More than $1 million owed to the V.I. Port Authority by Seaborne Airlines might have to be written off since the company, which had an exclusive harbor-to-harbor lease with the V.I. Port Authority, recently sold its assets to Silver Airways, agency officials said Wednesday.
Seaborne announced in January 2018 that it was in restructuring after filing for bankruptcy, and had facilitated the sale. At a meeting Wednesday on St. Thomas, acting VIPA Executive Director Damian Cartwright said that discussions are ongoing with the new operator to see what happens with Seaborne’s lease, which has not yet expired.
“We did send legal counsel to represent the Port Authority at the bankruptcy hearings, but we were not a secured creditor,” Cartwright explained. According to a quick Google search, a claim against a company is secured if the creditor has a lien against the property; the lien establishes an ownership right until the debt is paid.
“So, those negotiations didn’t go in our favor,” Cartwright added when asked by board members what happens to the money owed by Seaborne on the lease. “We might have to write off the debt, but we can’t go after Silver because they acquired the assets at auction.”
Cartwright added that the subject would be broached in VIPA’s ongoing discussions with Silver Airways, but could possibly turn into a legal matter. While the board opted to talk more in executive session, board member Joseph Boschulte pointed out that Seaborne’s lease could be considered an “asset” and if Silver Airways is given some of the same terms moving forward, discussions about the outstanding debt could be included.