And the Maho Bay Buyer Is…

Maho Bay Parcel

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.


51 thoughts on “And the Maho Bay Buyer Is…”

  1. Goid article on the buyer of maho bay camp ground. So where does John Garrison fit into this. Is he still the head of the trust for public lands or has he stepped aside and taken a job as Jon Strykers care taker as rumored?

  2. That does sound like very good news indeed. Like everyone else who lives here, I’ve been concerned about potential development of the Maho property. Time will tell but my concerns are certainly lessened at this point. BTW an outfit like TRIAD Professional Services is a corporate maintenance company and undoubtedly Mary Paris is simply the designated agent for service of process. Neither she, nor the company for that matter, would actually have anything to do with the company other than carrying out very mundane, pro forma type corporate duties, so nothing sinister there.

  3. Great reporting Jenn..Glad you definitively confirmed this. It has long been rumored…

    Jon is going to be a fantastic caretaker of the property! He has been on and off St. John for many years, first with his family, then when the Omega Institute retreats came along. That’s when I briefly met him….and Selengut back in 1997 when my wife and I first arrived on St. John. (We were his guest at the eco Concordia as we were on a press tour sponsored by USVI Tourism–we moved to st john 6 weeks later…)

    As you report–Stryker’s name was rumored to be a buyer back in early 2009 when his close personal friend Stanley Selungut (a land consultant from from Long Island & Jon a land developer as well living in downtown NYC) was beginning to have his problems with Maho Camps and owners Giri Giri Corp.

    In fact, Jon was a known NYC consultant with Selengut regarding financing land parcel matters given their mutual interest in Arcus Foundation. George Grossblatt and Stanley Selengut are partners in NYC and support Arcus.

    (***Reports of Stryker involved back in June 2010 at wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Stryker)

    Strtker publically announced in 2000 that he was gay… this fact was not a secret in NYC…nor on St. John frankly.

    It is wonderful news that you have confirmed, Jenn, and I hope you get a chance to meet Jon and his partner!

    Here is an interesting interview with Jon and his remarkable efforts to get rid of LGBT discrimination:

    http://www.synergos.org/globalgivingmatters/features/0807stryker.htm

    Excerpt
    Global Giving Matters: Let me start by asking you to give us a two-minute overview of your philanthropy. How did you start and how has it evolved?

    Jon Stryker: Before starting Arcus, I gave mostly to organizations with which I was already familiar. Or friends would ask me to contribute to organizations they were involved with. It’s always nice to make your friends happy, but I felt like the money I was contributing was going to different causes and groups without any real goal in mind. I started to realize that having a foundation would allow me to develop specific goals and strategies to have impact on the areas in which I wanted to fund — LGBT rights and great ape conservation.

    About the time that I started the Arcus Foundation, in 2000, I was also coming out as a gay man. I quickly realized that there was very little funding for LGBT communities, and that LGBT rights was a niche that was not only personally important to me, but also an area where I could have a big impact as a donor.

  4. Great reporting
    Delaware LLC info not entirely correct
    Most state LLC have and can have registered agents it’s usually a lawyer
    Also the main benefit is liability and exposure with partners as it pertains to responsibility and Capitol events
    FYI

  5. This is fantastic news! I can’t personally speak for Jon but his sister, Pat is a huge philanthropist and donor in Fort Collins, CO. She has done wonders for the city. It sounds like the Stryker’s are good peoples.

  6. I’m a little confused here. Not by what’s happening, but by people’s reactions. Everyone seems so glad the Maho Bay land has “been saved from development” by “an environmentally-oriented billionaire” who wants to build a family estate. Not a modest vacation home but a family estate. Estates in my neck of the woods usually consist of a huge McMansion, swimming pools, tennis courts and multiple other “smaller” dwellings for family and guests. Sounds like “development ‘ to me people. Wouldn’t it have been great if Mr. Stryker kept the idea and concept of the original vision of Maho Bay campground and used his vast wealth to keep it as a eco-resort with updated, environmentally friendly features like composite decking/walkways, solar panels, wind turbines, etc? Because in the end it doesn’t matter whether a environment-friendly, philanthropic, gay rights activist or greedy self centered homophobe bought the land for his estate. You and I will NEVER set foot on that property again.

    • Well said Beach Bum! Tennis courts, pools, guest houses, paved driveways, McMansion…. and that beautiful land (and its conservation philosophy) gonzo. my thoughts exactly. Its development any way you look at it.

