Acting Banking Board Commissioner responds to KPress article on accused fraudster Peterson

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor Jaynes:
I write to you from Nadi, Fiji. I left Pohnpei Sunday morning, April 3, and will be returning home next week. The recent weather situation here in Nadi has prevented me from accessing your April 4, 2016 press release until yesterday, April 7. May I inquire as to whom you contacted for information since I was in Pohnpei until Sunday, April 3 but was not aware that you made contact with our office for information regarding your article?
Concerning your front page story on Mr. Cary Lee Peterson, I want to make clear that Mr. Cary L. Peterson is far from opening up a bank in the FSM and should not be construed as a “would be FSM bank owner”. This statement is false and misleading. Despite Mr. Peterson’s claims, the FSM Banking Board has never received an application, let alone issue a license that would qualify him or the agency he represents to be called a Bank in the FSM.
Be reminded that the use of the word “Bank”, in context of doing business, is protected by our FSM laws. Section 104 of Title 29 of the FSM Code clearly state that the use of the term bank is limited to those granted a license by the FSM Banking Board in accordance to provisions of the FSM Bank Act.
The FSM Bank Act (T29 of the FSM Code) has set procedures that are to be complied with prior to licensing banks. Mr. Cary L. Peterson or the agency he represents, has never met any of these requirements as of date. His claims concerning finalizing the application with the Chairman of the Banking Board are far from the truth.
Furthermore, his misrepresentation of the photo taken with our Lt. Governor should have legal consequences. It is indeed unfortunate that he used the kind courtesy extended by our Lt. Governor to him, a visitor to our Island who requested for an audience, to further his damaging lies.
For the record, the FSM Banking Board has never extended “numerous invitations” as stated in your article. The standard application requirements were provided to Mr. Peterson upon his request. As of today, none of these requirements have been met.
Yours sincerely,
Melsihner R. Hadley
Acting Banking Commissioner”

Editor’s note:

KPress did make contact with the office of the FSM Banking Board before we went to press. Ms. Hadley was not in the office at the time we called. Neither was she in the office over a month before when we called while considering the possibility of writing an article about Peterson’s claims to have applied to open a bank that we found on the Pohnpei State Government website (www.pohnpeimet. fm) before the article was pulled from the website.
The Banking Board’s Administrative Officer did tell us then, and again on April 1 that Cary Lee Peterson (no relation to Governor Marcelo Peterson despite Cary Lee’s claims) had never filed any paperwork with the FSM Banking Board to open a bank in the FSM. We reported exactly that.
She also told us that the Board had followed up on his proposed application several times but had received no response. The Banking Board’s follow ups to Peterson’s initial enquiry regarding the establishment of a bank were what we referred to as “numerous invitations”. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words, but there was no malicious intent against the Banking Board which seems to have done its mandated duty.
Though KPress has occasionally backed down from headlines that we ultimately agreed were misleading, we can’t do it this time.
A letter to the Banking Board dated November 17, 2015 from a law firm that appeared to have Peterson’s signature affixed, clearly expressed Peterson’s interest in opening a bank in the FSM as a one-third partner with an FSM citizen who would have 2/3 ownership in the proposed bank. At that moment he became a “Would be FSM bank owner”. It was his expressed intention to be a bank owner even if the Banking Board decided against his application. The headline didn’t say that he was a “previously determined to be” bank owner. The headline said that he wanted to be—nothing more.
KPress clearly stated in our April 4 article that neither Peterson nor any proposed partner had ever filed paperwork with the Banking Board to establish a bank in the FSM.
The word “bank” is not protected language except in the context of doing business, as Ms. Hadley points out. KPress did not use the word “bank” in the context of doing business. It used the word in a headline and then quoted an article that was freely published on a government website before it was pulled down. It was that article, later debunked by the Pohnpei government, that claimed that Peterson had met with the Banking Board to “finalize” arrangements for his proposed bank. The KPress article clearly says that it was the Pohnpei State Governments’ unauthorized article that made that claim. KPress never made that claim, which a reading of the article without agenda would clearly show.
Somehow, some readers read “Would be FSM bank owner”, as “Would be owner of the Bank of the FSM”. The Bank of the FSM was not mentioned at all in our April 4 article on Peterson’s fraud arrest and is in no way connected with any of the subject matter of that article.