Former CNMI House Speaker preys on downtrodden workers

October 7, 2009

Former House Speaker Oscar Rasa has been accused of deceiving a guest worker by promising to get her a job at a hotel in exchange for $445. How low.

The Saipan Tribune reports:

Gita Chapagai, 25, and her boyfriend, Madhav Pandey, said Rasa claimed he is close to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and that he knows everybody at the Department of Labor.

The two Nepalese said that, after they gave the last payment on Aug. 18, 2009, Rasa has avoided them.

When asked for comment about the complaint, Rasa admitted that he received money from the Nepalese. He said he is willing to give back the money because he could not help Chapagai because she is not qualified for the position she is applying for.
The guest worker claims that Rasa promised help in securing a job at the World Resort as a waitress. As if that wasn't low enough Rasa got met the victim outside D'Elegance and asked for more money. From the article:
Pandey said that they first gave $70 to Rasa at the Covenant Party's headquarters on Aug. 9, 2009.

He said the former House Speaker asked for the money apparently because he was going to see Fitial and that he had no gasoline for his car.

Showing a copy of an acknowledgment of receipt, Pandey said they gave $350 to Rasa the following day for processing fee at Labor.

The Nepalese said that on Aug. 18, 2009, they handed $25 more to Rasa outside D' Elegance Cafe in Garapan after Rasa called and asked money for beer.

Rasa allegedly told him that he was paying beer for a Labor employee who has been helping him process Chapagai's papers.
The article reveals the anguish of the deceived couple.

Rasa claimed that he did not get the woman a job because she "was not qualified."

Someone should investigate to see if Rasa was actually bribing a DOL employee with beer for "helping him process Ms. Chapahai's papers" or if he was just using that line to steal money from trusting guest workers. He needed $70 for gas to see Governor Fitial? How despicable to take (or perhaps attempt to steal) money from an unemployed guest worker.

Oscar Rasa was "spokesperson" for the obscure group, The CNMI Descents for Self-Government and Indigenous Rights that some claim was formed solely for the purpose of backing Fitial's anti-federalization lawsuit. It certainly appears that way since no one has heard from them since their much-publicized involvement in the lawsuit as amicus curiae.

From a previous post:
CNMI Descents for Self-Government and Indigenous Rights acting chairwoman Dolores San Nicolas said the lawsuit aims to seek clarification regarding the federal government’s authority over the CNMI.

“We are dealing with a violation of the rights of indigenous self-government guaranteed under the Covenant,” she said, referring to the U.S. law that made the islands part of America. Another September 2008 article quotes the group's spokesperson, Oscar C. Rasa:
The CNMI Descents for Self-Government and Indigenous Rights is not misleading the people when it supported the lawsuit filed by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial against the federal government, according to its adviser and spokesman, former Speaker Oscar C. Rasa

He also clarified that supporting the lawsuit “does not make us a front of the Fitial administration.”

“Our group was established to protect our self-government and indigenous rights, and to formulate comprehensive educational programs to enable the indigenous people to understand their role in government pursuant to the Covenant and the Constitution,” he said.
October 2008 as the Marianas Variety reported:
The NMI Indigenous Descents for Self-Government & Indigenous Rights believes that the implementation of federal immigration law next year will result in the loss of the islands’ 15,000 guest workers, kill the tourism industry and reduce government revenues by $80 million.

In a letter, the group urged lawmakers to support the lawsuit filed by the Fitial administration challenging certain provisions of the federalization law, or U.S. P.L. 110-229

The governor has said that the lawsuit will cost $400,000.

Rose T. Ada-Hocog, the group’s secretary, said federalization “would simply suffocate any dedicated efforts to reviving the local economy.
Yet another article reported:
According to Rasa, the governor’s lawsuit is directed against the “immigration, security and labor provisions of U.S. P.L. 110-229.

Fitial wants to show how much will the CNMI lose as a result of the implementation of the law, Rasa said. He said his group supports the lawsuit as it will uphold local self-government and prevent the indigenous population from being marginalized.
Since its inception, the group's relationship with the Fitial Administration has been questioned. In August, it was announced that the group would be opening an office in the same building that houses the CNMI Department of Labor in San Antonio. The Saipan Tribune reported:
The small office, sharing the same building as the Department of Labor, opened earlier this month and [Martin] Sakisat said it has sparked some concerns from the community that it will be a staging ground for political efforts. The organization has recently gotten status as a nonprofit group, however, barring it from political work, Sakisat said.

“It's not a political office,” he said. “The articles of corporation prohibit this office, by being itself chartered as a nonprofit, from endorsing any candidate or being connected with any politicians.”
The spokesperson and adviser for the CNMI Descent group, Oscar C Rasa, is controversial and has been implicated in several questionable schemes.

