Dart gets waivers on decade old Ryan deal

| 18/02/2021 | 67 Comments
Cayman News Service
North Sound Golf Club

(CNS): Fujigmo, a company once owned by Michael Ryan, the developer of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, was still receiving duty concessions on golf carts and materials for the North Sound Golf Club a decade after the deal was signed with government relating to the SafeHaven development. Dart now owns the club, and although the original resort project was never completed, waivers were granted just last year under this old deal.

According to the latest documents released to CNS as part of an ongoing freedom of information request for the concessions and waivers that government has given to developers over the last five years, Fujigmo is still enjoying concessions for the golf club as part of the SafeHaven deal signed more than ten years ago.

Because of redactions in the document released to CNS, it is not clear if Ryan, whose previous bankrupt companies still owe the public purse some $6 million in deferred concessions relating to the Ritz, remains a shareholder. however, a completely redacted change of ownership certificate released with the details of the golf related concessions implies that the beneficial owners have changed.

The golf course sits within a site where Dragon Bay, the proposed resort, would have been located. However, Ryan no longer owns the land that the deal covered, as it was sold, along with the hotel and related properties, to Dart several years ago after Ryan’s creditors moved on the controversial developer.

While several of his companies related to the Ritz project were forced into bankruptcy, Fujigmo, which was one of several parties in the SafeHaven deal, appears to have survived, though it is not clear if it has been transferred to new ownership within the Dart conglomerate, or if Ryan remains a shareholder, or even if that that company still owns the golf club.

While Dragon Bay, which was at the heart of the Safehaven deal and would have been anchored by the Ritz, never materialised, the golf club remains open. It is now the only golf course on the island after Dart closed the Britannia course when it bought that development.

Correspondence between the North Sound club and the Ministry of Finance shows that the new owners were granted duty waivers in 2018 on 60 golf carts valued at over $400,000, and last year received a 10% cut in duty on more than $382,000 worth of materials for the golf course itself.

This latest document revealing concessions given for major projects is one of several that have been released by the finance ministry over the last few months in response to a request by CNS back in September. While important revelations have been made, the redactions are still preventing the public from learning exactly who is benefiting from these duty concessions, large and small, that reduce public revenue.

See the original SafeHaven deal and the concessions document in the CNS Library.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This hurts so much and it makes me so mad every time 👺👺 Why all these concessions for the Rich, but the poor have to continue paying such excessive custom duties? Since the last 4 years under this Government, customs duties has been placed on Adult Diapers and Bed Pad. Who will this effect the most, but the poor elderly, sick and handicapped. Caymanians. In addition, should you get these items on a discount from overseas, duties is calculated on original price and not what it cost (eg should you purchase on sale your duties is not calculated on the sale price but on the original price). ..ridiculous No Help for Poor Caymanians but constant relief for the Rich investors who is only developing for their own gain and should be paying Developments Infrastructure Fees. Caymanians reap nothing from these recent developments. Custom duties is the is the largest Revenue maker in Government, so the poor must Pay, but the rich get waivers. Cayman is not Developing for Caymanians. where is our share of the pie?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amazing how Dart has the capacity to take on these new projects but doesn’t have the capacity to clean up his mess at the old Hyatt property. What a scam.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Corruption and conspiracy have become the norm. Both public and private sector variations. Rigged system where illegal purposes reign free.

    It seems not whether it is unlawful that is important, but whether the general public finds out and someone (who is honest) does something about it.

    Victims are not able to do anything, unless they can afford attorneys. Attorneys General is not doing anything, but allowing it to happen.

    Politicians are only held accountable when they stand to loose out and can no longer ignore the obvious. Caymanians and local residents pay the price and are the real victims, who have to pay for it.

    Cayman Islands is said to be a democracy, but these last four years point to a governance style as authoritarian, totalitarian or dictatorship. This is based on what is actually uncovered that comes to light publicly and cannot be ignore.

    Greed to is a horrible disease that spreads and infects for the worse. May God have mercy, because some are going to need it.

    Open your eyes and ears. Wait, watch, listen, learn. More to come. Stay tuned.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are no working gatekeepers, functional opposition, or legislative debate. Lots of people that don’t care and/or assume someone else will look after it, or that some oversight agency will hold those flouting procedures, standards of conduct (where they exist), and laws to account. These are all miscalibrated assumptions!

  4. Anonymous says:

    So when the Dart organisation donates millions to those who lost jobs, donates with another party the covid-19 test kits, builds and maintains parks everyone praises him but when he does pay a small amount of duty for some bloody golf carts, which would be spent most likely on one of the premieres stubid ideas, you all b@tch..
    Maybe just maybe we should chill a little.
    We allowed the Dart organisation here in the late 80’s, Mr Dart was granted status, which makes him a Caymanian, isnt it better that a Caymanian reinvests back into Cayman unlike several other organisations that take all their profits overseas and don’t put back in the community..
    Take you pick who you’d rather have.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not “we allowed the Dart organisation here”. Nor “granted status”. That was politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart and Shetty was the best thing that ever happened to Cayman since Cayman decided NOT TO Go with Jamaica when it went indendpence, but stayed a crown conoly under U K.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart laid-off $6mln/mo in payroll and you think that was offset with a $1mln one-time starter donation to 3C? For an island of financial professionals we are not very good with numbers are we? The organization and their vulture culture and mafiaesque political appointees are the worst thing to ever happen to the Cayman Islands. Many of the colluding personalities should be in jail, and would be almost anywhere else.

