The environmental damage at Marbo Cave. The 198-megawatt power plant Guam Power Authority is building at the Harmon Annex. And the land scam Guam Waterworks Authority embroiled itself in against Core Tech International at Ukudu.
What do these distinct projects and events have in common, aside from multimillions of dollars?
During the Calvo administration, GPA, with and by the blessings of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, began the process of planning for, then procuring the company that would build and operate the island’s new mega-power plant. It was during and by the Calvo administration that GPA, GWA, and the CCU went before the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission to survey and purchase disputed lands in the Harmon Annex at Ukudu, Dededo to build that plant and to expand the Northern District Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Eventually, GPA awarded a company named Guam Ukudu Power LLC to build and operate the power plant. On October 28, 2019, that company registered its Articles of Organization with the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation. Guam Ukudu Power LLC has two members, according to these articles: Korea East-West Power Co., Ltd., and Korea Electric Power Corporation, also known as KEPCo.
Both are South Korean companies. And according to this document, its Guam registered agent was Dana Gutierrez of the law firm Calvo Fisher & Jacob LLP.
The name KEPCo may sound familiar, because it is the company developing a 60-megawatt solar panel farm in Pagat, Mangilao. GPA awarded that contract to KEPCo in 2020. A year later, runoff from the development caused significant environmental damage to Marbo Cave.
The Guam Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation to KEPCo. Guam Department of Public Works then issued a stop work order.
On August 5, 2021, Attorney General Leevin Camacho sued KEPCo over the environmental damage. The owner of the property, World Meridian Sasajyan LLC also sued KEPCo. But unlike the government’s case, which is ongoing, the private parties settled their dispute out of court, for a suspected windfall of millions of dollars in favor of Meridian.
Who owns Meridian?
According to the 2021 annual report for World Meridian Sasajyan, LLC, the company’s managing member is Sasajyan Land Company, LLC. Its address is 259 Martyr Street, Hagatna. That is the exact address of the Calvo Fisher & Jacob law firm. In fact, the annual report, dated July 31, 2021, was signed by Sasajyan Land Company’s authorized representative, Eduardo A. “Champ” Calvo. Mr. Calvo is the managing partner of Calvo Fisher & Jacob.
Mr. Calvo, according to documents, has been no stranger to Guam’s public utilities (an attorney in his law firm serves on the rate-setting Public Utilities Commission), nor to the lands the GALC has both leased and sold to private developers.
As Kandit previously reported, Mr. Calvo has an ownership interest in Northern Market, LLC. The GALC in 2013 leased a 13-acre prime property along the intersection of Marine Corps Drive Dededo and Route 3 for only 50 cents a square meter for the company to develop a shopping center. Northern Market has never paid a full month’s rent, and that development has yet to happen.
The property is adjacent to the Harmon Annex, and was leased to the Calvo company around the same time Core Tech International purchased several acres of property in the Harmon Annex, including Lot 10184-7, the land where GWA operates the Northern District Wastewater Treatment Plant. That purchase occurred in 2015 from Younex, evidenced by a mortgagee’s deed duly recorded at the Guam Department of Land Management. Part of that file includes a 2010-issued certificate of title showing Younex owned the property. The mortgagee’s deed indicates the title transferring to CTI as the new owner.
Convergence of interests in Dededo
According to transcripts of GALC meetings in 2016, then-director of land management Michael Borja, and GWA general manager Miguel Bordallo began discussing the government’s dispute of CTI’s ownership interest in December 2015. The talk about the dispute arose in GALC meetings because the CCU had sent both GPA and GWA’s managers to the GALC to get endorsement on a plan to sell GALC Harmon Annex land to the utilities. Those lands would be used for the expansion of the NDWWTP, and the new mega power plant that Guam Ukudu Power, LLC eventually would build and operate.
One of the chief reasons GPA gave for the placement of the power plant near the NDWWTP, was so GWA could channel water to help cool the power plant’s generators.
Among the arguments GWA gave for its expansion, was the need to build stormwater basins. Though the transcripts do not expressly indicate GWA telling the GALC the public utility agency planned to encroach onto another of CTI’s properties abutting the NDWWTP land, an attached Brown & Caldwell map created for GWA clearly shows the sketch of the planned encroachment.
GWA eventually joined a lawsuit Mr. Borja filed against CTI to quiet title on the NDWWTP land in favor of GWA. Months after it joined the lawsuit, GWA executed its planned encroachment, and CTI filed a counterclaim, which included inverse condemnation and damages amounting to $220 million.
On November 30, 2021, Judge Elyze Iriarte, issued a decision and order answering several motions by GWA. Among the judge’s orders were the court’s recognition that CTI held an ownership interest in the NDWWTP property. She also questioned whether GWA had any right at all to use or occupy the property.
That decision and order led GWA to file a motion asking if it can file an appeal in the Guam Supreme Court to reverse Judge Iriarte’s decision and order.
Its attorney for that case before the Supreme Court? Rodney Jacob of the law firm Calvo Jacob & Fisher LLC.
The same firm named in the registered agent documents for KEPCo’s Guam Ukudu Power, LLC, the developer of the neighboring and operationally-tied power plant.
A firm managed by the same Champ Calvo, who is the authorized representative of the company that owns the land, where Marbo Cave is … the company paid an untold sum of settlement by KEPCo, which is operating a solar farm on behalf of GPA.