American-born businessman, Roger Ver has vowed to get back each and every dollar that was allegedly swindled from him for use on the controversial Levera project in the north of the island.
Ver has dismissed claims made by Minister of State for Education, Senator Simon Stiell that the monies that he handed over to Oveson to acquire a Grenadian passport was returned to him.
“I haven’t received any of my money back at all yet”, said Ver in reference to the U.S$1 million that was sent to the bank account controlled by a local agent involved in the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme.
He accused Oveson of misleading him to switch from the US$350, 000.00 investment in Mount Cinnamon hotel at Morne Rouge to the bigger US$1million project at Levera in order to facilitate the passport.
Oveson and his older brother Randall had formed two companies in Grenada to do the multi-million dollar Levera project.
The brother told reporters two weeks ago that Robert Martin Oveson who was also using the name Robert Martin was asked to resign as a Director of the local company due to perception about him.
Ver has filed a criminal complaint with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) about the alleged fraud that was committed against him by Oveson.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, he outlined the experience that he had with Oveson: “When my application had been denied, Oveson kept this fact secret from me. He misled me to believe that my application was just proceeding slowly, but if I switched my investment from
$350,000 in Mt Cinnamon, to $1,000,000 in Levera, the process would proceed much more quickly. I was eager to have a second citizenship, and one that would provide visa free travel to China, so I agreed.
“After about a year had gone by, I decided to visit Grenada to see why things were going so slowly. While staying at the Mt Cinnamon Hotel, by chance I met with the Manager one morning at breakfast.
When I told him my name and that I was involved with Bitcoin, he recognised it due to my previous application at Mt Cinnamon. He was then nice enough to inform me of the truth regarding my application.
“I was stunned to learn that my application had already been denied nearly a year earlier and that Oveson had been deceiving me the entire time. The next day I had lunch planned with Oveson, but I hadn’t told him I found out my application had already been denied.
“At that lunch I asked him what the status of my application was. He again lied and concealed the fact that it had already been denied.
Oveson tried to lead me to believe that my application was still being processed and the ultimate decision would be favourable.
“The next day when I confronted Oveson with the truth, he pretended that he thought he had already told me that my application had been denied. He is one of the most dishonest people I’ve ever had this displeasure of coming into contact with in my twenty years of doing business.
“After I confronted Oveson and demanded he pay me back the money he had cheated me out of, he offered to pay back $100,000 per month for the next ten months. Obviously I rejected this and told him he needed to pay me back everything immediately.
I hope Oveson is punished to the full extent of the law for his criminal actions.
In recent weeks, the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has been seeking to distance itself from the allegations of fraud within the CBI programme.
Spokespersons for the administration have likened the fall-out to a private matter between Ver and Oveson.
During the launch of the Levera project in November 2016, the elder Oveson brother disclosed that the funds secured came from CBI proceeds and people who are interested in Equity investment.
He said that all the monies raised by the developers will go into the project.
Randall Oveson said: “We’re committed, we put our heart, our soul, our money, everything that we can into this and we have got many wonderful people who are starting to join us, both from the Citizenship by Investment programme and as well as other people who are interested in Equity investment and helping see this project to fruition.
“As Rob (Robert Martin Oveson) mentioned (in his speech at the launch in November 2016) every cent that we are raising goes into this development…the goal is not to take things off, the goal is to create the project, t build the hotel, to make this resort functional and to bring employment to the island.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces the speech delivered by Randall Oveson at the groundbreaking ceremony for the launch of the Levera project in which he praised government for its input: “I have attended many break-ins in my life. Robert and I (were) raised by a father, Steven Oveson and he was a developer – that’s what he did his entire life from as early as I can remember.
My father would come home with business construction plans, roll them out on the table and talk through things and talk about (what) we needed (to) change and what we were missing and what needed to be fixed and so I remember from being a young boy, being taught how things should work, make sure you don’t miss this, make sure you are taking care of the guests in this way.
My father worked for a man…the two of them started a little company…it built about 24 hotels and in the early 1980s they sold those hotels to a company called Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn took those 24 hotels and changed the brand to Embassy Suites hotels.
Robert and I had the honour of being raised by one of the men that was the founder and developer of the Embassy Suites chain and so our whole life has been about hospitality – it’s been about how do you build something that takes care of people and then how do you take care of them when they come and so that has been how we have been raised.
I was forced to do everything at a hotel, I worked in the Laundries, I drove people to the airports, I checked people in and out. I’ve done everything from the lowliest worker to General Manager at a hotel, so I understand a little bit about how those things work and I am not saying that to brag in any way but I am saying that because Robert and I have taken our knowledge and experience, our family history and background and we are committed to this project. We are not taking this one lightly at all.
As Robert (Martin Oveson) said this project has a history of starting and stopping, so we understand the skepticism. I can tell you that we guarantee that it can continue to move forward from here from this point on.
We’re committed, we put our heart, our soul, our money, everything that we can into this and we have got many wonderful people who are starting to join us, both from the Citizenship by Investment programme and as well as other people who are interested in Equity investment and helping see this project to fruition.
We know that there are many risk here as we take on this project…it’s a little bit different, it’s further north. There are no other resort on this part of the island and we understand that…it’s a risk but it’s a risk that we’re willing to take on.
As Rob (Robert Martin Oveson) mentioned every cent that we are raising goes into this development…the goal is not to take things off, the goal is to create the project, to build the hotel, to make this resort functional and to bring employment to the island.
We’ve had about 10 people employed here for this past year; today at this point we have approximately 25 people employed between all of the crews that are doing different things.
As we get to the point where the wall start to come up in the next few weeks those numbers will approach more like 40 people and will go up from there as the first phase approaches.
There will be over a hundred people employed in this very place and when the entire project is done, it will provide over 400 jobs to the island of Grenada.
We intend to improve both sides – those of you who are familiar with the project know that there is an entrance coming from the Bathway side and there is the old La Fortune road that goes back (to) Sauteurs. We plan to develop both of these sides of the resort so that there is local access to everyone to this wonderful beach.
It’s our intent not just to provide access but beyond access, beyond jobs, we want to be involved in education here and some of you know we have been working with the Grenada Schools Incorporated programme, which is focused on literacy here on the island.
It is our goal to help improve literacy, increase Mathematical skills, increase everything that we can in primary, secondary schools and then to bring in managers that can help train people so that they can have specific jobs – they can learn to be Chefs, they can learn to do the things they need to do to take care of people in the very best way possible.
So the intent is to bring in Managers to help, have them train local individuals who would then become the Manager themselves and take over the management of this project.
We want this project not just to be something we can come and run but something that the local (will) run and love because it is their own.
working with many of the excellent services in the area. I have been able to visit many of these locations…local rum factory, Leaper’s Hill, Grand Etang, Grenville, Belmont Estate.
There are going to be many things that we plan to work with others in the area on and we highly commend the Grenadian government for investing in the Break Water in Sauteurs.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Mr. Taylor and the Levera Resort Development group for working so closely with us to allow us to take over this project, to allow us to step in, to allow us to utilise everything they have put together so far over the years for not being able to push forward this. It’s a difficult project as we’ve said, I wanna thank him for allowing us to step in and do this.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Government of Grenada for their support and thank you for your concessions and commitment to work with Grenada Citizenship Development.
I thank all the Grenadian government agencies for their support thus far and ask you to recognise and help us face the particular challenges that developing on this site and bringing to fruition this project and would ask and wherever possible you might give us special consideration and cooperation, as we need it.
We likewise commit to work with you; the government of Grenada in making this project a special portion of the island.