BOOST Connects: Senate president’s family, top campaign official get BOOSTed
Senate president Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) told senators in the closing session of the 22nd Commonwealth Senate that he is disappointed with the BOOST program. He said he does not know what to tell people who call him to ask whether they’ll ever get a fair shot at federally-funded grants for small businesses.
There’s an old saying: Actions speak louder than words.
In the video below, you can watch and listen to Mr. Hofschneider’s words. But don’t miss the story below that indicates his actions, which tell a whole different story:
Also Jude Hofschneider:
On November 14, 2022, Mr. Hofschneider’s campaign chairman – Antonio “Ton Friday Borja” – received a $20,000 BOOST grant for the company 4 Friday’s Fish Market. This is according to the list of BOOST awardees furnished to the Commonwealth Legislature by the Bank of Saipan. Kandit verified with Genevieve Santos with the Tinian business license office that Mr. Borja is the owner.
Mr. Borja’s fortunes through the BOOST program didn’t end there. His wife’s company – Benedicta L Borja RTW (Ready to Wear) – received a $20,000 BOOST grant on December 5, according to the list. Ms. Santos verified the ownership record with Kandit.
The Borjas weren’t the first in their family to receive a grant. According to the list, Hayu Ha’ received $50,000 on October 5, 2022. The Tinian business office had no record of Hayu Ha’. Kandit was told no such company existed. The Saipan office, however, found a record, showing the company belongs to Huk L. Borja. According to Ms. Santos, this is the same person as Ton Friday’s son.
On October 5, 2022, Tinian company K-Town LLC was among the first awardees of the Building Optimism and Opportunities for Stability Together (BOOST) program grant. The company received $50,000 that day.
Unsatisfied with their fortunes, K-Town put in another application. And though thousands of politically unconnected legitimate small businesses in the CNMI got nothing, K-Town on October 21 – just 16 days later – received another $75,000.
This $125,000-richer company is owned by Eric Kwon, according to the Commonwealth’s business license office. Mr. Kwon is Tinian Sen. Jude Hofschneider’s son in law. Mr. Hofschneider is the Senate president, who put up every roadblock to prevent the removal of Gov. Ralph Torres from office earlier this year despite thousands of pages of documented evidence of corruption.
But the insanity doesn’t stop there.
Mr. Hofschneider’s son in law isn’t the only family member to benefit from the Torres administration’s misuse of federal funds.
Less than a month after K-Town received its second grant award, the company John R. Santos and Corrine H. Santos – Isla Rental received a $20,000 BOOST award. Ms. Santos is the senator’s sister.