Ex-Archbishop Anthony Apuron entered into a peculiar series of land transactions right before sex abuse claimants sued him.
According to public records at the Guam Department of Land Management, the disgraced leader of the Archdiocese of Agana sold land near the Piti church to a priest, who has since left Guam. And two years ago, in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, that priest sold the property for nearly twice what he paid.
On December 12, 2014 and in the midst of brewing church scandal, Charles and Gennette Simmons executed a deed of gift, giving a property adjacent to the road entering Our Lady of Peace Church in Piti to the church. Four months later, on April 30, 2015, Fr. Willy Lorilla, Pastor of the church, executed a deed of gift, granting the property to Apuron in his capacity as the archbishop.
Twelve days later, on June 12, 2015, Apuron sold the property for $35,000 to Father Rean Enriquez. At the time, Enriquez, a Naval lieutenant commander, was the chaplain for U.S. Naval Base Guam.
A warranty deed recorded at Guam DLM under instrument number 879467 was signed by Apuron that day, though the payment was not issued to the Archdiocese until four days later.
On June 16, 2015, attorney Edward S. Terlaje wrote to Deacon Dominic Kim at the Chancery Office and enclosed Enriquez’s check for $35,000.
The sale occurred just months before Apuron and the Archdiocese were first sued in the sex abuse case that eventually would see nearly 300 plaintiffs against the Guam church.
In January of 2019, the Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, staying all action in the sex abuse cases in the U.S. District Court of Guam. Since then, the church and a creditors committee have battled to identify church assets, or assets the church and Apuron may have hidden from their creditors.
Some time since Enriquez acquired the Piti property in 2015 and 2020, the priest left Guam. On June 22, 2020, Enriquez appointed Cynthia Dizon Pizarro as his agent through a special power of attorney to sell the Piti property on his behalf. The document, recorded as instrument number 949400 on August 6, 2020, listed his residence in Oceanside, California.
On the same day that power of attorney was recorded, Enriquez also had filed a warranty deed showing he sold the Piti property to Edwin and Aileen Guiao. According to the recording fee, the land was sold for $55,000.
This is not the first instance of Apuron and church officials selling church property in the midst of the controversy. This is, however, the first series of transactions Kandit has uncovered involving Apuron and another member of the clergy in the disposition of church assets during this period.