Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation
On November 23, 1998 the Attorneys General and other representative of 46 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the District of Columbia (the “Settling States”) signed an agreement with the four largest tobacco manufacturers (Philip Morris Incorporated, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, and Lorillard Tobacco Company collectively the “Original Participating Manufacturers“ or “OPMs”) ending a four year legal battle between the states and the industry that began in 1994, when Mississippi became the first state to file suit. The MSA represented the resolution of a large potential financial liability of the OPMs for smoking-related injuries by cigarette consumers. Under the MSA, the Settling States receive cash payments from the tobacco companies for a period of 25 years in exchange for the companies being exempt from future legal action.
The Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation (the “Corporation”) is a public corporation independent of the Government of the Virgin Islands (the “GVI”) and was established pursuant to the Tobacco Settlement Financing Act of 2001 (29 VIC §1024). The Corporation was formed for the purposes of:
1) purchasing all the government’s right, title, and interest in the Tobacco Settlement Fund litigation awards received and to be received by the GVI under the Master Settlement Agreement entered into with the four largest tobacco manufacturers.
2) to issue Bonds to pay the purchase price for acquiring such proceeds and
3) enabling the government to pay for or refinance hospital and healthcare projects and other undertakings of the government.
The proceeds of the bonds were used to finance several hospital and health department capital projects, including the Charlotte Kimmelman Cancer Institute on St. Thomas and the construction of the V.I. Cardiac Center on St. Croix, and to fund operating costs of the Corporation.
On November 1, 2001, the Corporation entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands to purchase the rights, title, and interest in Tobacco Settlement fund litigation awards for the amount of $18.4 million, under the Master Settlement Agreement dated November 23, 1998. Tobacco bonds were issued in 2001 and 2006 to finance various health related capital improvement projects throughout the territory.