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Gordon Rhea Nominated To Be US-VI Attorney General

RPWB would like to extend a congratulations to our colleague, Gordon Rhea, on his nomination to become the next Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. recently announced the nomination of Rhea, who worked at RPWB first as a member attorney and then later in an of counsel capacity. While at RPWB, Rhea worked on environmental contamination cases, toxic torts and other complex civil and criminal litigation.

Rhea is a 40-year member of the Virgin Islands Bar, where he has been recognized with the highest honors, including this year’s Winston Hodge Award for his contributions to law and justice in the community.

A graduate of Stanford University Law School, Mr. Rhea’s career began defending complex criminal cases in Los Angeles. He quickly distinguished himself in Washington, D.C., serving as Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, where he was instrumental in significant national investigations, including those into the CIA and FBI. Following his tenure with the Senate, Mr. Rhea served as an Assistant United States Attorney and later as the Executive Assistant United States Attorney under Charles C. Ruff in Washington, D.C. There, he managed a range of high-profile prosecutions and oversaw operations at one of the nation’s largest Federal prosecutor’s offices.

Since practicing in Virgin Islands, Rhea has been an integral part of the territory’s legal community. He prosecuted major criminal cases as an Assistant United States Attorney and later co-founded a renowned law firm in St. Croix. His work in civil litigation includes landmark cases that have shaped industrial and environmental law practices in the territory. In one such case, and while working at RPWB, Rhea represented the Virgin Islands government in litigation against the owners of refineries in St. Croix.  The settlements were estimated to range from $125 million to $145 million, including clean-up work at the sites and cash payments of approximately $65 million. Defendants included Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation (HOVIC) and Hovensa, LLC, operators of a large oil refinery, and Lockheed Martin, St. Croix Alumina, LLC (SCA), Alcoa World Alumina, LLC, and St. Croix Renaissance Group, LLLP, owners and operators of an alumina refining plant.

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    Gordon Rhea Wins USVI Bar Association’s Highest Honor

    RPWB of counsel attorney Gordon Rhea was honored with the highest award during the Virgin Islands Bar Association’s annual meeting on December 8, 2023. The award ceremony highlighted Rhea’s dedication to the legal profession and his commitment, dedication and valuable contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands.

    The Winston A. Hodge Award for Public Service was established by the Board of Governors in 1997 to commemorate the exemplary legacy of Winston A. Hodge, a distinguished member who embodied the values of community service, commitment, and dedication to the legal profession. Known as the “Dean” of the Bar, Winston A. Hodge made significant contributions to bar activities and left a mark on the legal community.

    The recipients of the award are individuals who have demonstrated the same ideals and commitment that the late Attorney Hodge stood for. By honoring those who follow in his footsteps, the award continues to celebrate and preserve the spirit of public service within the Virgin Islands legal community.

    Rhea has handled a variety of complex civil and criminal cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including toxic torts, abusive tax shelters, business disputes, class actions and white-collar criminal matters. He splits his time between the islands and Mount Pleasant, S.C.

    Outside of his legal practice, Rhea is an award-winning historian who has written eight books about the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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