In 1989 he was indicted for extortion and wire fraud and sentenced to three years in federal prison and a $1,000 fine. Also charged were his late brother, Ponciano Rasa, and Leo Pangelinan. According to court documents:
A Senator of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, his brother and political adviser, and a consultant to the Commonwealth's Senate Committee on Resources, Development and Programs -- engaged in a scheme to obtain kickback payments from Japanese businesses in exchange for petitioners' agreement to assist (or at least not to hurt) those businesses in their efforts to secure construction contracts from the Commonwealth. In connection with the scheme, petitioners went to Japan to solicit a $165,000 bribe. Petitioners also caused wire transmissions to pass between New York and the Northern Mariana Islands, directing payments to be made to one of the Japanese firms.
In 1999 another controversy developed when Oscar Rasa was given a contract to represent the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission (TCGCC) as a consultant earning $100,000 plus benefits a year. There were questions about hiring a former felon and also issues with unpaid hotel bills:
The Island Leisure Corp., which owns Tinian Hotel, has sued Rasa at the Superior Court for his refusal to pay his bills amounting to $5,200 which covered his four-month use of the hotel facilities last year.

Rasa was given 20 days to respond to Tinian Hotel’s complaint, but he never did, prompting the court to issue a default judgment against him.

He was ordered by the court to pay Island Leisure Corp. a total of $7,950, which included other damages aside from the hotel bills he had incurred.
The CNMI Senate conducted investigations on Rasa and the commission:
The panel is reopening its inquiry following new developments on the gaming commission after its employment contract with former House Speaker Oscar C. Rasa drew controversy early last month.

Committee chair Sen. David Cing last week said several people, including Rasa as well as legal counsels for TCGCC, will be subpoenaed to testify during the oversight.

The Senate has empowered the EAGI to resume its hearing on the alleged funds misuse, which was called off early last year without completing its inquiry.

The series of hearings, to be conducted amid growing animosity between parties, is expected to focus on Rasa’s employment with TCGCC and his functions while serving as its consultant.

Although Rasa has challenged attempts to terminate his $100,000-a-year contract, Tinian Mayor Francisco M. Borja has defended the move on grounds that it was improper.

The embattled TCGCC consultant has maintained he would welcome the Senate investigation, but resented appearing before what he called "kangaroo hearing" and be subjected by "Senator Cing’s political agenda."

TCGCC has come under fire over the last two years due to the allegations. Early last year, EAGI suspended its oversight after prime witness Paul Palmer, former executive director of the commission, suddenly disappeared.
The Office of the Public Auditor reported the following in their 1999 Annual Report:
The audit (AR-99-03) showed that the Consulting Service Agreement executed between the TCGCC commissioners and Oscar C. Rasa violated CNMI and local budget laws and the TCGCC Procurement Regulations. The CNMI Planning and Budgeting Act and the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Act require that public funds be expended pursuant to currently effective appropriations, while the Procurement Regulations provide that no contract shall be valid unless it complies with those Procurement Regulations. Since TCGCC officials did not have funding authority to execute the Agreement with Mr. Rasa because no appropriation was passed in fiscal year 1997, and since TCGCC officials failed to comply with regulations for the procurement of professional services, the Agreement cannot be considered valid.
Consequently, OPA recommended that the Consulting Service Agreement awarded to Oscar Rasa be declared null and void and all payments made to Mr. Rasa totaling $739,346 by TCGCC be considered illegal and be recovered...
As of the time of the audit, no accomplishment reports, finished work product, or other convincing evidence that Oscar Rasa had provided valuable services to TCGCC was seen that would justify his $400,000 professional fee and excessive fringe benefits.
The couple claimed that Rasa avoided them after taking the last time he "took" money from them on August 18, 2009.

Rasa told the Tribune that he would return the money, but it's about more than returning money. Rasa offered false hope to a woman who was desperate to land a job. The time that she wasted believing that Rasa was getting her a position could have been spent searching for a legitimate job. The article stated that she has only until October 14th to find a job. Truly cruel.


Anonymous said...

This guy is a con artist an belongs behind bars.

Anonymous said...

Fitial is a scum magnet.

Anonymous said...

Rasa.... gives new meaning to the term "La Rasa"-- a certain race of scoundrel of the lowest form: an intelligent and arrogant thief. Can we deport him?

Anonymous said...

I don't think we can deport him, but he can be locked up.

counting said...

How many ways can you cheat and con a worker? If I make a list will you print it here? These poor people. When will it ever end?

Anonymous said...

Let's make a list of the "Hall of Shame" for those infidels who have made themselves special and unique with their notoriety. Oscar Rasa would top that-- everything he touches turns to waste.

Anonymous said...

What's your point Windy Doromol? Are you blaiming Governor Fitial for this again?

Shame on you Windy Doromol!!!

shame on noni said...

noni 8:06 The question is What's YOUR point. She doesn't make this crap up.

Thanks for posting about this Wendy and for giving us some background on this guy.

Anonymous said...

If he scammed one couple, you can bet there are others he scammed. Maybe if all of them come forward he will be locked up. Doesn't this guy have a job?

Anonymous said...

Hall of Shame list

1. Oscar Rasa
2. Tim Villagomez
3. James Santos
4. Joaquina Santos
5. Willie Tan

Anonymous said...

6. Ricardo Atalig
7. Fermina Atalig

Anonymous said...

