Senators consider hiring lawyer with pending FBI, AG and ethics complaints

The Democratic legislative majority is considering hiring a lawyer who has multiple pending FBI, attorney general of Guam, and local ethics complaints.

Darlene Hiton

Senators will be voting whether to elect attorney Darlene Hiton from the law firm of Phillips & Bordallo as legislative counsel over two other lawyers. Kandit is not aware of the two other lawyers having any FBI, AG or ethics complaints.

Hiton was appointed temporary legislative legal counsel last month following the resignation of former counsel Ana Won Pat Borja. The democrats, as the party controlling the legislature, now are preparing to vote to hire Hiton permanently over the other two candidates. This is according to sources within their caucus.

Hiton is named as a suspect in a criminal case filed with the FBI on April 5, 2019. Because of the sensitive nature of the matter, Kandit will not be disclosing the details of the complaint nor the names of the others individuals listed as suspects.

We can confirm, however, that the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office received the complaint on April 5, 2019.

11 pending ethics complaints

Ms. Hiton also has 11 ethics complaints involving her and her firm pending. Kandit originally inquired with the democratic senators if they had been made aware of the complaints.

We obtained a copy of an email Ms. Hiton sent to senators, where she clearly twists the facts. In the email she asserted to senators she has never been charged by the Guam Bar Association. That is true, but completely misrepresents the facts at hand. It is not the Guam Bar Association, where at least 11 ethics complaints are pending.

Those cases were originally filed in 2013 before the Guam Bar Association and its ethics prosecutor at the time, attorney Bruce Bradley. In 2021, matters before the former Guam Bar Ethics Committee and Office of the Ethics Prosecutor were transferred to the Comprehensive Lawyer Regulatory System, which includes the Office of Regulation Counsel at the Supreme Court of Guam.

As of November, complainants had been informed that the cases were ongoing and have never been informed of any dismissals of the ethics complaints since November of 2021. This means the cases remain active and under investigation, unless the Office of Regulation Counsel has adjudicated without notice to the complainants.


Darlene Hiton and Mike Phillips

Further, a complaint for criminal investigation remains before the Attorney General of Guam for legal over-billing as a member of the firm who billed her time.

We are awaiting responses from lawmakers on why they would choose this lawyer over the other two, who do not have these types of pending matters.

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