Caribbean News, Latin America News:
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Sat. Sept. 25, 2021: A Caribbean company suing several US companies over a loss of millions and the non-fulfilment of an order for COVID-19 vaccines, has been given an extension to present proof detailing the citizenship of each individual they are suing, News Americas has found.
Attorneys for Radical Investments, a St. Lucia-based, Barbados company, filed a motion for extension with the court and received that extension on the original date they were supposed to present the information – Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. They now have until October 8, 2021, to provide the information to U.S. District Court Judge, Aileen M. Cannon.
Radical Investment according to the court filing, is suing: Good Vibrations Entertainment LLC, the only Florida registered limited liability company. The other defendants in the suit, according to court filings, are: Alex Lee Moore, Jr., A/K/A Alex Moore, A/K/A Flex Moore of Prestige Pegasus LLC, a Colorado limited liability company; Moniladae Coley, a/k/a Moniladai D. Coley; Charles Z. Stein, ESQ., a/k/a Charlie Stein; Davidovich Stein Law Group, LLP, a California limited liability Partnership and RDS Cargo Group DWC LLC, a United Arab Emirates limited liability company.
U.S. District Court Judge Cannon last week ruled that “before the Court may assess whether there is diversity jurisdiction, plaintiff must submit allegations or proof detailing the citizenship of each of the defendants.”
“The citizenship of one member may destroy federal diversity jurisdiction if complete diversity of citizenship does not exist between the defendant and all of the members of a plaintiff limited liability company,” the judge wrote in Fort Pierce.
The plaintiff could face a dismissal of the case if the information is not presented.
The case was first reported by Barbados Today.
Radical Investments says the companies failed to deliver on an order for the jabs, leaving the plaintiff millions of dollars out-of-pocket.
THE FULL DETAILS OF THE COMPLAINT AS FILED
Here is the full complaint as obtained by News Americas.
“In or around late March or early April, 2021, Mr. Mark Maloney, (“Mark”) the principal of Plaintiff RIL, was introduced to Moore via Cheryl Chamley, a Trinidadian national who resides in the United States and works in the PPE Sector. Ms. Chamley and Mark are business associates.
Moore, upon information and belief, resided at that time in or around the Boca Raton, Florida area, where he continued to reside at all times material to this Complaint, in a home owned or rented by Good Vibrations, of which Moore is the CEO/COO.
Ms. Chamley represented to Mark that Moore had the ability to secure COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca which Moore would be able to source and deliver to RIL for the purpose of vaccinating the nearly 300,000 citizens of the island of Barbados.
RIL was authorized by the Barbadian Government’s Ministry of Health and
At that point, Moore provided to Mark a sale and purchase agreement and escrow and paymaster agreement naming Stein as the paymaster.1
Thereafter Moore introduced Stein to Mark and Olivia Watson (“Watson”), counsel to RIL and advised Watson to direct any questions or requests for due diligence to Stein. Stein is an attorney at Davidovich Stein Law Group in North Hollywood, California. The purchase and sale agreement was executed on April 16, 2021.
The purchase price for the vaccines was to be $10.2 million. A commission of $2 million would be payable to Good Vibrations upon delivery of the vaccines to RIL in Barbados.
Upon signing of the purchase and sale agreement, RIL was to deposit the $12.2 million into an escrow account/IOLTA account. Moore was to provide an invoice from AstraZeneca for the one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, together with the information for the AstraZeneca account into which the purchase price of $10.2 million was to be paid.
Upon receipt of the details for AstraZeneca account, RIL would authorize the release of the $10.2 million to AstraZeneca (or to a qualified intermediary).
Within 24 hours of the release of funds to AstraZeneca, RIL was to receive the dossier for the vaccines from AstraZeneca, and the vaccines were to be delivered within 7 days of the release of funds.
As stated, only upon the actual, physical delivery of the vaccines was the commission of $2 million to be paid to Good Vibrations.
