Wil Castro on awarding federal funds: “I don’t forget my friends”

A series of text messages between former Guam Sen. Wil Castro and a Bank of Saipan employee appears to show Mr. Castro’s awarding of federal funds to the bank because of his personal relationship with the bank’s president, John Arroyo. Mr. Castro is Gov. Ralph Torres’s chief of staff, and one of three officials who determine which applicants to the Building Optimism and Opportunities for Stability Together (BOOST) program receive grants.

Bank of Saipan, according to documents subpoenaed by a joint investigative committee of the CNMI House of Representatives, received the highest amount granted thus far out of 241 awardees, and more than 4,000 applicants: $250,000. Mr. Arroyo also is from Guam.

Wil Castro

Mr. Castro is testifying before the committee today in response to a subpoena. He claimed not to have a personal relationship with Mr. Arroyo, when asked by joint committee co-chairwoman Rep. Celina Roberto Babauta.

That was before the joint committee published a series of November 18, 2022 text messages between Mr. Castro and Bank of Saipan’s Karen Kent.

KENT: Thank you for including Bank of Saipan in the Boost (sic) program. We’ve gotten a lot of exposure since then, and a long line today.

CASTRO: Yup! I don’t forget my friends. John has been Gud (sic) to me in the past. So…. And now I met u (sic). I got ur (sic) back.

The joint committee launched its investigation on the heels of reports Mr. Torres and his administration were using federal funds illegally to bolster support for his reelection. He lost his bid in a landslide to Gov.-elect Arnold Palacios 10 days after that text chain.


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