difference would be, if Duess did provide funding to the PLP (which has not been verified), no one was asking, where did money go? The chairman and the PLP officials did not say, ‘we never received the money.’

      $350,000 is a LOT of money for OBA officials not to know what was done with this money or where it went.

      I am sure you have a little integrity in you, to look and all the evidence and events and come to the conclusion that the way the Jetgate, OBA, and Mr. Landow relationship history is simply wrong.

      The island reputation because of this Jetgate has taken a huge hit. No, it is not the PLP’s fault. It is the OBA’s fault on this one.

  3. Accusations and innuendos aren’t facts…Now please, lets deal with issues that really matter.

  4. Tell The Truth says:

    Be careful what you wish for. If it becomes necessary to reveal the sources of political donations both parties may suffer from lack of funding.

  5. Triangle Drifter says:

    Deem it a plantation question & move on. There are far more important issues to deal with than a free plane ride.

    • We the People (1st!!) says:

      If this Jetgate issue is not important, then why is the OBA chairman doing an internal investigation?

      Why is the OBA holding “a joint meeting of Parliamentarians and members of the OBA executive will be held at OBA Headquarters in Hamilton this afternoon, and said they will have a statement afterwards.”

      I guess at the moment, this is a very important issue.

    • Evie says:

      Why I’am not surprised at some of the comments it is a hard pill to swallow when the truth is revealed

      And you have been saying that it’s not so only to find out it is.

      What I find really hilarious is the whole time that the OBA was opposition they cried corruption

      God don’t sleep SMDH

  6. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    When all sorts of accusations were being made against Brown, his defenders demanded solid proof at every turn. (Quite rightly so)
    Unethical but not illegal was the defence.
    Now, many of the same people want to drive Cannonier from office based on speculation and innuendo only! Having said that, he certainly hasn’t helped his cause any, with his various versions of the incidents.

    If this is going to be the pattern going foward we are doomed. Be careful what you wish for.

  7. Mark Bean…the adverage person in Bermuda are extreemly aware of your denile….no one was worse that plp in how they travelled,spent money,300,000,000 missing..gone…never to return…you lot were the example of what not to do in political history,worldwide…..perhaps on other worlds in other galaxies….in other solar systems,in different time lines,tangent dimentions….so on and so forth…you have the audacity to claim to be a better option?To whom?…..You my dear are your own worst enemy….de nile…and place blame…is that it?…is that all?….Man …go back to sleep….you just had a brain fawt….it will subside…then reality will set in… may not…under any condition …have the check book…no….you can’t have candies…

    • Evie says:

      You definitely have the right name don’t forget how this all started with Craig Shaw and Mark P blaming Marc Bean for deliberately trying to harm the referendum he Mr Bean has every right to clear his name looks like both parties have their own brand of koolaid hahahaha

  8. Justice For All says:

    So let’s look at this from a different angle. Landow and Scott throw Cannonier under the bus. Oh and don’t forget Crockwell (“there is some consistency with those names you mentioned”) too.
    It is all orchestrated by the person who is waiting in the background to become the next Premier of the country which was the original plan from the beginning.

  9. Need Peace says:

    So…….Landow and Associates “DONATED” campaign funds to get the voters to the polls? Is that the explanation? How? By making sure they had gas in their vehicles? I’m sorry! I believe Mr.Bean’s version of the lawsuit against him! Stinks of corruption!

  10. Need Peace says:

    So…….Landow and Associates “DONATED” campaign funds to get the voters to the polls? Is that the explanation? How? By making sure they had gas in their vehicles? I’m sorry! I believe Mr.Bean’s version of the lawsuit against him! Stinks of corruption! If PCC wants to adapt the attitude of DEB then he deserves to crash and burn too!