Are we listing just convicted felons and people who violated labor or criminal laws or anyone who has contributed to the downfall or loss of reputation of the NMI? If it's the latter add:

8. Benigno Fitial

Anonymous said...

All dealers
10.labor abusers
11.human traffickers

Anonymous said...

How does Rasa avoid jail? Good question noni 8:35. Does he work for the government? Is he retired? Does he just stroll the island exhorting money from the poorest among us?

Anonymous said...

typo -I meant extorting

Anonymous said...

Joaquina Santos has finally found a home. Dublin, Califorina

Anonymous said...

Juan Demapan should have a new home in Club Fed too....

Anonymous said...

12. Corrupt Cops.
13. Defense lawyers
14. Filipino and Bangladesh
scam artists who prey on their

15. Michael Dodd, Crispin Taitano Patrick Calvo and their ilk of pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

16.Froilan Tenorio and his Japanese yakuza followers

Anonymous said...

17. Dynasty Hotel owners
18.Ramon Mafnas

Anonymous said...

19. American lawyers
20. Juan Pan and his pal Komodo

Anonymous said...

Willie Tan runs the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and props up his yes men to write legislation for our pathetic Congress. Some of the yes persons are Jim A., Juan Pan, Lynn K., Dick P., just to name a few.

Anonymous said...

Oscar Rasa has a long history of scamming. Besides the federal felony conviction...

When he worked as an over-paid "consultant" (contracted for about 3/4 of a million dollars), he racked up bills at the Tinian Hotel. The court ordered him (and the Tinian Gaming Commission) to pay the bill ($5,200).

He was also at one point charged with scamming an 82 year old man, convincing the old man to lend money to Rasa and his wife with the promise of repayment and the assurance (false) that Rasa was due to receive land compensation money. Those charges were dropped, and one wonders if pressure from the Governor's office at the time had anything to do with it--as Governor Babauta had posted bail for Oscar Rasa! The "defense" reminds one of the shell game-where's the pea: the promise of land compensation wasn't a lie because it was coming from land that had belonged to Rasa's son, who hadn't (really?) transferred it really to one Jose Cabrera...huh?

He's worked his scam magic on Japanese businessmen (that was what got the felony conviction); tried it on the aged; raked in huge bucks from the CNMI government.

Most people in the CNMI know to avoid him.

He's really hit bottom when he's going after poor foreign workers.

But whereever there's a bit of desperation or vulnerabiity and some cash to go with it, that's where you'll find Oscar Rasa.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this guy pictured shaking hands with the Guv and Froilan on the front page awhile back?

an american defense lawyer said...

Would anyone like to explain why "American lawyers" and "defense lawyers" are on the list?

Wendy said...

I wondered why they were on that list too.

Anonymous said...

21. Al Stayman
22. George Miller
23. David Cohen

Anonymous said...

I can see putting criminally corrupt and other big-time political types on a list like this, but why does Ramon Mafnas always seem to end up in these kinds of discussions? What did he ever do that's so bad? Beat up a census taker ten years ago? Let's face it, that's just not in the same league. For some reason, there is a level of blog hostility to Mafnas that is out of all proportion to his deserts. Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

21-23 Stayman, Miller, Cohen for what? For pushing to end corruption? Oh such sour grapes...

Anonymous said...

Oscar Rasa: Exhibit 1 on how someone so smart can go so wrong. Ricardo Atalig-- remember him giving us the finger? Bert Montgomery and Tommy Boy Aldan: Where are they now?

As for lawyers.. I don't know.. but Joey Arriola, Rey Yana, and Tony Atalig's presence in jail certainly is no complement. Ted Mitchell never went to jail but he certainly came close a few times.

Anonymous said...

noni 7:29 you are missing a lot... like most of your brain. If you,I, or anyone else on Saipan took a 2x4 and beat an innocent man's head in and caused serious brain damage, we would be in prison. Check the facts.. Ramon is a very dangerous man. I have bets that the future will prove this right. The man is a ticking emotional time bomb. DOC... keep Quad four open for Ramon Mafnas.

Anonymous said...

Why Stayman, Miller and Cohen? Because the list is for "anyone who has contributed to the downfall or loss of reputation of the NMI." Cohen was just a self-deluded pawn, but Stayman and Miller belong at the very top of that list.

Anonymous said...

Noni 6:14

The list was described as this ---

"Let's make a list of the "Hall of Shame" for those infidels who have made themselves special and unique with their notoriety. "

your three do not belong.

Anonymous said...

With that definition, who does belong? Galileo? Spinoza?

Anonymous said...

Allen P. Stayman and George Miller have caused more harm to the CNMI economy than anyone else in history, and the victims -- unemployed guest workers, many of whom have already had to go home, and poor locals -- continue to suffer to this day.

It is correct that David B. Cohen and James J. Benedetto were merely the instruments or tools of oppression (in drafting Pub. L. 110-229) and not the seminal source of the problem themselves.

Oscar Rasa has already been in federal prison once. Maybe Jim B. can atone for his mistakes by sending Rasa back.