    • Anonymous says:

      donates millions who lost their jobs??? haven’t heard about that before. that is why people have to make a choice health ins or food or lights.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman have enough , should be no more DEAls. If they want to build more of anything make them pay the full duties.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dart had to close Britannia golf course because it was losing money..at least thats what the big chief said in an interview…its all nonsense of course

    BTW isn’t it amazing how well they keep Britannia for everyone to see? What lovely people

    • Anonymous says:

      North Sound loses money ha d over fist. It only survives because Dart is factoring in the increase in land values consequent on having the course there ( or maybe he likes to play or host friends!). Britannia real estate was fully developed already. :so a large expense for other peoples gain. More money in tearing up the course and building houses.

  7. Bertie : B says:

    Cayman hangs by a thread , Vote wise or say so long to your lifestyle and history . God Bless Cayman .

  8. Anonymous says:

    Think there is also a golf course at the Ritz, so North Sound (Safehaven) is not the only one.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think DART even understands their full responsibilities as a landowner. There are basic obligations with running and maintenance costs which sometimes run counter to the master asset value. eg. With all the “cash”, staffing resources, hectares of stockpiled fill, and paving connections, it still took DART over two months to fill and patch dangerous flooding and holes on the main easement access road across their property to the golf course, crystal harbour homes, and government quarantine hotel. We really need to change our tone in future dealings with them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha- ha – ha – ha – ha – ha – ha – ha – ha – ha -ha – ha – ha – ha – ha – ha!

  10. J .A Roy Bodden says:

    Congratulations CNS on your revealing journalism . You are certainly doing your part to keep readers enlightened and aware.

    Now , let us see how many people will act as they should. On April 14th the Caymanian people will have a chance to correct the course and put an end (even if only momentarily ), to the rot and corruption which is so prevalent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Roy tell the out of work Caymanians that these concessions that will spur economic development and create hundreds of jobs is a bad idea.

      It is this old thought process that has led to concessions having to be granted in the first place.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah. Shed loads of jobs due to Dart being allowed to buy golf carts duty free. On a concession that Michael Ryan reneged on. How stupid are people not to see that! Tell you what buddy, do t worry about it – just drink a little more of that Koop aid and it will all seem fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Corruption starts with politicians and their masters and handlers.

      But corrupt civil servants and public servants, who are planted drones, to do their bidding after corrupt politicians are voted out.

      Attorney General, who is a major part of the problem, and DPP are not doing their job. Private prosecutions are urgently needed.

      Reckoning is coming. Get ready.

  11. Anonymous says:

    all the philanthropy to the community probably doesn’t really cost these developers anything. It’s nothing more than a broad contentment campaign, – the community is bowled over with generosity, the MP’s/Official become the ‘ego gooders’ for both sides and the developer gets what he wants gaining PR traction for the same bottom line cost had he not rec’d the concessions, – does it work ? yeah kind of until the objective truth is unraveled and corruption becomes the top token observed stemming multiple obligations amongst the network. The real truth is Bobby & Gail happily swing on their swing partitioned purposely from where the environment and upstanding values collapse around them.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Vulture philanthropy”: last spring, before Dart laid off $6mln a month in recurring hotel payroll, they “pre-empted” that headline by donating a million bucks (and up to $3mln in matching funds) to 3C, to be steered by Kris Bergstom of the Planning Board. I’d wager $1mln constitutes less than one single night’s interest on DART’s cash portfolio, maybe but a few hours of it, but in Cayman, against a desert of corporate indifference (even when judged against Caymanian Billionaire developers) it is an outstanding offering. If there were a passable measure of proportionate best practice Corporate Social Responsibility in the Cayman Islands, we wouldn’t recognize this place.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for CNS and CMR. Women with balls. Keep up the great work ladies.

  13. Anonymous says:

    All of these concessions given to these big money making companies should be going in to the CI government purse.

    The Caymanians who are trying to build a house, should be given these concessions.

    I feel sorry for the young Caymanians – they will not even be able to buy a piece of land for themselves or be able to own a house, the way I see things going.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh but money is going to the CIG purse but it has to move under the table and across a bottomless chasm first. That is the bottomless chasm of politician’s pockets.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t act like there is not collusion and conspiracy with the private sector as well. Politicians and private sector do things together that are unlawful. What’s wrong is wrong, period.

      • Anonymous says:

        You act as if giving it has to be a direct benefit stolen from government coffers.

        Benefits are provided to family (and friends), such as jobs. It’s horse trading.

        Some of this is hidden in plain sight — right in front of everyone’s eyes.

        Not hard to find, but honest people think different than dishonest people — instead from an honest lens (not a dishonest point-of-view).