Almost immediately after the execution of the purchase and sale agreement, RIL unsuccessfully sought to obtain the invoice from AstraZeneca from Moore. The invoice from AstraZeneca was a necessary condition to release the escrowed
funds. Moore supplied documents purporting to be the invoice RIL was seeking. Despite RIL’s insistence, these documents did not contain account information for AstraZeneca. See attached as
Moore justified the lack of account information by stating to RIL that he was working with various intermediaries and because of certain confidentiality provisions, he could not supply the account details for AstraZeneca. Moore ultimately produced two letters which purported to confirm that Moore and Good Vibrations had the capacity to enter into the transaction for the sale of AstraZeneca Vaccines.
One of the letters was from DS Law Group and executed by Stein, stating that based on evidence presented to him, which included contracts for the right to sell AstraZeneca, irrevocable purchase orders, and letters of attestation, that Good Vibrations had been involved in the medical supply and distribution business and had negotiated contracts to sell AstraZeneca products.
On or about April 27, 2021, RIL, satisfied by the letters from Moore’s counsel, signed a release for the purchase price in the amount of $10.2 million, in the form of the Escrow and Paymaster Agreement.
RIL released the funds on the basis of the assurances it received from Stein, in his capacity as an attorney member of the California Bar.
Stein, as Paymaster, was only authorized to pay the sum of $10.2 million to Defendant Prestige Pegasus LLC, a “necessary” intermediary to facilitate the transaction at the account noted on the signed Escrow and Paymaster Agreement. Upon information and belief, Stein, solely and completely in his own discretion, ultimately made the following payments via wire transfer listed out of the IOLTA account:
34. April 27, 2021: $2 million to Prestige.
35. April 27, 2021: $2.2 million to Good Vibrations.
36. May 3, 2021: $2 million to Good Vibrations.
37. May 3, 2021: $485,000 to RDS, a foreign freight company based out of the United Arab Emirates, charged with handling the delivery of the vaccines.
38. In total, Stein paid out $2 million to Prestige, $4.2 million dollars to Good Vibrations and Moore, in direct contradiction to the paymaster agreement, and $485,000.00 to RDS for a total of $6,685,000.00.
39. On April 27, 2021, counsel for RIL corresponded with Stein via WhatsApp regarding the wire transfers listed above. Counsel for RIL requested via WhatsApp that Stein provide a copy of the wire transfer confirmation of $10.2 million to Prestige. At 6:11pm, Stein responded that there was no wire confirmation, because he had processed the transfer through an online portal and did not print the confirmation page. He also stated that he was automatically logged out of the account after the wire transfer was completed.
40. At 6:45pm, counsel for RIL, befuddled that there could be no evidence of an eight figure wire confirmation, pressed Stein, telling him RIL needed to see some sort of confirmation that the funds were in fact sent to Prestige to procure the vaccines, as was required by the Paymaster Agreement. Id.
41. At 6:57 pm, Stein responded and took a highly defensive posture, asking counsel for RIL where in the paymaster/escrow agreement it stated that he had an obligation to provide proof of the wire transfers. He also stated, quite curiously, that he just noticed that the escrow agreement had an exhibit with the account information (for Prestige) but that this had no bearing on his obligations in the Agreement.
42. At 7:00 pm, counsel for RIL pressed Stein for a third time, stating the obvious, that he as paymaster should absolutely expect that RIL could request confirmation of the wire to ensure Stein had properly performed his obligations, meaning that he sent the funds where they were supposed to be sent under the explicit terms of the paymaster agreement.
43. At 7:10 pm, Stein once again went on the defensive, stating that there were issues with the paymaster agreement and that it had been improperly changed. He also stated that Moore provided the information to him as to where the payment needed to be sent per Moore’s contact at Prestige, and that Stein issued the necessary wires to obtain the vaccines. Further, Stein advised RIL that he was withholding certain funds for shipment.