    • Totally agree, Beach Bum. Doesn’t matter a fig to me what the alleged character of the alleged billionaire owner is…
      As I am getting ready to book our umpteenth family vacation to St. John it is with such a heavy heart that we can’t go back to Maho and totally agree that the real loss is that the property is likely closed to the “people” forever. Seems like 14 million could have been raised if there was real focused planning and strong leadership and vision from, Dept. of Interior, Parks or TPL or even comprehensive grassroots movement from Maho front office utilizing the extensive list of Maho guests!!!
      Fundraising and lobbying should have been started immediately after the non-renewal of the lease was a fact….how great would it have been if the “people” and lovers of Maho could have bought shares? Ah well. I hope the vibe at Cinnamon Bay or Concordia is as friendly, collegial, open and inviting…I already know it can’t possibly be as heart-poundingly beautiful from the top of the 184th step from the beach.

      • Thanks for saying all that. We are so, so saddened that Maho Bay campground is no more. I think there were plenty enough folks that loved it enough to pool together to keep it going. Could have been saved. How about a grandiose gesture Mr. Stryker?

        • – I really meant benevolent gesture. So wrong to take something so grand and beautiful, treasured by so many for so long and hog it for yourself.

          just sayin.

    • Maho Bay’s screened cottages will forever be a wonderful memory of times past on the island, St.John’s (USVI) even as the property may sadly, slip away from public use to privately owned.

    • I worked around the family and I know for a fact that it is Jon Stryker buying the land. Such a bummer and a coincidence that it was him bc I was an avid goer of Maho Bay and it turned out the “mystery buyer” was someone that I was so close to. and no, no person will step foot there again without being close to Jon himself…

  7. Dan, thanks for your information about Stryker and the connections with Omega and with Stanley, it boggles the mind that someone with an inside connection to Maho Bay Camps might purchase that land to use as a ‘personal compound’, never mind that they would not work on behalf of Selengut, so let us hope the intention is in some mysterious way a benevolent one.

    I am curious if the seller might have placed some restrictions on the sale given the price so far below the appraised value from two years earlier. That could possibly explain why a buyer who otherwise appears to have been as good as possible for a continuation of the heritage of Maho Bay Camps Inc. might be so mysterious about what they are doing. We know Giri-giri didn’t want to work with Maho or even with Trust for Public Land and if what you say about Stryker is correct, this seems like one of the few plausible explanations.

  8. This was very disheartening to find out. It makes my heart break. I had been there in 1997 and have been dreaming of returning someday, but raising four children by myself, who has the money? I thought maybe this would be the year, 17 years later!

    I work hard, I’m a teacher, but I don’t make enough to go further than a tank of gas, for vacation. He probably made his fortune on other hard working people. Now those hard working people can never go there. What a travesty. That is so wrong.

  9. So sad to find out that I can never go to eco-friendly Maho Bay again !! 🙁 I wish it had been saved “for the people”. I don’t know the history as I now live in France, but just had been searching for Maho on the internet as finally 10 years on was in a position to possibly go back again … gutted.

  10. While he has purchased the campgrounds and they’re now for private use, is the bay itself still accessible to the public? It’s my favorite place to swim in the world.

    • My understanding has always been that Maho was on leased Park Service land.
      Apparently I was wrong?

      Very fond memories of both visits there and having worked there. I, too, was stunned that it was able to pass into private hands to be used as a home site.

      Maybe I’m not seeing the entire picture here but this just seems so wrong.

  11. I love Maho. I seduced lizards with melon from my cabin deck. I am thankful that the land won’t be used for a Biltmore or Ritz Carlton, nonetheless, if Mr Stryker is now the owner, and is truly a philanthropist, with a lot of money, why would he keep this huge, amazing land for himself? Doesn’t make sense to me. I would think he’d build a place for himself on part of the land, but refurbish Maho Camp for all of the people, gay or straight, who love it, and don’t want to, or can’t afford to stay in ritzier digs.

  12. I agree with Beach Bum and others, esp. Lori Honor. I still don’t know why the TPL/US Government could not have purchased this and added it to the Nat’l Park, but I’d love to know and write my senators and rep. Mr. S. sounds like he is a nice billionaire, perhaps, which is lovely, but unless he is going to turn the land over, as I guess Rockefeller did for Cinnamon Bay et al, it doesn’t matter. (I, too, am a single mom who was fortunate enough to take my boys there for HS graduation trips — the first one on frequent flier miles and a tax refund! Memories? Priceless, as they say.) I am mourning the fact that there was no leadership on some sort of lobbying effort to add this to the USVI National Park. What an opportunity lost.

