GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who was hired to ship a load of relief supplies from Grand Rapids to Haiti says he is no scam artist.
“There’s no crime here,” said Moise Garcon in a phone call to Target 8 investigators Friday.
“It’s just a business deal that’s probably gone really bad, and most of the things I cannot control because I don’t have a boat.”
Garcon was hired by Grand Rapids-based Rays of Hope International in 2013 to ship a load of medical and other supplies to Haiti.
Sixteen West Michigan charities had contributed supplies, which never made it the people in need.
A man from the Haitian Consulate in Chicago found the 40-foot shipping container in October — nearly two years after it left Grand Rapids — still sitting in a Miami, Florida shipyard.
“This guy, we gave him the container,” explained Garcon. “He told us the container was in Haiti. I believed him because he had no reason to lie.”
Garcon told Target 8 that he paid a man with boats to ship the container, but that the man’s company then went out of business.
“This is not the first time this guy does this,” explained Garcon. “Actually, I should have known better, but I got no choice because you don’t have that many boats go to Haiti that will take your own container.”
Garcon says it took him four to five months to get the shipment to another port, where the container once again got stuck.
“This is a very tough business… We had problems.”
But Garcon says he was not responsible for those problems, and he did nothing wrong.
“First of all, if I did (do something wrong), why is the container still at the port?” asked Garcon.
“I had two years. I could have used the stuff. I could have sold it.”
Garcon says he will be happy to tell the Miami shipyard to release the container back to Rays of Hope, but he wants to have a legally-binding agreement in place first.
The Haitain businessman and politician says he wants to protect himself from liability in case someone tries to claim there is something missing from the container.
Garcon says he doesn’t know what is in the container because shipments are not opened and inspected until they reach Haiti.
“One thing I can guarantee you,” said Garcon. “The container should be exactly the way we dropped it because we didn’t even open the door.”
Rays of Hope has put the value of the supplies in the container at around $150,000.