44. At 8:18 pm, counsel for RIL, flatly stated the objective fact that no changes had been made to the paymaster agreement. RIL expressed that Stein was provided with the proper account information, and RIL had only agreed for Stein to send the funds to Prestige in order to procure the vaccines, and if a further wire was required for shipment of the vaccines, that RIL would have to provide authorization. Counsel for RIL concluded its text by stating, very plainly, “All we are asking for is confirmation that the funds were paid out as instructed by us”, a seemingly reasonable request for a party to make regarding the end destination of wire transfers related to a $12.2 million deposit.
45. At 8:20 pm, Stein responded that RIL’s request for wire confirmation exceeded the scope of his role as paymaster, and to address any other requests to Moore.
46. Moore, who was also a party to this WhatsApp chat, responded thereafter that the funds had been sent to Prestige and that they were on track and on schedule, and he was speaking to AstraZeneca.
47. The plain terms of the paymaster agreement charged Stein with distributing $10.2 million to Prestige, to procure vaccines for the health and betterment of the entire nation of Barbados. Moore and Stein failed to mention during that WhatsApp chat that less than 20% of the $10.2 million had been sent to Prestige, nor did they mention that ultimately $4.2 million would be sent to Good Vibrations, in express violation of the paymaster agreement.
48. After these wire transfers took place, Moore introduced Mark to a Moniladae Coley of Prestige, who he represented as an intermediary with the capacity to procure and deliver the vaccines. Upon information and belief, Coley is the principal of Prestige, and was thought to act
as the liaison with respect to obtaining the vaccines for RIL from AstraZeneca.
49. Unbeknownst to RIL, Moniladai Coley was the subject of a lawsuit in the State of New York, in which a corporation DIAMOND HOOK MEDIA, LLC (“Diamond Hook”) obtained a judgment against Coley and Prestige Brands, Inc. in November of 2020 for $335,083.75. The crux of that matter was that Coley and Prestige had held themselves out as a New York corporation doing business in the PPE sector. It was alleged that Coley falsely claimed she was licensed to do business in the state of New York, and that Prestige Brands, Inc. was in fact a Nevada corporation, falsely claiming to be authorized to transact business in the state of New York.
50. The Complaint further alleged that Coley and Prestige held themselves out to be able to procure 1,000,000 FDA 3 ply face masks, for the price of $670,000.00, and that she could deliver them within 48 hours of payment of 50% of the purchase price, $335,000.00. Diamond Hook tendered the 50% payment to Coley and Prestige. Apparently, Coley disappeared, and Diamond Hook never received any of the masks, nor did they receive a refund for their 50% deposit. A judgment for the deposited amount was rendered by the Court in New York against Prestige and Coley therewith.
51. In late May, no progress with respect to the procurement of the vaccines had been made. RIL became concerned as to the status of the transaction and the capacity of the parties to perform and deliver the vaccines. On May 28, 2021, RIL issued a notice of its intention to terminate the agreement by signing Exhibit C of the Paymaster Agreement and demanded via this correspondence directed to Stein that it would require veracity of the vaccines it sought to be delivered to be confirmed, or, in the alternative, a return of its $12.2 million dollars it had put into escrow, which, unbeknownst to RIL, had already been largely misappropriated.
52. Stein responded to this letter by sending RIL a long, convoluted e-mail stating that he was required to release funds pursuant to the irrevocable pay order previously signed, and that at this point, the only amount of money he could return would be the $2 million which was to be paid as commission to Good Vibrations upon receipt of the vaccines. Stein also represented that he spoke to Defendant Coley who, according to Stein, rather incredulously stated that RIL was infact the party responsible for causing a delay in the delivery of the vaccines, and that RIL itself could be subject to a 1% penalty. Stein also referred to the inability of AstraZeneca to sell directly to anyone other than governments, which would necessitate the involvement of Prestige, a licensed distributor.
53. Stein merely noted that the $10.2 million had been distributed per the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement which stated that upon receipt of the AstraZeneca invoice (which again, had not actually been received and was fraudulent) the buyer shall execute an irrevocable pay order in accordance with the escrow agreement and upon receipt of same the paymaster shall release the sum of $10.2 million being the full purchase price for the products, to the AstraZeneca account, or to Prestige as an intermediary.