  13. I am also heartbroken to hear of this news and the loss of that beautiful camp. I had the great pleasure to work there for a long summer, cried the whole plane ride home and vowed to return as soon as possible. I had fully anticipated to take my husband there one day and hoped to send my daughter to work there for a summer in the future so she could also experience the absolute splendor and tranquility of being in that beautiful land. I echo the sentiments of many above and wonder why greater efforts were not made to try and save the camp and/or have it added to the National Park.
    There cannot be many places left in the world like the camp and to loose it from the public’s grasp is truly devastating.
    I will remain watchful, and hopeful, as this transaction evolves. Perhaps 10 years from now the new buyer may see fit to restore some of what was lost and bring some iteration of the camp back to life.

  14. I did four “tours” as a volunteer 4-hour worker at Maho camps over the years, got to think of the place as a kind of second home,met so many wonderful people who are still my friends, and am still very distraught over the way the sale went down, and from what we can gather, the “future” of Maho Bay camps. Last winter, while staying at Cinnamon Bay campground, I took a couple of excursions up the old goat trail into the ruins of Maho Bay camps———-what an experience——–the skeletal remains of the cabins, the total silence, walked thru the pavillions, left a couple of notes, shed a few tears, and walked away. The most amazing thing of all—-there was absolutely NO ONE THERE!! not even a security person,no one!!! Total and absolute ghost-town. I continue to shed tears for Maho Bay Camps, and will revisit the ruins this coming March, if it’s not walled off by then.

  15. I so agree with beachbum!! Spent wonderful days at Maho, loved everything about the place. Sailed on the Great Heron, raided the “free” cabinet, for treasures. Movies and guest speakers, the fabulous art, the flurry of yellow wings, on a sugar high. The stairs, the trippy cabins, Yoga, with a view, the kids, so happy! The staff, always the best. Ahhh—–Those were the days, forever in my BEST memories, We are fortunate to have experienced such a paradise!

  16. It’s hard to describe how much my family loved Maho Bay Camps. My son, who is a city-oriented computer guy, asked us why we would want to go to such a rustic camp. After we got him there, he asked us “Why would anyone go anywhere else?” Although I’m glad it probably will not be turned into a really big resort for lots of rich people, I’m not sure it’s much better that it is a small resort for a few really rich people. Selengut’s idea was brilliant and democratic, but it looks like it will devolve, as most things do in this era, to the dull and aristocratic.

  17. I forgot to ask, but perhaps it’s possible (yes, sir, you can take this as a challenge): Could Mr. Stryker be a 21st century Rockefeller?

  18. I too agree that it is a shame that Maho Bay property will no longer be available to the public…. with that being said, all beaches in the USVI are public under the law and you can still access Maho Bay by boat.

  19. I had my first real kiss under the bazillion stars of the Caribbean night sky at Maho Bay during a family vacation when I was 12.. It was on that bench built into the walkway leading up to the dining pavilion from the store/loading dock area. We could see the Milky Way so clearly. The most perfect first kiss, after dancing on the beach at night, singing along to REM’s “night swimming.” Later to become pen pals for a short time. I remember snorkeling for the first time there, seeing a huge Barricuda among the rocks, and fearing for my life. Writing silly names of sea life on the blackboard. Finding random useful things in the free cabinet. I’ve been back 4-5 times since that first magical time. The last time was my honeymoon. We went swimming at night under the moon as soon as we arrived and of course, after we descended the countless stairs.

    There’s nothing like Maho Bay Campgrounds.

    Ocean Life lecture/slideshow at the pavilion at night. Friday night Prime Rib night, some of the best Prime Rib I’ve ever had. Cold showers that I eventually looked forward to. Crickets chirping at night. Lizard silhouette on the tarpaulin roof. I wish it would never go away.. So sad to hear it is being dismantled (as told by the person who hiked up there). I want to image it there forever. Like some twilight zone episode, it’s alive and well in another dimension with the chatter of voices, the sound of kitchenware clattering from the pavilion, the sound of suitcases rolling down the walkway, children running up and down the stairs. And at night, faint music emanating from the pavilion just barely drowned out by crashing waves in the distance..

    I’d like to hope the new owner will revive it..

