Ex-Bluesky Chief denies allegations

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 22 May 2017, 12:00AM

The former President of Bluesky, Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro, has vehemently denied allegations against him in a civil lawsuit filed by Bluesky in American Samoa.

Yesterday, Aoe’e, who was also the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, issued the denial in a statement he released to the Samoa Observer.

“The accusations against me contained in the lawsuit recently filed against me by Bluesky are unfounded, and I look forward to clearing my name at the appropriate time,” Aoe’e said. 

According to Talanei, the civil lawsuit against Aoee and his company, A.C.M.A Management Consulting Inc, is for compensatory, consequential and punitive damages for an amount according to proof at trial and for punitive damages from the defendants. 

The lawsuit alleges that despite earning hundreds of thousands of dollars each year as C.E.O of Bluesky’s family of companies in the South Pacific, Aoe’e and his company, A.C.M.A Management Consulting Inc. exploited their position of trust and authority with Bluesky.

The lawsuit claims they improperly assigned a “property lease of a house renovated by Bluesky to A.C.M.A, Montenegro’s company, while also diverting business funds for Montenegro’s personal use without the knowledge or consent of shareholders of BlueSky.”

A.C.M.A is a management company Aoe’e set up to provide management services for Bluesky’s companies in American Samoa and Samoa.

Aoe’e declined to discuss the details of the lawsuit.

But he said he is saddened by how things have turned out.

“After so many positive, energetic and constructive years helping Bluesky grow throughout the South Pacific to the benefit of Amper SA as the controlling shareholder, it is unfortunate that things are ending on such a sour and malicious note,” he said. 

“The success we enjoyed at Bluesky was based on adhering to high standards and our core values, which included Placing the Customer First, Team Work and Integrity.

“For so long as Bluesky teams stay true to the core values and uphold the high standards, the teams will continue to enjoy success and earn the respect of their customers and communities they serve.

“The same is true for me as well: I will continue to stay true to the core values and uphold high standards in order to earn the respect of others and be a positive force for the betterment of our communities.”

According to the lawsuit, under the last management agreement between Bluesky and A.C.M.A which was effective in April 2014, A.C.M.A agreed to provide the services of Montenegro as President and C.E.O of Bluesky in American Samoa and Blue Sky Samoa.

Montenegro’s compensation package according to the suit included a salary of $260,000 per year, an annual bonus of up to $130,000, a stay bonus of up to $100,000, housing and transportation expenses including a vehicle not to exceed $109,000 per year, a daily per diem of $110, tuition reimbursement for children of $20,00 per year for two children, a travel allowance of up to $60,000 per year plus health and life insurance reimbursements of up to $36,000 per year.

Other benefits included free internet and cell phone usage, gym fees in both Samoa, and 20 paid vacation days per year. 

Aoe’e also enjoyed the use of company housing in American Samoa, Samoa and Cook Islands. 

The lawsuit further indicate that Aoe’e while C.E.O converted a home leased by Bluesky on Canco Hill to his company, A.C.M.A, without authorization.

He is accused of engaging in unjust enrichment of himself at Bluesky’s expense. 

In doing so, Bluesky alleges that Aoe’e breached his fiduciary duty to Blue Sky when he illegally transferred the lease property to his company and spent $50,000 of company money on renovations of the home.  

“This action is a breached of his duty of loyalty to act in good faith and not to commit acts of fraud, bad faith or willful tortuous misconduct and that he breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implicit in the management agreement between Bluesky and A.C.M.A by, in bad faith, unilaterally converting property of Bluesky for his personal use and benefit and doing so without proper notice or adequate consideration to Bluesky.”

The suit states that in 2015, Bluesky’s parent company Amper was facing financial struggles resulting in a capital shortfall.

“Seeing an opportunity, on or about January 2015, Montenegro through counsel Barry Rose formally notified Amper and Bluesky of his intention to organize an investor group to purchase certain equity interest in Bluesky and ASH, the American Samoa Hawaii Cable, of which ASG is a minority shareholder.

The suit alleges that Montenegro, while CEO of Bluesky made both direct and indirect efforts to disrupt and or frustrate the planned buyout of Bluesky, even after Bluesky’s parent company had signed a letter of intent with Fiji company Amalgamated Telecom Holdings, and after Montenegro had been instructed by Amper to facilitate the sale of Bluesky to ATH.

Meanwhile Montenegro headed a group of investors who made an offer to buy Bluesky. The suit also indicates that an investigation is underway into the various dealings of Montegnero. 

“Bluesky anticipates moving the court to amend the complaint once sufficient evidence to support additional causes of action is obtained. 

“In addition to compensatory, consequential and punitive damages from Montenegro and ACMA in an amount according to proof at trial, the suit seeks declaratory judgment that the home at Canco Hill belongs to Bluesky and a lease agreement that Montenegro effected assigning the home to ACMA is null and void.

“Bluesky also wants all its funds and assets that were coming led with Montenegro and ACMA’s to be reimbursed or returned.”

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 22 May 2017, 12:00AM

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