A Sex Predator from the United States has been unmasked in Grenada.
He is Erik S. Pedersen, who is listed on a website as a “registered sex offender” from the State of Illinois with a criminal track record involving a number of counts of sexual wrong-doing.
Pedersen is operating a business on the Carenage in downtown, St. George’s that was formerly occupied by the Karma nightclub and since renamed Winners Club.
THE NEW TODAY was made aware of the Sex Predator by an angry local woman who sent to this newspaper information from an internet search engine that gave details into the background of Pedersen.
The memo from the lady reads: “An alarming matter has been brought to my attention which I believe the Public should be aware of concerning the gentleman now in charge of the Night Club formally known as Karma now Winners Club.”
“Mr. Pedersen is apparently a registered sex offender in the United States with six (6) counts of aggravated sexual assault on his record. I am a very concerned citizen and mother that a person like that will be allowed to enter our country and run a club where many of our young people are sure to frequent.
“Moreover, it has been brought to my attention that his behaviour is not that of a person who has reformed being already convicted six times. I don’t know what can be done at this point, however I think that the Minister (of National Security) should be aware and steps taken to secure the well-being of our young ladies”.
Several calls made by THE NEW TODAY to a telephone number given to us went unanswered for about one hour.
However, when Pedersen did return a call, he was asked to confirm or deny the internet reports about him being a convicted sex predator from the United States but the Operator of the Carenage business said: “I will call you back, I am in the middle of a meeting”.
He ended the call abruptly and up to the time of going to press, the so-called American investor did not return the promised call to THE NEW TODAY.
A source close to the business outfit told our News Desk that the controversial Pedersen used the law firm known as Justis Chambers of current Attorney-General, Cajeton Hood to facilitate his business on the island.
He said that Winners Club paid US$20, 000.00 to Hood’s law firm to register the business and its operations to run a casino-style operation on the Carenage.
He spoke of the company already importing 50 “Video Gaming Machines” into the country and paying a handsome figure to the Customs Department in taxes.
“That is just the initial 50 machines that came in. There are plans to bring in much more”, said the source who asked not to be named.
He identified Pedersen as the “local man” on the ground for Winners Club but pointed to two other Americans living in the U.S as persons who are also involved in the operations of the casino-style enterprise.
The main operator is said to be a lawyer from Chicago named Alex Salerno.
According to the source, the business is not making huge profits as yet and that it was unable to pay its bills to GRENLEC and a few weeks ago the electricity company pulled the plug on Winners Club.
He said that an undisclosed sum of money allegedly came into the country from Chicago to pay GRENLEC to put back the electricity.
The official confirmed to THE NEW TODAY that the hierarchy of the Immigration Department at the Botanical Gardens at Tanteen have been aware for sometime now of the criminal record of Pedersen.
He said Immigration officers had given the so-called investor a particular time to leave Grenada and that he left the island on board a plane to neighbouring Trinidad, spent one week there and came back into the country as a visitor.
“There was really nothing that the Immigration could have done at the time. When he was leaving for Trinidad, they did not mark anything on his passport so he was free to come back to Grenada as a visitor and he did”, he added.
The source pointed out that the American then quickly got married to a local Grenadian woman that would allow him to get his citizenship and to be allowed to work and live on the island.
About two months ago, THE NEW TODAY had picked up information about an operator at Winners Club who had offered a woman from the River Road area the sum of EC$10, 000.00 to facilitate a marriage for Citizenship.
The source said that this is not the same woman who got married to Pedersen at a beach ceremony held at a local hotel in the south of the island.
He spoke of a senior member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Prime Minister Mitchell being present at the marriage ceremony and witnessed the proceedings.
THE NEW TODAY is not aware whether the Ministry of Home Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Mitchell has already granted Grenadian citizenship to Pedersen.
The source also confirmed to this newspaper that the temperamental U.S businessman had once struck a local worker who had to be restrained since the local wanted “to beat him up”.
“He is a hot head. He flares up easily and is always in some kind of a conflict with people”, he added.
Winners Club has reportedly signed a nine-year sub-lease agreement from the owners of Karma.