OCTOBER 30, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
When Sonny Ramdeo, the former CEO of EZjet, announced his EZjet venture, critics immediately claimed that Sonny lacked the personal resources to fund such an enterprise and accused him of fronting for the venture’s real owner(s). Sonny responded by calling a news conference during which he asserted that he had invested his own resources, had recruited other investors, and was not fronting for anyone.
Sonny also argued that his low-fare airline venture would do well and survive. Sonny came across as an affable man with a fantastic imagination and gilded dreams, a selfless patriot who was willing to risk his own resources to operate a low-cost airline in a high-cost environment that had drained the cash and destroyed the dreams of others who seemingly possessed greater business acumen than he brought to the table. But the news conference only had the effect of intensifying the criticisms and heightening the suspicions directed at Sonny.
So when media headlines unexpectedly screamed that Sonny has been sued by his former employer for allegedly defrauding it of millions of US dollars to fund his EZjet venture, a sense of vindication overcame the many skeptics who have never believed Sonny’s claim that EZjet has been made possible by his own money. And that sense of vindication became an article of faith when Sonny himself alleged that his employer’s money was in fact invested in EZjet by senior management of his employer.
A U.S. court will ultimately decide who is telling the truth, but I offer readers some information on one of Sonny’s companies at the centre of the lawsuit. I also offer some information on EZjet’s application to become a scheduled carrier, as well as information on flights that EZjet has plans to cancel between October of 2012 and May of 2013.
Sonny’s former employer has alleged that Payserv Tax Inc. is one of the two companies through which Sonny funneled the millions he allegedly stole. Sonny registered Payserv Tax Inc. on 9/3/10, listing himself as the sole officer, registered agent, and incorporator and asking that 9/1/10 be granted as the corporation’s effective date of incorporation.
When Payserv filed its 2011 Annual Report, Rohan Persaud was added as a director but Sonny retained all of his prior roles. On March 28 of 2012, Payserv made a new filing that removed Sonny from all of his roles and listed Rohan Persaud as the sole officer and new registered agent. So Sonny was no longer an officer or registered agent of Payserv effective 3/28/12. But was he an employee? I guess that time will reveal the answer to this question.
Was money actually transferred from Payserv to EZjet in August and September of 2012? Sonny’s employer claims that US$5.4 million went to EZjet in those two months. But why did EZjet need a large infusion of cash in August and September? Perhaps an application on file with the United States Department of Transportation may provide the answer(s) to this question.
The Federal Register (Vol.77, No. 190) of October 1, 2012 reports that EZjet has filed an application requesting permission to operate as a scheduled airline between the U.S. and Guyana. A similar application (likely the same one), filed under OST-2012-0152, requested permission for EZjet to begin operating its scheduled service from as early as September 27th, 2012. So EZjet has made moves to go from a charter airline to a scheduled airline, an operation that probably requires much more money than a charter service.
It is also worth noting that on 9/25/12, EZjet informed the U.S. Department of Transportation that it will cancel twenty-six (26) return flights it has arranged with its charter carrier Swift Air, Inc for some days between October of 2012 and May of 2013. Those flights are from JFK-GEO-JFK and were/are scheduled for 10/7, 14, 21, 28; 11/04, 11/11, 11/18, 11/25; 12/02, 12/9; 1/20, 1/27; 2/03, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24; 3/03, 3/10, 3/17; 4/14, 4/21, 4/28; and 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, and 5/26. EZjet has promised that affected passengers will be placed on alternative flights or issued full refunds. It is interesting to note that EZjet is required by U.S. law to inform the U.S. government of all intended cancellations, which then become public record.
Perhaps a similar requirement and action by the Guyana government would mimimize the number of customers that are affected when charter carriers like EZjet eventually go out of business.
As we await the court’s decision on the lawsuit against Sonny, I have a feeling that Sonny Ramdeo and his EZjet venture are about to end their short flight into infamy.