That was the word used by an American lawyer, I.R. Greene to describe the treatment handed down by former Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell to one of his former employees in Brooklyn, New York.
Greene has been retained by Rodge Jones to file a civil lawsuit in the United States against Dr. Mitchell and his wife, Marietta, the owners of a multi-million dollar apartment block of buildings known as MK Manor that is located on Linden Boulevard.
The dismissed employee is seeking an estimated EC$1.08 million in gratuity payment from the Mitchells’ in connection with an agreement signed with him in 1982 to serve as the Superintendent of their apartments in the heart of Brooklyn.
The U.S lawyer blasted Dr. Mitchell as one who could lose all credibility if the Grenadian people knew the true facts of the manner in which he treated Jones who is a close family member of the former Prime Minister.
He said: “The suit arises from his (Dr. Mitchell) purchase of an apartment house in Brooklyn NY and his employment of his first cousin, Rodge Jones, a naturalised US citizen as resident manager of that building. The Mitchells’ treatment of Rodge Jones is disgraceful. Paid off the books by the Mitchells’, Jones never qualified for US Social Security. All that time, he had no medical coverage, no insurance, no pension plan.
“In his (Jones) last nine years of service, he had but one three week vacation. His reward for 27 years of faithful service was discharge and eviction. Even worse, the Mitchells’ breached their promise to pay him severance. No wonder your PM (Keith Mitchell) wants to quash this lawsuit. The Mitchells’ have left their cousin penniless after a lifetime of service. If the Grenadian people knew the true facts, Keith Mitchell would lose all credibility with the electorate”, he added.
Dr. Mitchell will soon be leading his New National Party (NNP) into battle against the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) in general elections for a new Government in St. George’s.
He has promised a new computer to every school child if re-elected to office, as well as to become a new looking Prime Minister from the one dogged by frequent allegations of corruption and wrongdoing in his previous 13 years in office.
The New York lawyer also ruled out the possibility of Dr. Mitchell being able to apply for immunity from prosecution in the Rodge Jones lawsuit if he won the general elections in Grenada and becomes the Prime Minister once again.
Attorney Greene pointed out that the lawsuit filed against Dr. Mitchell and his wife does not involve any “official acts” against Grenada.
“In fact, Jones v. Mitchell is a purely private matter involving no questions of state. It is purely a New York matter. All services by the Plaintiff (Jones) were performed in Brooklyn, New York. Moreover, when the Mitchells’ bought 484 Linden Blvd. Mr. Mitchell was not PM. When Mitchell fired Jones, he was not PM. This case is no more than a breach of contract by an employer (Mitchell and his wife) to the disadvantage of an employee under New York law”, he remarked.
“Nothing in the NY civil case has any relationship to “official acts” of Grenada or Mr. Mitchell’s status as the Grenadian PM. Mitchell certainly deserves something official because of his bad acts against Jones. However, one thing he does not merit is immunity from the lawsuit”, he said.
The lawyer also disclosed that the Mitchells’ will have to turn up in person on February 19, 2013 to give evidence in the case based on the ruling handed down last week Tuesday by high court judge Larry Martin.
“The Stipulated date has been changed for the deposition on consent from 2/18 to 2/19 because 2/18 is a public holiday in NYS. I will send …the amended order to you within a day or two”, he said.
Jones’ attorney was asked earlier to comment on claims being made by Mitchell that he knew nothing about a date being set for he and his wife to appear to defend themselves in the Rodge Jones case.
Greene issued the following response after hearing the contents of an interview, which was conducted between the former Prime Minister and MTV’s Cheavon Benjamin.
“This is most interesting. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. His (Dr. Mitchell) attorney has already agreed that he shall appear and give testimony. Apparently, this has caused him considerable distress. I will review this with my colleagues and get back to you shortly. Thank you”.
His response came nearly one week after Dr. Mitchell denied a published story in The New Today newspaper alleging that he and his wife were ordered by Judge Martin to appear in person in the case filed by Jones who is originally from Happy Hill in St. George’s.
“I don’t know about what you talking about”, was the response of Dr. Mitchell to a question posed to him on the issue by Benjamin.
Jones is seeking a gratuity payment of an estimated US$400, 000.00 from the Mitchell’s for his 27-years of service as the Superintendent of their multi-million dollar luxury block of apartments in Brooklyn.
The article “Keith Mitchell to appear in New York Court on February 18″ was published last week on the front page of The New Today newspaper and was accompanied by a copy of the court document filed by Mr. Jones (Plaintiff) against Dr. Mitchell and his wife (Defendants).
In what appeared to be a moment of confusion for the former Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell admitted that there are issues with an individual whom he said was fired for unmentioned reasons and that he has agreed to civil proceedings with an unidentified person.
He told MTV that what he has been dealing with is ” … a private business, I hired a worker and fired …how that become an issue here?”
According to documents obtained by The New Today, the former employee is accusing Dr. Mitchell and his wife of trying to renege on a contract agreement signed with him in 1982 to act as “The Super” of their building estimated to be worth US$8 million.
“The Super” has instituted court proceedings against the Mitchell’s to seek compensation, believed to be in the region of EC$1.08 million.
Unconfirmed reports are that the Mitchell’s had offered to pay Jones US$200,000.00 in a one-off payment but he turned it down on the grounds that it was insufficient.
However Dr. Mitchell told MTV: “I don’t know that, that is not true … that’s totally false … that totally false. “I don’t (know) where they getting their stories from. I’ve not heard anything like that, absolutely”.
“We have a lot of fictitious people in this country for whatever reasons … Seriously… it is the first time I’m hearing about this. I know there is a civil case that we have dealt with and are dealing with.
“We’ve decided to go to court … and certainly not the kinds of monies you talking about. Better I sell the building if that is the case, but I don’t know what you talking about. I have not been summoned”, Dr. Mitchell said.
Sources told THE NEW TODAY that the Mitchell’s had filed an earlier civil lawsuit against Jones to evict him from their property known as MK Manor in the heart of Brooklyn.
Jones was sacked and the job of “Super” for the Brooklyn apartments owned by the Mitchell’s given to Allen Mc Guire, the former Consul-General of Grenada to New York during the New National Party (NNP) administration stint in office.
Jones, a relative of the former Prime Minister, provided his services to the Mitchell’s at their multi-million dollar apartment building in Brooklyn since 1982 performing a host of tasks including the collection of rent from tenants occupying the building and to do all the necessary maintenance work on the property.
This newspaper understands that Dr. Mitchell and his wife signed an agreement with Jones agreeing to pay him 5% of the value of the property at the end of his contract in the form of a gratuity payment and for holiday pay.
The New York judge also set aside March 6 as the alternative date for Dr. Mitchell and his wife to appear to give evidence if bad weather like a snowstorm prevented them doing so on February 19.
This is the second known occasion that the former Grenada Prime Minister has been hauled before a US Court.
During his tenure as Prime Minister Mitchell legal action was taken against him by U.S citizen, Charles Howland to recover certain monies from Dr. Mitchell that he received from imprisoned fraudster, Eric Resteiner in June 2000 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
However he evaded due process on the grounds that he was the head of a sitting government.
Howland and dozens of persons were defrauded of more than 40 U.S million by Resteiner who was appointed to serve as a Grenada Ambassador during the rule of Mitchell’s former NNP administration.