Tax Refund Advocates Sue Over Mapp’s Elder Care

A taxpayer advocacy group recently filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kenneth Mapp and the Human Services nurse he’s employed as a special advisor since 2015.

Members of the group, Taxpayers for Advocacy in Government filed he lawsuit Friday in Superior Court on St. Thomas. It cites a report appearing in the Virgin Islands Daily News as the reason the group took action. TAG’s Complaint for Declaratory Judgment seeks direction from the court, forbidding Mapp from securing nurse Sylvia Archibald as a special advisor for his personal use.

Before Mapp was sworn in as governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Jan. 5, 2015, Archibald worked at Herbert Grigg’s Home for the Aged. Documents obtained through the filing of a Freedom of Information request shows the nurse was appointed a special advisor to the governor on Jan. 2, 2015.

After that, documents say, she was assigned to care for the governor’s mother, Vashti Hewett Mapp. Mrs. Mapp suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and her son, Kenneth, served as her primary caregiver until the time he took office.

Plaintiffs in the case say the governor has the right to appoint special advisors, but their duties have to relate to government functions.

Attorney Alex Golubitsky filed the complaint on behalf of TAG, a group established in 2017. It’s primary purpose, he said, is to compel the payment of overdue tax refunds.

Since then, Golubitsky said, the group has pursued several court actions. But because the special advisor complaint was entered at the start of the three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend, paperwork was still being processed Tuesday.

“Don’t have a case number yet,” the attorney said. Once the processing formalities are completed and the case is assigned to a judge, TAG hopes for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

Last week, a reporter from the Source posed a question by email to the governor, regarding his home care arrangement. Mapp was asked if he would like to see other government workers with similar circumstances have the opt for elder care help as an employee benefit.

So far, Mapp has not responded.