Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort has shut down its Manila Sales Office on Monday (March 6), according to the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI), operator of the marine theme park in Subic Bay forcibly occupied since last month by a group led by a disgruntled stockholder.
“We decided to shut down our sales office at Mandaluyong, Metro Manila to put a stop to the systematic looting and theft of company revenues,” said Arthur D. Tai, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of SBMEI.
Tai said the unauthorized team deployed by the group of Scott N. Sharpe, who led the forcible takeover of the Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort in Subic on the night of February 13, 2017, has been committing irregularities “wherein payments have not been deposited to the company’s bank accounts but instead are channeled and funneled to personal accounts.”
“The closure of our Manila Sales Office was also an implementation of a plan announced as early as January 2017 to move it back to Subic,” Tai explained.
In a press release, however, Sharpe’s camp condemned the closure of Ocean Adventure & Camayan Resorts’ Manila Sales Office, referring to it as “forcible entry” with allegations of “theft of company property, and grave coercion of its employees at the hands of Arthur Tai…”
But Tai, firmly denying Sharpe’s allegations, said that the closure “was done in accordance with law… during regular business hours by legitimately authorised company representatives working with authorities. The removal of company property came as part of plans that has been initiated as early as January this year to move the office to Subic as the Lease Contract on the building in Metro Manila came to a close in February 2017.”
“Our team that shut down our Manila Sales Office was accompanied by Mandaluyong City policemen after proper coordination and prior notice to the Building Property Management of BC MLA Corp.,” Tai said.
“Sharpe’s people who have already previously resigned from the company, led by one Ma. Elena “Gatchie” G. Balino, but have returned to takeover the sales office at the behest of Sharpe, were operating without authority and illegally,” Tai added.
Joellizzle Gwynne G. Barbosa, a treasury assistant of SBMEI, has issued a signed statement narrating the chronology of events toward and up to the closure of the Manila Sales Office.
Barbosa’s statement, among others, attested to what Tai referred to as “systematic looting and theft of company revenues” by Sharpe’s group. Barbosa said she was instructed by one Carmela Cruz, also a resigned employee like Balino, not to deposit cash collections, as well as checks, to the SBMEI bank accounts, because Sharpe’s group cannot access the funds after failing to convince the banks of the legitimacy of their takeover of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort.
According to Tai, legal remedies against Sharpe’s group have already been initiated, as discussed, and in consultation with other members of the SBMEI Board of Directors.
Tai also debunked Sharpe’s claims that he is not in the Philippines and cannot return. He met with close to 200 SBMEI employees on Sunday, March 5, who have stopped reporting for duty in protest of Sharpe’s forcible takeover of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort.
“I am here and I have no intention to leave,” Tai said, “we will take back possession of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort… in accordance with the rule of law. It may take a while this way… that is why I ask for your patience.”
Employees who met with Tai were paid their salaries in full for the period, in contrast to employees who continue to report for duty who, according to Tai, either have not received their salaries, or paid only partially by Sharpe’s group, which has been relying mainly only on daily cash collections in SBMEI’s facilities in Subic.
The conflict plaguing Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort stems from a dispute on Voting Trust Agreements (VTA) between Tai and Sharpe’s group which has reached the Olongapo City Regional Trail Court that, however, cited lack of jurisdiction and therefore, dismissed the case without ruling in favor of any of the contending parties. Sharpe then, aided by private security guards, PNP SAF (which denies involvement) and Morong PNP personnel, made his move on the evening of Feb. 13 to forcibly take over the facilities in Subic even without a Court Order.
SBMA has condemned Sharpe’s takeover as unlawful and improper. Sharpe and his supporters, however, continue to occupy and operate the marine park & resort to date, despite the lack of manpower and resources, which, Tai worries, could be endangering the welfare of the sea animals being cared for in the facilities.
Questions sent by Subic Bay News in connection with SBMEI’s bank accounts and employees’ salaries have not been answered by Sharpe’s camp as of this writing. -30-
Also, read: http://subicbaynews.net/?p=16573