BOOST Connects: Mayor’s wife, former mayors, non-licensed company get BOOSTed

(Author’s note: This is the first in a series of stories we will publish as an investigative report on the companies that have received BOOST funding) • By Vickilyn Manglona Teregeyo

Commonwealth government records reveal that a so-called company listed by the Bank of Saipan as having received $50,000 in federal grant funds is “non-existent,” according to Genevieve Santos of the business license office in Tinian.

Hayu Ha’, which the Torres administration granted federal dollars from the Building Optimism and Opportunities for Stability Together (BOOST) grant program for small businesses on October 5, 2022, does not have any record of business license on either Saipan or Tinian. Hayu Ha’ is listed on the list of Tinian businesses that received a collective $1.73 million in BOOST funds.

The decision to award the grant to Hayu and the other more than 240 CNMI companies nearly $11 million in federal funds was made by a panel of campaign officials for republican Gov. Ralph Torres and Sen. Vinnie Sablan. The Bank of Saipan, which administered the program, was supposed to verify applicants, according to testimony before a joint investigative committee of the CNMI House of Representatives.

But that isn’t all the research has revealed.

According to government records, the wife of the republican Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan, Rosita Aldan, received a $20,000 grant for a company named Fern B&B. Commonwealth records reveal the company only started on November 15, 2022. Fern B&B received the BOOST grant 20 days later on December 5, 2022.

The former republican mayor of Tinian, Francisco M. Borja, received a $40,000 BOOST grant the same day. Public records show Mr. Borja received a business license as a sole proprietor only on November 7, 2022. The records do not show what type of business Mr. Borja runs. Ms. Santos verified Mr. Borja is the same person as the former mayor.

According to the Bank of Saipan listing, a company called DC Coral received a $120,000 BOOST grant, among the largest amounts granted through the program. The company, according to business license records, is owned by another former republican Tinian mayor – Ray Dela Cruz, according to Ms. Santos. DC Coral only started on October 6, 2022.

The joint investigative committee, led by Rep. Celina Roberto Babauta and Rep. Donald Manglona, has been uncovering a vast conspiracy by Torres administration officials to abuse federal funds meant to assist small businesses to overcome their struggles from the pandemic. Instead, according to documented evidence and the conflicting testimonies of program officials, the program has been used to enrich several cronies of Gov. Torres and his former running mate, Sen. Sablan.

The Torres-Sablan team lost in a landslide election on November 25, 2022 to Gov.-elect Arnold Palacios and Lt. Gov.-elect David Apatang.

Mr. Palacios and Mr. Apatang have vowed to stamp out the corruption that has pervaded and persisted throughout the Torres administration.


  • Mabel Doge Luhan

      12/28/2022 at 10:04 PM

    This is real journalism. Thank you.

    The Marianas Milquetoast and Tan Tribune can eat my 143-year-old ass.

  • Albert Sablan Palacios

      01/02/2023 at 7:05 PM

    The Federalist are coming for/after you!! Just that you know!!! and there is no way around it!!

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