Since taking over News of St. John back in May, I’ve received countless emails asking me about Maho Bay. Specifically, people wanted to know who bought the 13.8 acre parcel back in December. Quite frankly, so did I.
What I did know early on, like many of you, is that the buyer purchased the land using a limited liability company. The name of the LLC is Maho Bay USVI, LLC. The LLC is registered in Delaware. So the buyer must live in Delaware, right? Wrong.
A lot of people tend to establish LLCs in Delaware because they can do so anonymously. In Delaware, you do not have to list the name of the principle, owner, etc. when creating a LLC. Instead, registered LLCs in Delaware can use what’s called a registered agent. A registered agent is a person designated to officially receive and send legal papers on behalf of a business entity, like a LLC.
After doing a little digging, I learned that the registered agent for Maho Bay USVI, LLC is Georgia-based TRIAD Professional Services. According to its website, “TRIAD is a professional service company offering fully-customized, comprehensive corporate legal support. We provide a range of specialized services to ensure you maintain your corporate responsibilities, enabling you to meet your business objectives.”
(Don’t worry, I’ll get to the buyer’s name shortly.)
I made a few calls and soon learned that TRIAD’s founder, a woman named Mary Paris, was the LLC’s representative. Surely, I could coax Ms. Paris into telling me the buyer’s name, right? Wrong again. Ms. Paris actually chuckled the first time I called her. (Keyword: First. Poor Ms. Paris has received numerous calls from me. I have to admit, she is pretty darn good at her job. Never said a peep.)
So after “striking” out with Ms. Paris, I gave up for a bit. That was until one evening a few months back when I was chatting with a longtime St. Johnian about a story I was working on. Our conversation was nearing an end when I nonchalantly asked if he’d heard anything about the Maho buyer. It was then that he gave me a name. I quickly jotted it down and assured him I would keep his name confidential. Over the months that followed, I heard the same name attached to the Maho property on several occasions. I was pretty certain I had the right guy.
Clearly the buyer wanted anonymity or he wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to keep his name private. That, coupled with the fact that I have been unable to get anyone from his camp to independently confirm it, kept me from printing anything on the subject. That all changed last night when a blog post hit the web.
Postcards from Maho Bay is a blog based on one woman’s experience and views of her time at Maho Bay Camp, both as a guest and occasionally as staff. On Wednesday, she posted an entry titled “The Future of Maho Bay Camp.” The article is quite good and I suggest you all give it a look. It gives a very thorough overview of Maho Bay Camp’s past, the quest to save the campground and what its future may hold.
The blogger also named the supposed buyer, and it was the very same name I have heard over and over – Jon Stryker.
Here is what she wrote:
The identity of the new land owner has been an open secret on island for a while. Jon Stryker has become widely known as the purchaser of the land, although there have not been any public announcements of any kind. He appears to be the best possible buyer of the land, after the Trust for Public Land.
So who exactly is Jon Stryker and is he indeed the person who bought the Maho Bay parcel? As I mentioned, I have been unable to independently confirm that he is the buyer but all signs are pointing to yes. And if it is indeed true, Maho Bay is in good hands.
You may have remembered back in April when Stanley Selengut, founder of Maho Bay Camps, said in an interview with the St. John Source that the buyer is “an environmentally-oriented billionaire who’s supposedly going to use it as a family estate.” Well it seems that Stanley was spot on.
Mr. Stryker is an architect and an heir to the Stryker Corporation medical equipment fortune. He has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes Magazine. Mr. Stryker is the founder and president of the Arcus Foundation, a private, global grantmaking organization. Arcus supports the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights, and conservation of the world’s great apes.
Mr. Stryker is a founding board member of the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya, Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida and Greenleaf Trust, a trust bank in Kalamazoo. He also serves on the boards of Kalamazoo College and Friends of the Highline, a nonprofit conservancy in New York City.
According to a 2008 article, Mr. Stryker has “poured more than $247 million of his approximately $2 billion fortune into two causes of particular importance to him: gay rights and great ape conservation. He plans to give at least another $120 million to the Arcus Foundation, which he created in 2000, over the next four years.”
Again, we haven’t been able to confirm that Mr. Stryker is indeed the buyer despite contacting each organization that he has ties to. We have, however, heard the same name from several people, some of whom are said to be doing business with the buyer. One thing we are certain of is that the Arcus Foundation is not tied to the property in anyway. So again, it looks like Stanley Selengut was spot on – It looks like Mr. Stryker will be using it as a family estate.
Going back to the words written on Postcards from Maho Bay – If this is correct, Mr. Stryker appears to be the best possible buyer of the land.
Click here to read more about Mr. Stryker’s philanthropy in the article Compassion and Conservationism: donor champions rights of both humans and apes.
Click here to read the entire Postcards from Maho Bay post.