AG: The governor’s lawyers messed up

Attorney General Douglas Moylan said the governor’s lawyers should never have given her the Eagle’s Field lease to sign. Mr. Moylan made the comment to senators, who questioned him about the lease during a hearing Tuesday. Mr. Moylan’s signature is required on documents like these before the governor may sign them. It was Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero who gave the proposed lease of more than 100 acres of Navy-owned land in Fadian for her planned billion-dollar medical campus to the attorney general.

“I do not blame the governor for this, because this is a legal document,” Mr. Moylan began as he explained to senators, “I specifically told the governor, ‘Whoever advised you on this during this negotiating period who brought this document … the attorneys did not do their job. This clearly should have been rejected. The [U.S.] Department of Justice, if they were on our side of the fence, would have immediately kicked this document out. You do not need an experienced attorney to see that under the function of government, the legislature is required. In the federal system, same thing. Our function of government is the same as in the federal government.'”

The ninth-grade level civics lesson has been an expensive one, politically, for the governor, who already faced uphill controversy about her billion-dollar plans for keeping those plans secret for two years.

That lack of transparency and Speaker Therese Terlaje’s (an attorney by profession) insistence that no such lease should be exercised without legislative approval, led to Tuesday’s hearing, the fourth such hearing in two years about the planned development.

Ms. Terlaje invited both Ms. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio to the hearing, yet again, to explain to senators and to the public their development plans.

Ms. Leon Guerrero Monday wrote to the speaker, telling her she will be off island during the hearing, “and, in any event, there are no ‘new details’ to share regarding the Eagles Field at this time,” the governor wrote.

Shortly before the hearing began at 9 a.m. Tuesday, a nearly-identical letter was sent to Ms. Terlaje, this time signed by both Ms. Leon Guerrero and Mr. Tenorio, including the additional verbiage, “Because of this, neither myself nor Lt. Governor Tenorio will attend the meeting.”

And neither did anyone from the administration.

Sen. Chris Barnett

Sen. Chris Barnett at the hearing expressed his, “extreme disappointment at the current situation we’re sitting in. I’m just not sure why Adelup, especially since many of them are being paid more than they were last year, can’t find the time or the energy to come down to the people of Guam’s house and talk about this ‘deal of a lifetime.”

The reference to pay is about recently-uncovered pay raises signed by the governor to her top staffers and cabinet members, done in secret in January. The raises were made retroactively.

On March 31 this year, the attorney general delivered a 12-page legal memo telling the governor what nine of the 15 senators have been saying all along:

‘Get the legislature’s approval on the lease, or you’ll be violating the Organic Act of Guam.’

“The Supreme Court of Guam has made clear that the Governor is unable to enter into a contract that constructively appropriates funds by obligating the Government to pay an entity, such as a Lessor,” Mr. Moylan wrote to Ms. Leon Guerrero. “In this case the Lease clearly binds and commits the Government of Guam to make actual fair market value payments int he event that the project is not completed in 10 years.”

According to the memo, an attachment to the proposed lease (the administration has never made the full documented lease with attachments public) states lease payment terms to the Navy that may be waived if the hospital is developed within 10 years of the lease signing.

“Further,” the attorney general wrote of the lease attachments, “it makes reference to an undefined ‘in-kind’ consideration obligating the Government of Guam to provide (unspecified) assets or resources.”

“[T]he Lease obligates the Guam taxpayers to paying the fair market rent at the time of signing of the Lease,” he wrote. “This money amount has not been appropriated by the Guam Legislature as required by Guam local and Federal law.”

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