Associates of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s husband, billionaire hedge fund investor S. Donald Sussman, have become key players in a major bribery scandal that is rocking the Department of Justice and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Daily Caller has reported that Virgin Islands Governor John De Jongh, Attorney General Vincent Frazer, and a number of USVI Senators have been named in a sealed indictment relating to at least $20 million in cash bribes to U.S. Department of Justice investigators and public officials in the USVI. The Daily Caller obtained this information through leaks from a source familiar with the indictments.
Sussman has been a resident of the USVI for years, and uses a controversial tax shelter managed by the Virgin Islands Economic Develop Commission (EDC) for his company, Trust Asset Management. Though parameters of the tax shelter require his residence in the USVI, Sussman has recently claimed that he is a resident of Maine, since his 2011 marriage to Congresswoman Pingree. Pingree and Sussman continue to frequent their multiple mansions in the islands, and have entertained notable figures on their private jet vacations, including Congressman and former Chair of the Financial Services Committee, Barney Frank. Details of Sussman’s tax shelter use were reported by the Weekly Standard in 2010.
Sussman shares a number of close relations to indicted governor John De Jongh.
Governor De Jongh appointed Sussman to the Board of Trustees of the University of the Virgin Islands in 2008. According to De Jongh, “[Sussman’s] professional experience and his dedication to service and philanthropy in the Virgin Islands make him the right candidate to fill the vacant position on the university’s Board of Trustees.”
Sussman then made a pledge of $1,000,000 to the university.
Sussman’s attorney is Paul Hoffman. Hoffman has been described as a “good friend” and top advisor to Governor De Jongh, even offering the “Introduction of the Governor” speech at the 2011 Inauguration ceremony for De Jongh.
Sussman also served on the inaugural committee of Governor De Jongh in 2011.
De Jongh and other USVI government officials face a growing expose of nefarious financial dealings. In addition to the bribery scandal, the Daily Caller has reported that De Jongh’s wife is on the payroll of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein, like Sussman, is a recipient of the USVI EDC tax credit. Epstein was convicted and served 13 months in prison for committing sex crimes. Epstein admitted to procuring underage girls and having sexual relations with them. He has settled 17 cases with other women who have made similar claims.
Sussman’s attorney Paul Hoffman also represents Jeffrey Epstein.
Hoffman is a major supporter of Congresswoman Pingree, and has contributed $7,000 to her congressional campaigns. Hoffman’s law practice manager Angela Walters has also donated $4,700 to Pingree.
Pingree’s office said that she, “has never met Gov. De Jongh and has no association with him.”