Doctored records, use of public workers, alcohol payments alleged

Records presented during the CNMI House anti-corruption committee’s Friday questioning of Salina Sapp show Nonstop Corporation was paid for BOOST marketing services on the same day it was incorporated. Ms. Sapp and Rob Travilla, who was questioned a day earlier in the committee’s investigation into the allegedly corrupt use of federal funds during the Ralph Torres administration are the lone stakeholders of Nonstop.

The committee also questioned other documents indicating an alleged doctoring of public documents to cover up what would amount to illegal activity: the use of public funds to pay a company without any legal status and without any contract to perform work under the federally-funded BOOST program. One such document was Nonstop’s first contract for services with the Bank of Saipan – the program’s administrator of the federal funds – which originally was typewritten to indicate a contractual start date of July 20, 2022. The contract date was crossed out in handwriting to reflect a change to August 8, 2022, the same day of Nonstop’s Certificate of Incorporation as a legal entity.

The handwritten note was accompanied by the initials of two people, but no date as to when the handwritten change was made.

Other documents the panel showed to Ms. Sapp while questioning her included a transcript of WhatsApp messages between Bank of Saipan and Nonstop officials about the BOOST program as early as June 15, 2022, or two months before Nonstop became a legal entity.

Documents also show that Nonstop did not have a business license in the CNMI until August 29, 2022.

And while several questions were posed by the panel, Ms. Sapp invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate herself, as did Mr. Travilla the day before and Shayne Villanueva days prior. Records indicate Mr. Villanueva’s business, Roil Soil, also provided marketing services for the BOOST program, which granted money to certain applicants. The documents presented by the House panel so far have shown that, combined, Nonstop and Roil Soil were paid more than half-a-million dollars within a two-month period surrounding Mr. Torres’ the 2022 reelection attempt.

Committee members’ frustrations with Ms. Sapp’s invocation of her right to silence came to a head, when Marissa Flores asked the witness to confirm if Ms. Sapp’s signature on the Nonstop contract was her signature, and Ms. Sapp refused to answer the question.

“Counsel, direct your client to answer the question,” committee chairman Ralph Yumul demanded. Ms. Sapp did not.

Federally-funded public workers allegedly used by Nonstop

Ms. Sapp did answer some questions, including one by Angelo Camacho, who asked her to name the four employees Nonstop had on staff during the BOOST program period. She replied that she did not recall their last names, but that she could remember three of their first names: Regina, Nathaniel and Eloise.

Panel member Blas Jonathan Attao pointed to screenshots of WhatsApp messages allegedly among Ms. Sapp, Mr. Travilla, and the former governor’s chief of staff Wil Castro, where Mr. Castro allegedly suggested the use of federally-funded (ARPA) government employees to work under Nonstop, a private company.

“So these employees that you had, were they directly employed under Nonstop, or were they temporary ARPA employees sent to work for Nonstop?” he asked her.

“On the advice of counsel, I decline to answer based on 1 CMC 1307c and the Fifth Amendment,” she replied. This was Ms. Sapp’s blanket answer to every question of substance asked of her.

1 CMC 1307c refers to a section of the Commonwealth Code pertinent to the duties of someone who receives a subpoena to testify or to provide documents. The portion of the statute states:

“Any witness shall have only those privileges against testifying or producing other evidence under subpoena duces tecum which are: (1) Authorized by the rules of evidence adopted by the Commonwealth Trial Court; (2) Required by N.M.I. Const. art. I or other law applicable in the Commonwealth.”

Section 4(c) of Article I of the NMI Constitution states, “No person shall be compelled to give self-incriminating testimony.” The Section, however, refers to criminal prosecutions.

“Does Nonstop have the documents regarding the taxes of these employees, because you have to have filed with Rev and Tax…” he continued the questioning. She replied with her blanket response.

He continued, “I think it’s pretty clear, Mr. Chairman, that this conversation between these chat rooms states that ARPA employees that were hired under the government as temporary hires were, per this conversation, were sent to Nonstop to assist in that program.”

“So you don’t recall that you hired them through your company?” John Paul Sablan asked her next. “Because you said earlier you recall their names are Regina, Nathaniel, and Eloise. So, you don’t recall how did you hire these three individuals?”

She provided her blanket invocation.

Payments to Nonstop and suspicious hotel room stays

Evidence presented the day before during the questioning of Mr. Travilla indicated Nonstop was paid at least $323,000 in federal funds to market the BOOST program. Among those payments were for invoices paid under an unsigned contract.

