Plaintiffs move for summary judgment in NMI buildup lawsuit
The Tinian Women Association, Guardians of Gani’, PåganWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity are calling on the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands to rule that the military violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not preparing an adequate environmental impact statement for the Marine relocation projects in the Marianas.
Defendants maintain that the review of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands Joint Training and the Guam Relocation projects was adequate. They also argued that the Marine relocation from Okinawa to Guam is an “independent utility” and would continue whether or not the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands Joint Training would move forward. Defendants requested the court to deny the summary judgment motion.
Another round of arguments occurred on July 6 and July 11, in which the plaintiffs further contended that the military did not take a “hard look” at cumulative impacts between military projects in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs’ recent filing cited documents that were not detailed in the initial complaint and requested that the court dismiss them.
The hearing for the summary judgment is scheduled for Aug. 9.
Senators call for investigation after MidPac’s $14.7 million tax lien surfaces
Wholesale distributor Mid Pacific Distributors Inc. is under scrutiny after two notices of tax liens filed June 2, 2017 by the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation surfaced and showed the business had not paid $14.76 million in taxes, including interest and penalties. The first tax lien notice showed unpaid taxes between April 2014 and December 2016, with the second notice displaying the first three months of 2017.
Much of the scrutiny centers on whether the familial relationship between MidPac president John T. Calvo and Gov. Edward B. Calvo affected or would affect disputes and discussions on the unpaid taxes. Gov. Calvo’s position gives him general supervision and control over the Department of Revenue and Taxation, according to Guam’s Organic Act.
Legislative Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz requested that the Office of the Attorney General of Guam assist in mediating the dispute while Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas wrote to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the matter.
OPA sides with JMI-Edison in GMH procurement protest
Despite the Guam Memorial Hospital’s denial of JMI-Edison’s protest regarding procurement for the purchase, installation and training of new computed tomography scanners, the Office of Public Accountability on June 29 ruled that JMI-Edison’s protest was valid and that it should have been awarded the procurement because it offered the lowest price of four bidders.
The GMHA Evaluation Committee acknowledged that JMI-Edison was the lowest bidder but “did not meet the bid specifications,” according to the committee’s report. OPA stated it was an error for GMH to reject JMI-Edison’s bid, citing Guam laws indicating bids should be unconditionally accepted and that the lowest bidder who meets the criteria is granted the award.
Federal judge extends receivership of Ordot dump
District Court of Guam Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood on June 28 ordered an extension of a federal receiver’s authority over the Ordot Dump to Dec. 31.
The federal receiver, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, previously was expected to end its control over Guam Solid Waste Management Authority operations on June 30, but Tydingco-Gatewood stated time is needed to address GSWA personnel matters and for the federal government to approve the Ordot Dump Post-Closure Plan.
The receiver took over solid waste operations in 2008 when the government of Guam was unable to close the dump by the federal court’s deadline.
Judge grants, denies motion in airport concession case
A July 16 decision and order by Superior Court of Guam Judge Arthur R. Barcinas leaves several issues up for review in the higher court in the case between DFS Guam and the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority on a $154 million airport concession contract.
According to court documents, DFS’s two protests were declared moot and Barcinas upheld his decision in February that those protests did not have any justiciable claims left for the Superior Court to consider. The first protest had 20 causes of actions and 14 prayers for relief and the second one had 10 causes of actions and 13 prayers for relief. DFS had argued that those claims are still viable and requested an amendment to Barcinas’ previous decision.
In its motion to amend, DFS also argued that the court did not have the authority to order the airport to continue with its current concession contract with Lotte Duty Free until a replacement concessionaire was found. DFS said Lotte should have vacated the premises. On these claims, Barcinas agreed that it was not within the court’s jurisdiction to have the airport abide by its contract. mbj