For “starting the trouble” in the Freeport’s Marine Park, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma T. Eisma has denounced Scott N. Sharpe, a disgruntled stockholder and former employee who led the forcible physical takeover in February of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI), operator of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort in Subic Bay.
Eisma told Subic Bay News that when trouble erupted anew at Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort on Monday afternoon, April 3, Sharpe called her and accused her of not doing enough to address the situation.
“How can you allow this to happen? Why is this happening in Subic?” Eisma quoted Sharpe as telling her, to which, she said, she retorted: “How dare you! You started it all!”
“This would not have happened if you followed the rule of law in the first place,” Eisma told Sharpe, “you should have gone to court and tried to settle it out there and filed for a writ of possession, not takeover without a court order… like in the wild wild west!”
Tensions again ran high on Monday afternoon, lasting through midnight, when Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel went to the marine park to arrest Sharpe based on a mission order signed by Commissioner Jaime H. Morente for alleged immigration violations.
Having learned of an impending arrest of Sharpe and fearing a resulting vacuum in the operation of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Hotel, some 300 displaced employees loyal to Tai went to the marine park in several buses, apparently to assume their former positions in the company.
However, for unknown reasons, BI agents Adonis P. Porpetcho and Isidro Jonathan Tayag failed to complete their mission and succumbed to the defiant Sharpe’s refusal to go with them to the BI headquarters in Manila. Sharpe offered, instead, to present himself to the BI Hq. the next day.
This emboldened employees working for Sharpe, including many new hires, thus, the resulting stand-off that saw sporadic verbal tussles and near clashes.
Both groups claim that the other committed illegal acts and at least three (3) persons were temporarily detained at the Morong, Bataan Police Station after the eight-hour stand-off.
Sharpe has not responded to email queries sent to him by Subic Bay News.
It can be recalled that shortly before midnight on February 13, 2017, Sharpe, along with personnel of a non SBMA accredited security agency, backed by PNP Special Action Forces (SAF), forced their way into Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort, claiming to have a court order which later turned out to be untrue.
Sharpe has since declared that he has assumed being company president, chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the Board of Directors, replacing President & CEO Arthur D. Tai and Board Chairman Dr. Robert Braun, who were both out of the country at the time.
Dr. Braun and Tai, who has since returned to the country, have refused to recognize Sharpe’s management, issuing statements that affirm their continued management of SBMEI with the concurrence of the Board.
The dispute stems from the alleged violation of the terms of the Voting Trust Agreements (VTA) between Tai, Sharpe and a couple of other stockholders, which a local court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Despite having no physical presence at Ocean Adventure and Camayan Hotel since Feb. 13, 2017, official SBMA and Security & Exchange Commission (SEC) records show that Tai remains the President & CEO of SBMEI.
Banks refuse to recognize Sharpe for lack of legal personality leaving him no access to the company’s bank accounts, relying merely on day-to-day cash transactions to fund operations and employees salaries, which at times appear insufficient.
Meanwhile, the some 300 or so employees who have opted not to work for Sharpe because of loyalty to Tai and, others, for fear of harassment, continue to receive their full salaries.
Tai took the helm of SBMEI in 2014, at a time when it was in the brink of bankruptcy, according to Investor Relations Officer Wayne W. DeCamp III, “due to inability to service debt” that ran up to some P200 M, “inability to pay salaries with many employees below statutory minimum wage… and inability to maintain and repair capital assets, degrading infrastructure and diversion of CapEx.”
DeCamp, in his Sept. 2016 report said that under the management of Tai, SBMEI, through Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort, recorded in “FY 2014-2015 (the) highest grossing year in company history (PhP488.4 million).
Tai has vowed to soon retake possession of Ocean Adventure and Camayan Resort with respect to the rule of law, not for his own sake, he said, but in consideration of the hundreds of employees and their families relying on him and the company.