Controversy surrounding ownership of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment’s (LBDI) Paynesville branch took a dramatic turn for the worse, when a wealthy Lebanese businessman was accused of receiving US$36,000 yearly from the bank as rental fees. This accusation came in spite of the Probate Court’s ruling declaring Telford Ammons the legitimate owner of the property.
In that ruling, Judge Vinton Holders declared: “the courts’ letter of administration issued to the men (Charles, Ernest and Philip Ammons,) admitting, ‘they misled the court and obtained the letter of administration for the Intestate Estate of the late Igal Ammons without any authorization or consent of the biological children, and executed leases on some of the properties.”
Judge Holders further ordered, “all lease agreements executed by them (Charles, Ernest and Philip) are hereby declared null and void, and we are revoking the court’s letter of administration issued to them.”
The property in question, situated on two and half acres of land, is owned by the Intestate Estate of the late Igal Ammons.
The new head of the estate, Telford Ammons, claimed, while they were out of the country, Elie Hiag built on their property without any authorization and is collecting US$36,000 yearly as rental fees from the bank.
Ammons said out of that amount, Hiag was offering US$2, 800 yearly as lease fees to Charles, Ernest and Philip Ammons, whom he said illegally secured a letter of administration from the court to lease the property in his absence.
In 2010 that letter was revoked by the Court after the Ammons sued for cancellation, declaring Telford, who is one of the biological sons of Igal Ammons, the new head of the estate.
“We have tried everything possible to secure our property from Hiag, but he has been refusing to hear our pleas,” he said.
“Mr. Hiag is using his wealth to claim ownership of our land, but that will not happen. We are going to use legal means to take back our property,” Telford declared.
“This is how these Lebanese guys are taking over property in this country. If it were not for them it would be business as usual,” he stressed.
When the Daily Observer contacted Hiag at his 18th Street, Sinkor residence, he ignored the court’s ruling and insisted he does not recognize the Ammons Family as the owner of the property.
He also refused to comment on the accusation of the US$36,000 in rental fees he was collecting from the bank.
“I don’t know the Ammons, and I’m not leasing from them either. I advise you to get in touch with Bamba Toure, the owner of AMINATA. Please don’t come back here anymore to ask me about the Ammons’ property,” Hiag said rudely to the reporter.