Hart spotted in Ft Lauderdale
Harts out on the town in Ft Lauderdale
By Curtis Rampersad Business Editor
Story Created: May 11, 2011 at 11:52 PM ECT
Story Updated: May 11, 2011 at 11:52 PM ECT
More than 14 months after he resigned from five State boards and abruptly left Trinidad and Tobago amid a police investigation into allegations of lying under oath, former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Calder Hart has resurfaced.
Hart, his wife, Malaysia-born Sherrine Hart, and their young daughter, Jean, celebrated Mother's Day (May 8) at an authentic Chinese restaurant close to their gated community condominium in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.
Exclusive photos obtained by the Express show Hart wearing a bright yellow and green short-sleeved shirt, with painted coconut trees on it, sitting with his back to the wall at the Hong Kong City BBQ restaurant at N State Road, Ft Lauderdale.
Hart's wife sits on the right and close to her husband at a table in the packed restaurant. In the photo they are both speaking to their daughter, who looks at her cellphone while other customers seated at nearby tables order and receive food.
The restaurant is located minutes away from the Hart's condo, according to Internet checks.
Hart, who turned 66 in April, resigned as chairman of UDeCOTT, the National Insurance Board, National Insurance Property Development Company (NIPDEC), the Home Mortgage Bank and the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company last year, left Trinidad and Tobago on a Caribbean Airlines flight on March 6 for Florida.
The man who was said to be a personal friend of former prime minister Patrick Manning, flew economy class with his wife and daughter. Manning met former attorney general John Jeremie one day before Hart left the country, after which Manning had a meeting with Hart. He later resigned as UDeCOTT head.
The Harts flew to Florida and settled into their five-bedroom condominium in one of the most exclusive properties in the Broward County area—the 38-storey Las Olas Grand Condominium complex at 441 North New River Drive East, Ft Lauderdale.
Hart, who was born in Canada but lived in Trinidad and Tobago for more than 25 years, bought the condo in June 2009 from Richard Gore and the Richard Gore Trust, real estate website Block Shopper stated.
The condo was said to have cost around $5 million.
The Harts condo complex sits on the waterfront and comes with valet parking, a concierge, 24-hour security, a heated pool and spa and club area.
Several American business people and former US government officials maintain apartments at Las Olas.
Last year the Congress of the People obtained what purported to be documentary evidence in the form of birth and marriage certificates showing a family link between Hart and the directors of CH Development, a company which won a $368 million contract under the Hart-led UDeCOTT board to construct the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower, in Port of Spain.
The company was awarded a separate $300 million contract to install internal fixtures to the building.
The first contract was $60 million more than the next lowest bid.
Hart had denied on two occasions before the Prof John Uff commission of enquiry into UDeCOTT and the construction sector that CH directors were his wife brother and brother-in-law. CH was later sold to Sunway Development, which took over the work on the Legal Affairs Tower.
An investigation examining the possibility of perjury charges during the commission of enquiry was initiated last year.
Police and former and current government officials said Hart left telephone numbers where he could be contacted and he was willing to return to the country if needed.
Contacted yesterday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the investigation related to Hart was with the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ramlogan has said previously that the decision to charge Hart with lying under oath is up to DPP Roger Gaspard.
In two separate interviews, in February and March, Gaspard said that the file relating to the perjury investigation against Hart was still in the hands of police investigators.
Hart's son, Chase Hart, the chief executive at CL Marine Ltd at Chaguaramas, could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday on what his father and family have been doing since they left Trinidad more than a year ago.