Case Details


Attorney General Control Of Litigation, Conflict Of Interest

Filing State



Virgin Islands Superior Court




Olive v. DeJongh, 2012 V.I. LEXIS 39 (V.I. Super. Ct., Aug. 3, 2012)


Virgin Islands conflict-of-interest laws, which contain a comprehensive enforcement method for the attorney general, do not provide a public right of action

Case Description

Government funds were sought to improve security and parking at the private residence of the governor of the Virgin Islands. The Attorney General’s office wrote an opinion approving the use of government funds for this purpose, and the improvements were made. A taxpayer sued the governor and other state officials, alleging that they had violated conflict-of- interest rules in order to improve the governor’s property at the expense of the people of the Virgin Islands. Because the Attorney General is the statutorily designated enforcer of the Virgin Islands conflict-of-interest laws, and because the Attorney General had opined that the use of funds was proper in this case, plaintiff alleged that he was suing “on behalf of the Attorney General” to “litigate this action in place of” the conflicted Attorney General. The court held that Virgin Islands conflict of interest laws do not contain “rights-creating language,” focus almost exclusively on the persons being regulated and not the individuals protected, and contain a comprehensive enforcement method entrusted to the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands. Thus Virgin Islands conflict of interest laws do not confer a private right of action allowing individuals to litigate in the place of the Attorney General.