54. However, as previously stated, the $10.2 million was actually sent to the parties listed above.
55. RIL responded to Stein’s correspondence by making a simple, but critical statement that sums up Stein’s culpability: RIL told Stein that under the purchase agreement, Stein, as the paymaster, was only authorized to do two things with RIL’s deposit in order to procure the vaccines: pay AstraZeneca $10.2 million or pay Prestige $10.2 million dollars. Full stop. Stein did neither.
56. RIL reiterated in this correspondence that nothing had been done on the part of Defendants to verify these transactions related to procuring the vaccines were actually going to
take place, that the obligations of the seller were not being fulfilled, and that RIL was seeking to either have the veracity of the delivery of the vaccines confirmed, or it wanted its deposit returned.
57. On May 30, 2021, Stein responded to RIL, writing a rambling, scattered letter in which he took a highly defensive posture and denied any breach of his fiduciary duties, despite the irrefutable fact that the payments had been allocated by Stein in a manner not in accordance with the provisions of the paymaster agreement.
58. Shortly thereafter, Moore represented to Mark that he had a contract through Prestige with a company called Serum Pharma Ltd. which would enable them to finally procure the vaccines. Serum Pharma provided the prime minister of Barbados confirmation via letter that AstraZeneca had been overwhelmed by orders, but that they would make the Barbados vaccines that RIL had long sought as their top priority.
59. However, despite voluminous and repeated calls with the Ministry of Health in Barbados, between Moore, Coley and Serum Pharma, it became clear that neither Moore, nor Good Vibrations, Coley or Prestige had the legal capacity to enter into a contract to supply AstraZeneca vaccines, despite their insistence for months that they in fact would be able to deliver them. RIL ultimately spoke directly with Serum Pharma, who said that they would be happy to contract directly with RIL.
60. On June 25, 2021, RIL proposed the following: It would terminate its relationship with Moore and Good Vibrations and would contract directly with Serum Pharma to deliver the vaccines and pay Moore a commission upon delivery of the vaccines. On June 25, 2021, RIL sent a notice of termination to Moore’s attorney, Jonathan Sutton, in which it outlined its reasons for termination of the agreement and reiterated that Stein had distributed nearly $6.7 million dollars that had not been authorized by RIL, which constituted a breach of the purchaser and paymaster agreements. RIL offered a compromise where it would contract with Serum and pay Moore a
61. This proposal was accepted by Moore via his attorney on June 27, 2021.
62. Moore’s attorney forwarded to RIL a copy of a draft purchase and sale agreement to purchase vaccines through Serum Pharma, which, with Serum’s commission, would be in the amount of $14.3 million.
63. Despite termination of the initial agreement between RIL and Good Vibrations, and the subsequent agreement with Serum Pharma, Moore took it upon himself to write directly to the Prime Minister of Barbados on July 2, 2021.
64. Moore attached a purchase and sale agreement which was to be between Prestige and the government of Barbados in the amount of $23 million. Moore requested that the Barbados Government sign and return the purchase agreement immediately, and further stated in this correspondence that if the Government of Barbados signed this new agreement, it would be the fastest option for delivery of the vaccines. Moore understood that Barbados, with its weak position in the international community, was in dire need of vaccines and had significant difficult obtaining them, as Barbados is a small island nation. Moore’s actions cannot be seen as anything more than greed and an attempt to take advantage of Barbados’ position. In this agreement, reference was made to products purportedly to be supplied by Serum Pharma. As described below, Serum Pharma unequivocally denied and disavowed all knowledge of this agreement.
65. RIL forwarded the correspondence between Moore and the Prime Minister to Serum Pharma, who responded on July 3, 2021, stating that they had zero affiliation with Moore or the purchase and sale agreement Moore had sent to Barbados’ Prime Minister. Further, Serum Pharma stated that they never received or filled out any sort of agreement or opened any escrow pertaining to this order, and that any order from Moore’s group would not be acknowledged by Serum Pharma. Serum went to the lengths to say that the document Moore sent to the Prime Minister was copied and edited and was being used for nefarious purposes.
