Federal Probe Reaches USVI Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White

FBI seizes cellphone of Commissioner Calvert White amidst a sprawling investigation into government contracts utilizing federal dollars

  • Ernice Gilbert
  • June 16, 2024

Dept. of Sports, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Calvert White. By. GOV'T HOUSE

The cellphone of V.I. Dept. of Sports, Parks and Recreation (DSPR) Commissioner Calvert White was seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents last week, in the latest wave of federal criminal investigations sweeping the territory.

So far, V.I. Department of Education Director of Maintenance, Davidson Charlemagne, and his wife Sasha Charlemagne; former V.I. Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson; recently-resigned VIPD Commissioner Ray Martinez; and Office of Management and Budget Director, Jenifer O'Neal, have either been charged, been notified of an intent to charge, or are being investigated by the FBI.

The Consortium has learned through sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity that Mr. White is being investigated in connection with a $1.8 million bid issued by DSPR for the installation of cameras on DSPR-owned facilities. The bid was awarded to Mon Ethos Pro Support, or MEPSVI — the same company believed to have been awarded several VIPD contracts. The most recent VIPD contract was awarded to Mon Ethos on Oct. 10, 2023, "to provide investigative support through data discovery and forensic analysis services." The contract is worth $1.4 million, plus another $134,564 for travel expenses. The agreement's term is from Oct. 2023 through Sept. 30, 2024.

Though a contract was not executed between DSPR and Mon Ethos, the company was awarded the bid, and federal agents are investigating potential interactions between Mr. White and principals of the company, according to the sources. Federal agents have requested that Mr. White provide all documents related to the bidding process to aid in their investigation, as they sift through data collected on his phone.

Reached for comment, Mr. White said he had recused himself from the bidding process, and therefore was not privy to how Mon Ethos won.

People familiar with the bidding process said Mr. White did in fact recuse himself, citing his relationship with Anthony D. Thomas — the former Dept. of Property and Procurement commissioner, and current VP of Strategic Alliance and Contracts at Mon Ethos.

"I recused myself from the bidding process because I knew that Anthony Thomas is part of the company, and Anthony Thomas and I worked together. I wasn't part of the bid packages, the evaluation, the scores, the selection — none of that. I was not part of any of that, and there's a document showing that," Mr. White said.

Investigators typically need a search warrant to seize a phone, which requires showing probable cause that the phone contains evidence of a crime. The warrant must also be approved by a judge.

Governor Albert Bryan is holding a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, where he is expected to announce plans following the resignations of Mr. Martinez and Ms. O'Neal, and the steps he's taking to stabilize the government during this turbulent time. V.I. Attorney Nominee General Gordon Rhea will also be present to speak about the recent swath of federal arrests and investigations affecting the Bryan administration at the leadership level.

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