Former banker Donovan Crawford files US$230M defamation suit against Harvard and others

Friday, August 12, 2016

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Jamaican banker Donovan Crawford, formerly of Century National Bank, announced in a press release on August 10 that he has filed three lawsuits against Harvard College, a part of Ivy League Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States; the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario; and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

According to Crawford, he has filed the three defamation lawsuits with the Fulton County Superior Court in the US state of Georgia (now being considered for transfer to US District Court of Northern Georgia, Atlanta Division) seeking US$230 million collectively in damages over reports which formed part of two studies conducted by two of the institutions, and which were publicised by all three.

Crawford said in his release that the stories were "false, erroneous, pernicious and extremely damaging, causing ruin".

As he relates his story, he and his family have held 53 per cent shareholding in Century National Bank, Jamaica’s third largest Bank; Century National Merchant Bank, the 2nd largest Merchant bank; and Century National Building Society, the 2nd largest building society (in terms of asset size), with consolidated assets of over US$2.8 billion at the time of a ‘hostile take-over’ based on the prevailing foreign exchange rate at the time.

He and his family also owned 49.4 per cent of the Renaissance Jamaica Grande hotel, the largest hotel property in Jamaica, and held majority control in Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Jamaica, the largest medical insurance corporation in the Caribbean, Crawford related in his release.

The former banker noted that before filing the lawsuits, he had requested retraction of the reports, but has received none.

He said that his bank was taken over by the Government while he was on a business trip overseas. He accused the three institutions being sued of maligning his character globally, adding that the alleged action resulted in devastating effect on his ability to conduct business worldwide and losses of all his income.

The businessman said he subsequently faced mounting losses of his personal assets and the assets of the bank "through the unceasing sale conducted by FINSAC, an arm of the Government of Jamaica", despite his protest to successive governors general and prime ministers.

Crawford said that he is being "nailed to the cross with no hope of resurrection", as even his appeal to the International Centre for Human Rights was abruptly halted.

He expressed gratefulness "for the warmth and hospitality of the Government and people of the United States, the best on planet Earth."

At the end of the release, Crawford describes himself as a legal permanent resident of the United States.

He said he received his banking education in Canada and "operated with impeccable character".

His career, he outlined, included serving as chairman and chief executive officer, Century National Bank Ltd, Century National Merchant Bank and Trust Co Ltd, Century National Building Society; Century National Development Co, director, Regardless Ltd, Chairman, Jamaica Grande Ltd, and chairman of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Jamaica Ltd.

He said his banking career included 23 years with the Canadian-owned Bank of Nova Scotia in Jamaica before he retired as senior assistant manager of the Scotia Centre (head office) branch.

Crawford provided a website link which provides headlines on his struggle.

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