BOOST corruption is drop in the bucket compared to $1.5B under Torres that needs to be probed

[Editor’s note: Glen Hunter wrote the following letter to the House anti-corruption committee]

Members of the CNMI House of Representatives Special Committee on Federal Assistance & Disaster-Related Funding,

My name is Glen Hunter, and I come before you in my personal capacity as a concerned citizen and an entrepreneur deeply rooted in our community. We are all now well aware of the last administration’s patterns of mismanagement and corruption plaguing the BOOST program, alongside the broader misallocation of over $1.5 billion in federal funds designated for our economic revival. This misuse represents not just a massive financial loss but a profound betrayal of our community’s trust.

The troubling revelations from recent testimonies, including that of the former Secretary of Finance, have further illuminated the depth of this corruption.

It was shockingly revealed how immediate family members and other closely connected individuals received millions of dollars in BOOST funds. Emails and messages displayed explicitly how his influence was directly utilized to ensure this outcome, highlighting blatant corruption. Despite being given the opportunity during the hearings to counter the evidence presented, explain his actions as non-corrupt, or even confess and ask for forgiveness while accepting accountability—a move our community rightfully deserved—he chose to plead the Fifth Amendment, adding insult to injury for legitimate and deserving businesses in the CNMI.

The revelations from ongoing investigations into the BOOST program have laid bare a troubling scenario: funds intended to rejuvenate our local economy and support those in dire need were instead diverted to individuals with political connections, bypassing deserving small businesses and citizens. The opacity and lack of ethical guidelines governing the awarding process have severely disadvantaged numerous small enterprises, some of which were forced to close in the wake of the pandemic’s financial toll.

Further exacerbating this issue, recent hearings on the BOOST program have revealed concerns about several contracts associated with the program, especially two that were highlighted by the House for their problematic nature. The first contract involved an allocation of $331,000, while the second awarded $250,000 to another company. Both contracts were sole-sourced for marketing a cash giveaway program, representing just a fraction of the numerous questionable contracts identified. These two contracts alone suspiciously diverted over $580,000 of funds that could have instead provided a significant $20,000 ‘boost’ to nearly 30 businesses genuinely struggling to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and typhoons. This gross abuse denied critical assistance to those in dire need.

Additionally, the misuse of pandemic and post-typhoon relief funds extends beyond the BOOST program, spanning questionable purchases, concert events, service contracts, and various initiatives twisted for personal enrichment at the expense of genuine community service. This rampant misappropriation calls for immediate, comprehensive scrutiny and accountability.

Public corruption harms everyone! The CNMI now finds itself with nothing to show for the over $1.5 billion in funds misappropriated by the last administration. Our schools have not improved, our hospitals lack necessary resources, and essential utilities remain strained. Despite the immense financial injections, our community has not reaped the benefits it deserved.

Recent measures by the new Administration to invoke federal oversight and forensic financial analysis, coupled with the Department of Finance’s actions to freeze payments and attempts to recover funds from dubious recipients, signal a pivotal move towards rectifying these injustices. However, so many more reports of past contracts and disproportionate grants awarded to associates of the previous governor raise grave concerns about favoritism and corruption.

The lack of transparency, documentation, and the apparent political motivation behind the BOOST program’s administration necessitates a thorough investigation into these practices. The program’s abrupt discontinuation following the election further fuels suspicion regarding its true intentions.

As you continue your investigation into these corrupt practices, ensuring accountability for all involved is crucial. The diligent efforts of the House committee to unearth the truth and seek justice are commendable and must be bolstered by referrals to appropriate authorities for comprehensive examination and potential prosecution. My thanks extend to both the legislature for reviving this vital investigation and to the current administration for advocating federal oversight and fiscal probes to trace the misused funds.

I call upon all stakeholders to join forces in reconstructing a governance framework rooted in fairness, honesty, and fiscal responsibility. Together, let us renew our commitment to justice, accountability, and the welfare of our community. In these challenging times, as many businesses still reel from COVID-19’s impact and confront closure due to these injustices, united action is more critical than ever.

With utmost sincerity,
Glen Hunter


  • Well done. However, I wouldn’t characterize your revelations as shocking. For Torres and Atalig, it was business as usual.

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