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel conflicted on this.
      However true, this is not a new thing. Young Caymanians haven’t been able to get on the property ladder for quite some time.
      But at least they are driving a new car. I mean that is a sad truth. It is easier to afford a new car than property, so…

      Priorities are different up in here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why does Dart need concessions??

    • Anonymous says:

      to keep a loss making golf course open…

      • Anonymous says:

        Is the crux. Is it worth it to the Cayman Islands to subsidise the golf course because it apparently helps to attract high spending tourists and business people?

        We assume CIG is doing the business analysis on each of these duty waivers. (Even if based on assumed numbers, as all such are.)

      • Hubert says:

        Yes, but the property the golf course is on has gone up in leaps and bounds the past 10 years.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gee, what happened to the Arnold Palmar course that was to be opened by now?

  16. Dartland politics 101 says:

    This sounds familiar as it was the same arrangement with the Kimpton site where a struck off company was resurrected by nefarious means and certain govt officials drew enormous benefit from it and now works for DART and now the retired politically connected chief officer is a big time consultant for the same employer. This shit only happens in Cayman So I am not surprised by this which is totally legal but yet the same Michael Ryan is now at the Fin development project on South church street getting yet more concessions because he is connected to this governments political elite. No corruption says Roper ?? Looks like we made it eh MP more profit Hew ??

    • Anonymous says:

      Any police investigation? Nope – just status grants for all concerned. A freaking outrage!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Did Roper REALLY say, “NO corruption” ???

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup. And yet it happens in the open, in full sight of the authorities, and nothing ever happens. An investigation of the status grants would reveal illicit dealing up to our ears. What do we get for the millions we spend on law enforcement? Crickets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Eyes open.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Now where’s that tip jar..

  18. Anonymous says:

    Vote them all out!

  19. Rick says:

    Great journalism. This is what makes democracy work. We cannot hold them to account without facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep. Imagine what muck CNS could uncover with more staff and the chance to employ dedicated investigative journos? These girls do a sterling job themselves though 👍

      • SSM345 says:

        You see how figity and agitated they all get when CNS asks them questions that they don’t like answering?

        Its indicative of all the wrongs they commit and continue too; or they just curse and shout at them…….Govt updates were a prime example during lockdown.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great job CNS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whatever facts you can glean thru all the redacted bits!!
      How is beneficial ownership redacted??? I thought that was what it was ALL about??
      No wonder Caymanians can hardly keep up! Those in the know just HOPE their brethren will take no notice.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a reason someone bought the loss making Compass, who in turn bought Hurleys Media.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Boy if we could shake the trees from all the “under the tables deals” our politicians made their riches from it would crazy and most revealing..

  21. Anonymous says:

    Concessions and corruption:
    I am prepared to vote for anyone who runs against the current MLA who is a PPM honcho. I will not name the MLA because that would be giving him free advise.
    So how do we ensure this new green MLA that I will vote in ,will not give away the same concessions. How will I ensure that the lodge and the well known consultants like Kurt and Gene have not set them up.
    A sure remedy for the voters would be the ability to recall the MLA. 25% constituents through a petition should be able to trigger a recall vote.
    Let this sword hang over every MLA to keep them honest – an oxymoron but effective

  22. Anonymous says:

    And you wonder why our politicians are so arrogant.. lots of money swirling around the deals over the years. We need some honest politicians to get into Parliament and release every corrupt deal done over the last 30 years or so..

    The people involved in these deals would surprise you… but then again for most of us, it may not ..

  23. Anonymous says:

    Yet a caymanian can’t get a stamp duty waiver for the least of monies. Let’s vote with purpose this year. Furthermore I think locals and expats alike that have been denied small duty concessions pertaining to business or home ownership should start to file some lawsuits against the government. It’s clearly either very bias or corrupt in the process of how these concessions get doled out to the rich.

    • Anonymous says:

      The law seems to apply different in regard to extreme wealth and others. Rigged system that is designed to keep regular men and women down.

      Realize that Caymanians are so nice to an extent that it’s to one’s own detriment. Then, if they speak up, they ridiculed as a liar, fool or obstructionist. Facts!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Any question about who owns the Cayman Islands government?

    • Anonymous says:

      What? There is NO question who owns our Cayman Islands gowernment… LOL

      In case you need in plain as day; Dart and Mac.

  25. Anonymous says:


  26. Anonymous says:

    Ah well, a deal is a deal. Sucks to be You I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Waivers where extended for a resort that didn’t follow in good faith. Meanwhile for the derelict Britannia Hotel, Dart owes the public purse $10,000 per day times 6,005 days (September 11, 2004 – February 19, 2021), that’s over $60mln in penalties and rising daily. Maybe CIG should square our account by forfeiting all of Dart’s associated Duty Waivers with immediate effect?

      • Anonymous says:

        Bet they are applying the “concessions” to this?

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe when CIG ponies up for the derelict Glasshouse they can start trying to charge others

      • Anonymous says:

        Ahhhh… Dart didn’t own the Hyatt at the time of Hurricane Ivan and if fact didn’t buy it until 2016. But why should facts interfere with your hatred?

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