Of interest from the CNMI

May 14, 2009


Fitial Speaks to Pacific Mayors

Governor Fitial gave his federalization doomsday speech to the visiting mayors from the Pacific region who are on Saipan for the 2nd Annual Pacific Mayor's Conference, focused on the issue, “Beyond the economic and social impacts of federalization.”

The Saipan Tribune reported:
Fitial said independent economic studies supported his view of the grim consequences of federalization.

“Let me be clear about what happened here: The federalization of the CNMI's immigration system was established without a meaningful economic study of its potential impact. And the law was passed during the most economically vulnerable period in the CNMI's history,” he added.
Read about the “independent” economic study.

The law was actually passed many years after the federal government tried to pass it because Fitial and other CNMI officials hired lobbyist Jack Abramoff to successfully block it. The fact that it passed in an economically vulnerable period is partly his responsibility.

Fitial is headed to Washington DC to testify at the oversight hearing on Tuesday, May 19th. He'll pull out the doom and gloom speech and the argument that the bad economy is caused by federalization.

Rota Mayor Joseph Inos also blamed federalization on the bad economy. From the Marianas Variety
Federalization will result in the downfall of Rota’s economy, he told participants of the Pacific Mayors Conference yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa.

He said Rota’s economy will now have to depend on the presence of the U.S. armed forces on Guam.

But it will also mean more Rota residents leaving their island, he added.

Under federalization, moreover, the island’s skilled nonresident workers will have to leave eventually, which is “tantamount to economic bankruptcy.”
Rota looked like a ghost town in the summers of 2007 and 2008 when I was there. If the mayor is concerned about the foreign workforce leaving, he can join us in asking for a pathway to citizenship for the guest workers so a sufficient skilled workforce will be available.

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Villagomez and Santos Couple in Contempt of Court?

Lt. Governor Villagomez and the Santos couple who were recently convicted of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit offenses against the U.S., theft concerning a program receiving federal funds, and bribery related to the Rydlyme-CUC scandal defied a court order and did not report to the U.S. Probation Office. According to the Saipan Tribune:
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Alex R. Munson commanded Villagomez and the Santos couple to appear in court on June 4 at 9am to explain why they should not be held in civil contempt for failing to fully comply with the court's order.
Munson said he gave an oral order last April 24 directing the three to report to and cooperate fully with the U.S. Probation Office.

The cooperation includes submitting to a personal interview and signing all consent and waiver forms necessary for the Probation Office to complete its pre-sentence report.

Apparently, the defendants failed to comply with the order.

Munson stated, though, that if the court is notified by the U.S. Probation Office before 11:30am on Monday, May 18, 2009, that the defendants have signed all necessary forms and that the personal interview has started, this hearing will be canceled without a further court order.
Will the couple be sent to jail if they don't comply?_____________________________________

OAG Request Status Conference Rescheduled

The OGA Request status conference scheduled for yesterday was postponed because CNMI assistant attorney Huesman is off-island. The hearing will be rescheduled for June 4th.

From the Saipan Tribune :
Sablan said yesterday that there has already been a considerable delay in the case and questioned why they have to wait for Huesman.

“I don't agree that it is only Huesman who can represent [Fitial and Inos] in this case,” the lawmaker said.

Sablan pointed out that acting Attorney General Gregory Baka, who is familiar with the case, could also appear in court in the absence of Huesman.

Under the OGA, Sablan said, she is entitled to a speedy proceeding.

The lawmaker also questioned why of the 34 items listed on the “privilege log” there was no mention about the law firm's communication with Fitial or the administration regarding the lawsuit against federalization.

In addition, Sablan said, the account number that Baka provided her as the source of funding for the federalization lawsuit does not exist.

She said she is not sure whether or not it was an honest mistake by Baka.

Wiseman said he would direct the government to clarify which account it is referring to. The judge said he is trying his best to accommodate Sablan's request to speed up the proceedings in this case.
I agree that it is extremely unlikely that no correspondence exists between Jenner and Block and Willens and the governor’s office. That omission should also be investigated.

2 comments:

The Actor said...

You have the wrong link to your third article. It should be this one:

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=90302

wendy said...

Thanks so much Actor. I fixed it!