  20. I’m a bit sad about this. I was never able to go to Maho Bay Camps. It was on my list since I came across it in 2006. Every time I thought about vacation I would plan this trip out. Went through many years hoping to be able to go. Unfortunately, the airfare for our family of 5 was always too much. I would stare at the photos and imagine how wonderful it was. I thought this summer might be the year…

    So, to those of you that were able to experience it…don’t be sad. You have those memories to hold on to. I’ll just have to find a new place to dream about.

  21. I enjoyed Maho Bay growing up and was able to return one last time before it closed. Truly upset about its closure. Makes no difference to me whether the new owner develops it or preserves it, as that land is not likely ever going to be returned to the public.

  22. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go there on our honeymoon when there was the last few extensions of the lease. Truly peaceful and serene. Loved the place! Staff was great! Sunsets were awesome! Great activities. Food and Salad bar was excellent! I am still missing my passion fruit glazed chicken I had the first night we were there. We will never forget that time in our lives. I am a biologist and envtl sci minor. I really wish this land would have been under the national park system as a campground or kept the Eco tents going. So sad we will never get to stay at that property again. Sad when people with a gigantic bank account can swipe in and greedily take it for themselves. What happened to utilitarianism and doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Well, I will end with I don’t think that property can be truly cherished now like it was when Maho Bay Camp Visitors were there. We knew how to appreciate it and all the little things in life.

  23. Bummer. I was just telling some people at the office about my experience at Maho Bay when i was a child. I believe it was nearly 20 years ago when my folks took me to Maho Bay on St Johns. What an amazing experience and I am still talking about it to this day. I’d often thought of trading in my lace ups for some flip flops and settling down as a cook down there or somewhere similar. Its a shame that its now going to be developed into someone’s private vacation estate. Glad I got a chance to be amongst those that got to enjoy the beauty of this place. Thanks for the memories.

  24. WOW how beautiful and special Maho Bay is. Glad my daughter and I were able to spend a week there. All good things must come to an end. Shame to see it sold.

  25. I was just looking at this thinking Id take my kids…use to go in my twenties. What a great place for family and it was not overly unaffordable. I true philanthropist would keep this available to the general public.

  26. What a shame to read about the fate of this property. I had the fortune to stay there a number of years ago while visiting St. John for a wedding. I dreamed about bringing my son here to live like beach bums for his Sr. trip. As we talked about options, this was my first thought only to get online and be disappointed. I don’t begrudge the wealthy having the means to enjoy as fine a life as they can afford. But Lord, don’t be such a hypocrite about your intentions. Whether it is the mega corporation or the mega rich, you have still denied tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of wildlife loving people the opportunity to experience it’s beauty and wonder.

  27. I see the word “philanthropist” tossed around in the comments as if they are saints, alluding to this guy Stryker, of course. I’m not rich (so maybe that’s my gripe) but being a supporter of LGBT rights and apes, at least to me, is not real philanthropy. I have more respect for people who donate to causes which help persons with disabilities, to the poor, or those impacted by religious persecution in the world. A billionaire buying a resort for his own personal use, and for parties for all his NY friends? I won’t judge a book by its cover (because I don’t know the man) but I’m not going to go fawning over what a wonderful thing his land purchase is, as do some of the other commenters.

  28. Very moving to read these many comments by people who loved Maho and the time they spent there. We went as a couple, then with our three daughters, then with friends . . . probably about ten or eleven times altogether. One daughter got engaged on the evening beach when her boyfriend wrote in the sand, “Will you marry me?” We are blessed to have had so many wonderful March days at Maho.

  29. I agree with almost all of the comments….except that this “philanthropist” buyer is a “good” thing for Maho Bay Camps in the future. I spent 1 week every November for 10 years at Maho….made friends, loved the place and the serenity and the natural beauty and the “silence”….even the braying of the donkeys that wakened me and the peeping of the frogs at night….and the stars…..and the fragrances of the flowers…..and the birds…and, and, and!! I took my grand-daughter and my sister and my daughter for wonderful vacations there. It is shameful that it will never be available for the “real” people….those without any labels…..just a love of Maho and “once upon a time”.

    • 28Jan2017. Working there full time, and living among the loving peaceful residents and guests at Maho was an incredible privilege, a life-changing experience for me, during a transitional period of my life. An era, a refuge now gone. Later I attended an Omega week. Wow. Glad and lucky to have been a small part of Maho. How disappointing the property has become a billionaire’s estate, not part of the National Park.

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