Mr. Attao asked her several questions asking for proof of Nonstop’s work for the invoices charged to the CNMI government through the Bank of Saipan. Ms. Sapp invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege in response to all questions. The questions included Ms. Sapp’s knowledge of Bank of Saipan’s role in the payments.

Included in the exhibits the panel presented was a copy of a check for $50,000 paid to a company called “Salina’s,” as a BOOST grant. She was asked whether that company belongs to her, and she again invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege.

Like Mr. Travilla the day before, Ms. Sapp was questioned by Ms. Flores about a late-October 2022 BOOST marketing party that Nonstop threw at the World Resort, and for which Nonstop was reimbursed more than $15,000 in federal funds for the payment of hotel rooms for 12 people during a six-day period allegedly for a one-day event. One of the men named in the documents the panel presented and for which Mr. Travilla invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege, Jovin Santos, told Kandit that neither his nor the rooms of three others also named should have been charged to the CNMI government. According to Mr. Santos, he paid for his and the costs of the rooms and travel of the three others.

Ms. Flores asked Ms. Sapp whether the invoices provided by Nonstop were truthful. Ms. Sapp invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege. Both she and Mr. Travilla also refused to answer what the 12 people had to do with the BOOST program or the one-day event.

The congresswoman also showed a side-by-side comparison of the World Resort’s price quote for the event that included an event stage, audio, and lighting free of charge versus Nonstop’s invoice to the Bank of Saipan showing a $5,000 charge for the same services. Ms. Sapp also refused to answer why the discrepancy in charges exist.

Use of federal funds to pay for alcohol

Edwin Propst, vice chairman of the committee, presented documents involving a November 4, 2022 BOOST Mix n Sip event hosted by Nonstop at the Hafa Adai Roasting Company. Documents show that the establishment invoiced Nonstop only $1,875 as the cost of the event, but Nonstop allegedly was paid more than $11,000 in public funds for it. The line item for food from the establishment was $2,350, and for alcoholic beverages at $1,504.

Another set of documents Mr. Propst presented was about a November 12, 2022 BOOST Kahulu Mixer at the bar and restaurant Naked Fish. A quotation from the establishment owner, Joe Guerrero, showed a total charge of $4,786, of which $1,992 was for a corkage fee.  A corkage fee is a fee charged to customers of an establishment to bring and consume alcohol onto the premises.

According to Mr. Propst’s line of questioning, the committee has documents showing Mr. Travilla used his credit card to pay for alcohol at the event for former Governor Torres and others, then allegedly had those charges reimbursed to him.

It is illegal to use local and federal funds to purchase alcohol.

Sapp found in contempt of the legislature

Salina Sapp and her attorney, Joseph Horey

At the end of the hearing, Ms. Flores made the motion to find Ms. Sapp in contempt of the legislature – which is a criminal misdemeanor – for her refusal to answer the committee’s questions. The motion passed unanimously. The committee is preparing its report to the House speaker, Edmund Villagomez, who will have a ministerial duty to forward the report and case to the Office of the Attorney General for criminal prosecution of Ms. Sapp.

Mr. Villanueva and Mr. Travilla also were found in contempt following their respective hearings.

The committee will reconvene on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, when former finance secretary David Atalig, Jr. is expected to be questioned.


  • Bank of Saipan is equally guilty. They were paying out money without proper due diligence, without ensuring all documents were in order. They had a fiduciary obligation. Payments made without proper documentation should be reclaimed from the Bank. They were simply incompetent and irresponsible. They need to be taken to task also.

    • Amen brother. John Arroyo is a grasping weasel. Why Guam/Calvos employs him is a huge disservice to Saipan.

    • BOS was 1000% complicit. Awarded half a million dollars to supposedly, “boost” their business; after they moved into a brand new and completely remodeled facility in the Hakubotan building? They received the highest award amount and at the same time, administered the program??? So who, pray tell, adjudicated their boost application? and what did that process look like to ensure complete fairness and 100% assurance that there was absolutely NO conflict of interest. It was straight up hush money. What does not help at all was the fact that not a single committee member during Arroyo’s testimony, asked him who reviewed and approved the application? The half a mil was to keep BOS’s mouth shut and just follow instructions from Wil Castro plain and simple…..who BTW, denied, under oath that he had no conflict of interest with the Boost program when his very own One Marianas received not one, but two awards all in a span of two week for a whopping $250,000 dollars!!! A quarter of a million dollars for a supposed non-profit based and registered in Guam!! Have we heard a peep out of this non-profit? How exactly did we benefit from the organization. No website, no Form 900, nada..does it still exist and how did they use the quarter mil?. This is the greatest heist in CNMI history, just short of what Dr Chong and his cronies did back in the late 80, early 90s.

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