After 17 years of litigation a settlement over an 80 000-square-meter piece of property remains in dispute. About 50 000 square meters of the Tamuning property is a hole in the ground.

The former coral pit in Tamuning near Ypao Point is the subject of a heated court battle that spans 17 years and involves Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III and an assistant attorney general over the right to buy the property.

The plaintiffs in the case are Concepcion F. Cristobal Jorge E.U. Cristobal Beatriz Cristobal E.C. Leon Guerrero Juan B. Leon Guerrero and Alberto C. Lamorena III.

In 1988 the plaintiffs disputed the lease with Coral Pit Inc. The plaintiffs argued that Coral Pit Inc. did not have the option to buy the property as a stipulation of the lease.

In 1996 defendants Jeffrey Siegel Francis L. Gill and Coral Pit Inc. entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs to buy the property. Despite that settlement agreement the matter remains in the courts.

On Feb. 15 2004 William C. Bischoff attorney for Bottomless Pit LLC and now an assistant attorney general filed a motion in the Superior Court of Guam calling for the disqualification of Judge Arthur R. Barcinas over the continuing court case. In the same motion Bischoff requested the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Guam appoint a judge “pro tempore” to the case.

Bischoff’s motion read “The justification for this motion is that these are cases to which the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court the Honorable Alberto C. Lamorena III is a party — and that he has personally made the assignment of Judge Barcinas to these cases.”

However prior to Bischoff’s filing on May 19 2004 Peter F. Perez the attorney representing the Cristobal family filed a motion with the Superior Court of Guam calling for Bischoff’s disqualification from representing Seigel Gill and Coral Pit Inc. “The court may take judicial notice of the proceedings in the following actions in the Superior Court of Guam in which Mr. Bischoff inappropriately and in violation of the Guam Rules of Professional Conduct represents conflicting and diverse parties in a series of Guam civil actions ” court documents stated.

Perez further stated in his motion “Attorney Bischoff is no longer just counsel for CPI Defendant Siegel shareholders Moran and Cruz and principal organizer of Bottomless Pit LLC — the assigned judgment creditor against his other client CPI — he is also the principal spokesperson president director and shareholder with a proprietary interest in CPI who as a result of these relationships which he has established for himself will now be a critical witness for CPI since he now personally controls the operation and management of CPI as a major shareholder and attorney for two of the three remaining shareholders —who together with his own holding represents the majority and controlling CPI shareholding.”

Other court documents indicate an original named defendant Francis L. Gill also filed an ethics complaint against Bischoff on March 14 2004.

On June 2004 Bischoff responded to Perez’s motion. In that document Bischoff mentions Gill. “This case has gone on for 16 years. Bischoff’s clients have moved around moved off-island. So yes Mr. Bischoff has been just about everywhere everywhere he has needed to be to protect the interests of his clients Cruz Moran and Siegel from the likes of Francis Gill and the Presiding Judge and attorney Perez.”

In the document Bischoff also said “It is no business of Judge Lamorena’s that Bischoff has acquired a proprietary interest in this. He always had a contingency interest. It is not a proprietary interest against his clients. What began as a contingency agreement to negotiate a corporate shareholders’ buyout in 1995 has evolved into endless litigation. No sensible explanation is given in this motion for why Bischoff should not be able to protect his own interest. Bischoff’s clients Cruz Moran and Siegel are not complaining.”

The next hearing regarding the case will take place on March 23 in the Superior Court of Guam. MBJ