The governor’s former communications chief, Janela Carrera, lived in and paid rent for a home furnished to her by Chia Ming Shen, then allegedly stopped making her monthly $1,300 payment on the Dededo home, when he died. According to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Chen’s estate against Ms. Carrera and her husband, Jorrell, the couple has not paid rent in six years, and owe $88,400.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero was not aware of the allegations or the situation, according to Carrera’s successor, communications director Krystal Paco-San Agustin. Ms. Carrera now is the spokeswoman for the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, following her departure from the Governor’s Office at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
The Governor’s Office also is unaware of allegations made by the late Mr. Chen’s son, John Shen, that Ms. Carrera has delayed the process of the estate obtaining a business license for the rental property so that the suit may proceed.
The complaint by the Shens alleges:
The said Lease Agreement encompassed a grant of tenancy and possession of the premises vesting to the Defendants, in return for the monthly payment of rent to be paid by the Defendants to the Plaintiff for a term beginning November 1, 2014.
As of the date of filing of the Complaint, the Defendants owe to the Plaintiff the total amount of $88,400.00 for rent due for the months of October, 2015, through May, 2021, for the Defendants’ tenancy of the subject premises.
Based on a four (4) year statute of limitations, the Plaintiff is requesting Judgment in the amount of rent owed for four (4) years or forty-eight (48) months, which is a total of $62,400.00.
The Plaintiff repeatedly requested the Defendants to make payment of all monies owed under the Lease. Nevertheless, the Defendants failed and refused to pay the monies owed.
In that the Defendants failed to satisfy their obligation of rental payment due to the Plaintiff as stated above, the Plaintiff subsequently retained legal counsel, who served a seven (7) day notice to pay rent on the Defendants on May 24, 2021. A copy of the said seven (7) day notice is attached hereto, marked as Exhibit “A” and incorporated herein by reference.
The Defendants never responded to the seven (7) day notice sent by the Plaintiff’s counsel.
As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ failure to pay the monies owed, the Plaintiff has suffered general damages for the loss of monies due and owing it under the terms and conditions of the Lease between the parties, in the amount of $62,400.00 as of the date of filing this Complaint.
The Plaintiff has incurred attorneys’ fees in pursuing this action and is entitled to reimbursement for such expenditures pursuant to the Lease Agreement.
In a reply to the complaint and motion to dismiss it, Ms. Carrera’s attorney said the Shens have no legal basis to sue, because no business license exists for the property. And, according to her attorney, Guam law specifies that in order for there to be a debt of rent the Shens can collect, they have to have a business license for the rental property.
In a virtual hearing before Judge Arthur Barcinas Tuesday, John Shen told the court he has been trying to secure a business license renewal for more than a month, but that Ms. Carrera’s actions have blocked his ability to do so.
He alleges Department of Public Works officials notified him of a date of building inspection for the rental property, that he notified Ms. Carrera, and that on the day of the scheduled inspection a young male, who answered the door, informed the inspectors they could not enter because Ms. Carrera was not present. The next date available from DPW, John Shen told the court, is August 25.
Judge Barcinas asked Mr. Shen’s attorney how the estate plans to overcome Ms. Carrera’s argument that without a business license for the rental property, there is no legitimate claim for damages. Franklin Perez, the Shens’s attorney who argued the case before the court, said the Shens will like more time to go through their deceased father’s records and find the business licenses for the six years rent allegedly was not paid.