Editorial: Governors need to stop weaponizing public agencies against their political detractors

Douglas Moylan

Guam’s governors have been using their regulatory agencies as weapons against their political detractors for years. It is a veiled practice that needs to stop. And with the latest victim of the abuse of power being the elected attorney general of Guam, perhaps the practice will be exposed and brought to an end.

The administration has messed with the wrong guy.

Two weeks ago the deputy director of the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, which administers the federal Section 8 program, publicly denounced newly-sworn Attorney General Douglas Moylan on account of his father being a landlord of a Section 8 tenant. Mr. Moylan, as the AG, has nothing to do with GHURA. It is an autonomous agency. GHURA’s officials may confirm this by reading the 2005 Guam Supreme Court case Airport v. Moylan. Ironically, the victor ‘Moylan’ in that case is the same Douglas Moylan, who now finds himself in the crosshairs of a highly-political, and obviously-capricious campaign.

GHURA’s deputy director made defamatory statements against Mr. Moylan in a meeting of the GHURA board of commissioners, practically accusing the attorney general of corruption.

We’re in the midst of the Twilight Zone.

The late-Speaker Antonio Unpingco was fond of saying that in politics, timing is everything.

Leevin Camacho, left, and Haig Huynh

Consider the timing of this attack. Mr. Moylan announced the formation of the government corruption division within the Office of the Attorney General of Guam the same week the GHURA deputy director launched allegations against him. Rumored to be at the top of the agenda for the OAG’s government corruption division is a review of Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz’s 2021 audit that alleged the illegal sole source procurement of a multimillion dollar hotel contract by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s then-legal counsel and son in law. That hotel, it was later discovered, had a multimillion dollar loan with the bank owned by the governor’s family. Her son in law worked at the bank prior to his stint as legal counsel, and then went back to work for the bank after his resignation from the governor’s office.

In response, Mr. Moylan has filed a complaint of discrimination against GHRUA that raises several concerns about how GHURA has been targeting politicians who are not politically aligned with the governor. The attorney general sent a disclosure request for a number of documents related to GHURA’s handling of other politicians’s – including former AGs – Section 8 landlord matters.

The documents disclosed reveal a disparity in how the agency has dealt with different politicians. For example, former Gov. Eddie Calvo, whose father is a landlord of several Section 8 tenants, received a conflict of interest waiver during his own administration.

On the other hand, the same Calvo administration went after then-Sen. Michael San Nicolas, whose father was the landlord of a Section 8 tenant. Mr. San Nicolas argued against GHURA’s determination against him, reasoning that as one of 15 senators, he had no power over GHURA’s regulations. He also made the same claim Mr. Moylan is making in his discrimination complaint: that he was being singled out while other politicians were treated differently.

The Calvo administration’s objective was obvious; and I also know for a fact that former Gov. Calvo himself wanted GHURA to go after Mr. San Nicolas because the former senator and congressman was the proverbial thorn in the former governor’s side.

Unfortunately, that abuse of power carried on into the current administration, when in 2019 GHURA sued Mr. San Nicolas over the matter. The case continues in court, and at tremendous cost to the former congressman, who has maintained his innocence all along.

These are not the only cases of governors utilizing regulatory and law enforcement agencies to punish or silence their detractors. Look at what is being uncovered in federal court regarding the Calvo Tenorio administration’s use of the now-defunct Mandana Drug Task Force.

Remember Dr. George Macris? A former lieutenant governor led the charge to suspend his medical license and remove all hope for patients in need of hyperbaric care for years simply because Dr. Macris was exposing corruption at Guam Memorial Hospital and among a cabal of politically-connected doctors.

Look at what’s been happening to Dr. Ron McNinch at the University of Guam. He dared to expose the coverup of sexual assaults of students, and was punished for it. Then, he sent two emails critical of the current governor, and he was punished again.

Two words: Jeff Evans.

The gubernatorial abuse of the powers wielded by several government agencies must be stopped. Ironically, the latest victim of the abuse – Douglas Moylan – is the one man who can bring this imperial political poison machine to a stunning halt.


  • Alan San Nicolas

      02/07/2023 at 5:55 AM

    Ma si’ok (sihok) I uno pues duru man a’siok. Huegu politika. Anunsia I chatko miyu. MAOLEK NA OGGA’AN AFAÑELOS

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