On March 23 and 24, 2023, the Guam Visitors Bureau board of directors discussed a desire by some board members to conduct performance evaluations of its management. Members then, and in subsequent emails leaked to Kandit began a charade of inquiries about GVB’s legal counsel, attorney Joseph McDonald.
Mr. McDonald, the island’s former chief prosecutor and a partner in McDonald Law Office, furnished the board with a report of investigation he conducted. The report alleges multi-millions of dollars in improprieties and accuses some former board members – who are associated with current members – and GVB vendors of corruption and conspiracy to defraud public funds.
In the March 24 discussion, new board member Mary Rhodes asked repeatedly for information about the McDonald Law Office contract, which expires this September. The discussion was an off-shoot of board deliberations about performance evaluations of GVB’s president and CEO Carl Gutierrez, and vice president Gerald “Gerry” Perez.
But in a GVB board meeting that happened two weeks earlier on March 8, a conversation caught on microphones while the meeting was in session indicates Ms. Rhodes and another board member – Sonny Ada – had already made up their minds about Mr. McDonald.
“Director Ada stated that he thinks the board should get its own legal counsel,” the approved minutes of the March 8 meeting state of Mr. Ada’s comments.
“Director Rhodes expressed the need to fire legal counsel,” the minutes state.
It was a ‘hot-microphone’ moment, according to GVB employees, where the two board members conversed between each other, but the microphone picked up the discussion during the public meeting.
Ironically, Mr. Ada and Ms. Rhodes discussed the matter between themselves while the board was receiving counsel from Mr. McDonald that an action of theirs was voided because it did not comply with the Open Government Act.
GVB’s new board of directors has since been on a mission to depose of Mr. Gutierrez and Mr. McDonald. It ditched its late-March effort to do so by subjective performance evaluation, and at its meeting last week decided to open up a search for Mr. Gutierrez’s position, and for legal counsel services.
That vote, motioned by thought-he-was board member Monte Mesa, was nullified following a legal opinion from Attorney General Douglas Moylan that Mr. Mesa was not a legal-sitting board member at the time.
Mr. Gutierrez has since publicly announced on The Ray Gibson Show on 93.3 FM The Point that he will be filing official notice of his status as a whistleblower under Guam’s laws, and that certain board members have been harassing the former governor in their attempt to silence both he and McDonald for simply exposing corruption.