The government official who issued the certificate of title indicating Core Tech International owns Lot 10184-7, Ukudu told assistant attorney general Jamie Canto in an October 26, 2020 deposition that no mistake was made in the issuance of that legal document.
The admission is significant, as a court battle – brought first by GovGuam through the Guam Department of Land Management in December 2018, and then joined months later by Guam Waterworks Authority – wages against CTI to take the property away from the company. CTI purchased the property from Younex in 2015, and has a legally-recorded mortgagee’s deed filed at DLM evidencing its purchase and claim.
Then-director of land management, Michael Borja, based the entire lawsuit against CTI on his assertion that DLM erroneously issued a certificate of title to Younex in 2010, the ownership of which CTI purchased in 2015.
But, according to the October 2020 deposition, Borja’s own employee and deputized registrar of titles at the DLM said he made no mistake when he issued the certificate of title to Younex. As a matter of fact, he said, he was simply following the legal train of deeds and transfer documents.
“I only followed the deeds, the transfer documents,” former deputy registrar of titles Andrew Santos said. “I did not go out of no one’s way, and I shouldn’t.”
Mr. Canto, who was questioning Mr. Santos, asked him, “Do you believe that you issued a [certificate of title] that incorrectly conveyed the treatment plant?”
Mr. Santos replied, “Man, sir, I would like to say I did make a mistake, but like I said earlier, I only base myself on these transfer documents. There’s just nothing else that I base myself on but these transfer documents that relate to conveyance. That’s it.”
The testimony was so damning for the government’s case, Mr. Canto had to do a double take on the question.
“Do you realize now that you made a mistake?” Mr. Canto asked. The question elicited an more-damning answer.
“I want to tell you I don’t think I made a mistake,” the issuer of titles said.
Is the AG in the dark?
“It appears Attorney General Leevin Camacho’s lieutenants may not be informing him of the facts of the ongoing case,” CTI attorney Peter R. Sgro, Jr. said. “I cannot help but question whether certain assistant attorney generals in this case have kept the Attorney General informed about the real facts of this case. I respect the Attorney General and feel that if he was informed about facts related to this case, the Attorney General would have never intervened in this case. It appears to me that there may be information being withheld from the Attorney General since I feel if he new details, he would know he had an ethical and legal obligation to withdraw.”
According to the Guam Rules of Civil Procedure, lawyers have a duty, when pleading matters before the court, to certify the matters they bring are non-frivolous, backed by evidence, and are supported by law.
Rule 11b states By presenting to the court a pleading … an attorney … is certifying that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,–
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;
(3) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
Mr. Canto’s knowledge, since October 26, 2020, that his own client (Mr. Santos, as the issuer of titles) destroyed the government’s entire claim the certificate of title was erroneously issued should have signaled a dismissal of the case, according to observers of the court battle.
“Mr. Santos’s response to Canto should have prompted this assistant attorney general to raise the matter directly to the attorney general,” Mr. Sgro told Kandit.
Title reports support CTI’s claims
Late Tuesday afternoon on the radio show “Tall Tales,” host Bob Klitzkie (an attorney, and former judge and senator), took a call from Sen. Christopher Duenas about the issue. Mr. Duenas, recalling his late father’s experience in real estate, raised the question of whether any title research was ever conducted by a private title company.
Mr. Sgro then called into the show, congratulating Duenas on raising a point that both GWA and the Department of Land Management continue to avoid. Sgro said CTI not only engaged one private title insurance company but retained three separate independent insurance companies. And that all three unrelated and independent title insurance companies reached the same conclusion that CTI is the owner of the land.
Sgro then went on to question activities at the Department of Land Management since the conclusions of all three title companies are all based on documents recorded with the Department of Land Management.
Kandit has asked both the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General whether current director of land management Joseph Borja, or Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero are aware of the details of this case, as the de facto clients of the attorney general in the lawsuit.
Governor’s spokeswoman Krystal Paco-San Agustin referred Kandit to the OAG for answers. The OAG has yet to provide any.