66. RIL, beginning to sense that Moore was involved in some sort of fraudulent activity, continued its discussions with Serum Pharma, but was unable to strike a deal for vaccines.
Ultimately, RIL sent correspondence to the British High Commission, inquiring as to whether or not AstraZeneca had actually allocated 1,000,000 doses of vaccines to Barbados, and whether or not Serum Pharma was legitimate. The British High Commission responded, stating that they had reached out to Astra Zeneca and Astra Zeneca had confirmed that it had no relationship with Serum Pharma, and that RIL should assume that it was not a legitimate opportunity.
67. After this final setback, RIL made the decision to cease its quest to obtain vaccines and sought a return of the funds from Stein. RIL and Moore sent Stein a signed amendment to the paymaster agreement, which sought a return of $5.475 million still in the IOLTA account to RIL, along with a request for information relating to all of the payments made out of the IOLTA account, in exchange for a release for Stein.
68. Per the terms of the release, Stein is obligated to aid as will be required to diligently pursue all recipients of funds from the IOLTA account.
69. As of the date of the filing of this Complaint, RIL has been returned approximately $5.4 million of its initial deposit, leaving approximately $6.7 million in arrears. RIL has been unable to obtain the funds transferred out of the IOLTA account by Stein. To be more specific, RIL has not been returned funds distributed to Defendants Moore, Good Vibrations, and Prestige/Coley. In addition, RIL has not been returned funds in the amount of $485,000.00 which were disbursed to RDS, a foreign shipping company.
70. With respect to Defendant RDS, Plaintiff was never advised of Defendants intended use of RDS to deliver the vaccines to Barbados via air freight. Curiously, Defendants appeared to have hired a corporation based out of Dubai organized under the laws of Poland, at a rate of nearly $500,000.00, far above the market rate to transport a relatively small cargo from Europe to Barbados. Plaintiff at no time approved, or even had knowledge, of RDS’ involvement, until after Defendant Stein had disbursed to RDS nearly half a million dollars.
71. Further, upon information and belief, Defendant Coley appears to have purchased, since the wire transfers took place, a Rolls Royce SUV, numerous diamond encrusted Rolex watches, various pieces of diamond encrusted jewelry, and various designer handbags and shoes, as evidenced by her Instagram account, which is available for public viewing.
None of these expensive, luxury items appear on Coley’s Instagram page prior to June of 2021. Even further still, Defendant Moore represented to counsel for RIL, Olivia Watson, that he had taken large portions of the funds he received from Stein and given them to his family.”
As such, RIL says it was forced to file this lawsuit “in order to seek redress and protect its rights.”
Radical Investments is represented by attorneys Steven B. Herzberg, Ralph Robert Longo, IV and Gerardo Alvaro Vazquez of Vazquez & Associates. They are suing for US $6,675,000.
On July 1, 2021, the Government of Saint Lucia out a statement saying that along with The Bahamas and Barbados, it initiated a bulk purchase of Astra Zeneca vaccines, through Radical.
“Saint Lucia’s contribution towards this arrangement was seven million three hundred and thirty-five thousand, six hundred and thirty Eastern Caribbean dollars and fifty-six cents (EC$7,335,630.56) to secure one hundred thousand (100,000) vials of the vaccine.
“The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, approved this purchase through Radical Investments Limited, following verifications by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure the capacity of the supplier,” the government stated. “At the time of the transaction, there was much uncertainty with regard to the supply of COVID-19 vaccines around the world and the Government was actively seeking reliable sources for the vaccine. The partnership with two other CARICOM countries provided the best avenue to do so.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, former St. Lucia PM Allan Chastanet confirmed to Barbados Today that they worked through Radical and paid out money that was lost in the deal.