SAMOA HOTEL PROJECT RESUMES AFTER 2-YEAR DELAY

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APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 22) – The hotel-casino project announced for Aleisa several years is to go ahead after a two year lapse.

The hiatus was caused by a row between partners Taimalelagi T. Tilialo and Sidney Binder.

But an out of court settlement has seen the partners back together and set to go ahead with the casino project, they told reporters yesterday at Taimalelagi’s residence at Mulifanua.

Mr Binder said their split was caused by lawyers, whom he regarded as friends, giving him wrong information in order to steer him away from projects in Samoa, and towards other activities.

He and other investors Attorney Marc R. Tow & Associates and All WorldWide Products Inc., accused Taimalelagi and his daughter Kelly Joyce Muaitofi of defrauding them of over a million United States dollars and took court action.

The alleged defrauded money was intended for investments in Samoa.

Taimalelagi denied this and said the best place for the truth to come out was in Court.

He too laid a complaint in court.

All the complaints involving he and Mr Binder against each other have been withdrawn from Court, Taimalelagi said.

"We (Taimalelagi and Mr Binder) now know we were set up by the lawyers," he said.

They used an American-born Samoan, Lisa Falaimo, to do it, he said.

The businessman said he, his family and children were defamed by stories carried in Samoa Observer here and in its sister paper in New Zealand about the affair.

It is possible they will sue Samoa Observer, he said, "and the Observer sue this Samoan girl, Lisa Faraimo, and the group who gave statements to them."

"I’ve got to look at it with care."

They should have waited until the court case was over before making statements, Taimalelagi said.

Mr Binder said Faraimo was a friend of his who came to Samoa for the first time to visit family.

APOLOGY

Mr Binder apologised to Taimalelagi and his family for all the grief they’ve been subjected to before reporters yesterday for statements he made and reported by the media.

"I’ll take the blame for it because I didn’t check that closely with the people I was with because I thought they were telling me the truth," he said.

"So we can’t blame Tai, you can blame me for all the problems caused. Because I was the one who brought them to Samoa.

"Now I’m going to correct that and go forward, be happy, laugh and sing and do the things that are good in this country - with God’s help.

"Without my knowledge I had somebody working behind my back in my own country who was supposed to be a friend of mine, an attorney by the name of Marc Tow, and another person," he said.

"These two individuals started a conspiracy against Tai ... by telling me things that were not true.

"Because the purpose of what they were doing was to keep me in the United States working with projects they wanted me to work with in the United States, and not to go to Samoa at all.

"When they told me Samoa was a terrorist nation, I paid a little attention."

Knowing that Samoan law was based on New Zealand law, and having visited and walked around in the country early hours of the morning without being under any threat, Mr Binder became suspicious of what his lawyer was telling him.

His research confirmed this.

"So I got to thinking about the things that Tai and I did together when we were together originally on this project and I found that no way was he doing anything that was wrong.

"When you get angry, you do a lot of things."

Mr Binder said he was angry because he thought he was being used and not told the truth about what was going on.

He said he and Taimalelagi have agreed to start afresh and continue with their projects.

"All the lies are gone and the truth is out there."

He said he has medical equipment to be donated to the country from America. Taimalelagi said legal action against Mr Binder’s former associates who caused the split between them, has been started.

"One thing I hate is a liar," Mr Binder said.

"I’m from the old school. When I shake somebody’s hand, it’s trust and honour."

Taimalelagi said his out of court settlement with Mr Binder was confidential.

TWO YEARS BEHIND

Taimalelagi said they are almost two years behind schedule on their projects because of the hold up.

They have two corporations registered in Samoa already.

"One is called the Princess Hotel and the next one is the Contiki International Resort and Casino," said Taimalelagi.

"We are concentrating on that."

The 20 acres of land at Aleisa is freehold and private, the Mulifanua businessman said.

Churchgoers are opposed to the building of the casino, to cost some $US23 million, and it was debated in Parliament, he said.

MPs were worried the casino would break up families.

"But what about bingo?" Taimalelagi said.

He said the casino would only be for tourists.

"We believe the more we offer the longer they stay. The most important thing is getting to the goal line.

"I am a tourist man. I have been in the tourism and travel industry for almost 30 years."

Taimalelagi said they talked Wednesday with Samoa Trust Estates Corporation for 10 acres of land at Mulifanua to be leased for a hotel.

The Princess Hotel proposed for Aleisa is estimated to cost $US10 million.

They have 11 projects they’ve submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration, Taimalelagi said.

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