Telemedia sues for $10 million from Ashcroft group for Channel 5 and Coney Drive building

Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) is suing 11 defendants, including former BTL chairman Keith Arnold and the parent company of Channel 5 – Great Belize Productions, for just over $10 million in damages because of the detachment of Katalayst Development Limited, owner of Great Belize Productions, from BTL just before the nationalization of BTL in August 2009.

Channel 5 has called the lawsuit “a legal attack.”

Asked why they are suing for money and not trying to recover the assets, BTL chairman Net Vasquez told Amandala Wednesday that they chose to sue for money based on legal advice the board had been given.

Vasquez said that the company has documentation to prove that it had paid out the funds, in excess of $10 million, to purchase shares in Great Belize Productions/Channel 5, as well as to purchase a building on Coney Drive where the media company has been located since 2009.

BTL’s minority shareholders have been questioning the board why no legal action had been taken to address what the board had alleged to be an illegal move. Chairman Net Vasquez had indicated at the last annual general meeting of BTL in December 2010 that Michael Young, SC, of Youngs Law Firm, had been hired to file a lawsuit.

Notice of that filing was issued this week, when Young indicated that BTL has filed suit for relief for loss and damages caused to BTL because of “unlawful and wrongful acts” by the defendants.

Listed as defendants in the claim (#145 of 2011) are Arnold, Philip Zuniga, Shire Holdings Limited, Rocky Reef Ventures Limited, Ibis Investments Limited, Scarlet Ventures Limited, Seascape Limited, Channel Overseas Investment Limited, Thames Ventures Limited, Great Belize Productions and Katalyst Development Limited.

The notice was addressed to Channel Overseas Investment of 212 North Front Street, Belize City, and dated April 19, 2011.