Massage-Gate: Governor Allegedly Had Masseuse Released from Police Custody Last Year














January 17, 2010

The story of Governor Fitial releasing his masseuse from prison so that she could give him a massage keeps getting more unbelievable! According to the Marianas Variety the governor previously had his masseuse, Qing Mei Cheng, released from police custody to give him a massage.

If this is true, last week's release from prison would have been the second time the governor used his office to release the masseuse. Reporter Gemma Casa reports that the woman was booked for loitering last year, "but the arresting officers released her because she was called to massage the governor."

From the Variety:
One of the arresting officers who asked not to be identified, said Qingmei Cheng, the 28-year-old masseuse at YuYu Spa, was booked for solicitation of customers sometime between March and June 2009.

The source said Cheng was ordered released even before she could be brought to the police station for questioning.
“It’s frustrating for politics to come into [our line of work]. One phone call and she was released even before she could be interviewed by an investigator. We were told she was going to massage the governor,” the source said.
Cheng’s arrest for solicitation should have been recorded by the Department of Corrections but the source said he wouldn’t be surprised if the incident was expunged from official documents.
If this is true, then it shows a flagrant lack of respect for the law and a pattern of abuse of power that is unacceptable. What legitimate masseuse solicits customers? The ridiculous excuses for such outrageous and unethical behavior offered by Fitial's defenders are pathetic. A person with back problems, can seek qualified medical care and there is absolutely no justification for releasing a prisoner.

Last year I covered the story of the Garapan prostitution problem and the fact that the police complained that they arrest the prostitues and then they are released. Were they referring to this case, among others? From my June 14, 2009 post, Lack of Prosecution to Blame for Saipan Prostitution?
A recent Saipan Tribune article quoted Police Commissioner Santiago Tudela as saying that prostitutes and illegal cab drivers arrested in the tourist district were back on the street the next evening because there is a lack of prosecution in these cases. Police Commissioner Tudela, Immigration Deputy Director Tony Sablan, David Palacios from the Dept. of Commerce, David Maratita of the Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Control Division, and Perry Tenorio from the Marianas Visitor's Authority met with members of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism to discuss problems in the tourist district. Only the Office of the Attorney General failed to send a representative.
The committee called the meeting because of complaints from business owners and residents who are worried that the illegal activities were negatively impacting tourism.
Police Commissioner Tudela said:
“For example, during the last time we did a sting operation and we arrested 16 women for prostitution, all of them have since been released. They're back on the street doing the same thing,” Tudela told Saipan Tribune.

In that sting operation, the Department of Public Safety and other enforcement agencies sought the help of visiting U.S. sailors to pose as “customers to solicit” services of suspected prostitutes, Tudela said.

In yesterday's meeting with members of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism and other agencies in the House chamber, Tudela said the lack of prosecution not only defeats the law but also hurts the morale of police officers who made the arrests on probable cause.

Tudela and Police Officer Vicente Sablan also told lawmakers that the Department of Public Safety does not receive any update from the Office of the Attorney General on the status of cases prosecuted, if they are at all prosecuted.

“We make arrests, they're put to jail for hours, they post bail and they're free again. Once it's with the Attorney General's Office, we won't know of the status of the case,” Tudela said, adding that the courts also do not provide DPS information on the conditions of release of individuals arrested.
You can also read about arrests made in April 2009 in this post, Business As Usual.

Why on earth would the governor have this woman continue to be his masseuse if he knew she had been arrested for solicitation? It is impossible to believe that an elected official would spring a woman from jail to give a massage when there are dozens of massage therapists on Saipan.

Students Among Those Arrested
The Marianas Variety also reported that five of the 24 individuals arrested for trying to get into Guam have foreign student entry permits. The foreign students were given entry permits under the CNMI Department of Commerce, which also regulates foreign schools.

Commerce Secretary Michael Ada said that the permits will be revoked if the students are found guilty. I am sure that the USCIS is watching this case and will deport these people if they are found guilty. The CNMI no longer has authority to deport foreigners since the federal takeover November 28, 2009.

Tina Sablan Questions OAG Defending Fitial
Former Rep. Tina Sablan told the Marianas Variety that Governor Fitial should get his own private attorney to explain to the Court why he ordered the release of a prisoner to give him a massage in the middle of the night. From the article:
“Do abuses of power for personal benefit count as official acts that warrant representation by government attorneys? Can anyone really say with a straight face that Fitial was acting in his official capacity when he received a personal massage service from a federal detainee?” Sablan asked.
“In my view, if Fitial had any respect for the public office he holds, and for the people of the CNMI, then at the very least he would obtain his own personal legal counsel to represent him. He would not make the people of the CNMI pay to defend his betrayal of their trust,” the former lawmaker stated.
Ms. Sablan called on the 17th Legislature not to be silent. She said, "The people of the CNMI have suffered enough embarrassment and disappointment as a result of the governor’s actions; they should not also be embarrassed and disappointed by the Legislature’s inaction.”

She also questioned where the "voice of the usiness community are on this issue."

The Saipan Tribune also quoted Ms. Sablan who spoke of the community outrage:
Tina Sablan, a former lawmaker and who successfully sued Fitial for the non-release of financial documents related to the CNMI government's lawsuit against federalization, said yesterday that “it is fairly evident that there are quite a few members of this community who are mounting a movement on various fronts to remove Fitial from office.”

Sablan said Fitial committed a “major and outrageous abuse of power” by ordering the unauthorized release of a detainee who was just recently indicted on human trafficking charges and who was being held without bail because she was determined to be a flight risk.

Sablan said there are people on island and off island who want to sign a recall petition.

“Lots of concerned and outraged individuals who are gathering and sharing information, and weighing their options for next steps,” she said.
Other Voices
A letter to the editor by Dr. Thomas D. Arkle, Jr. praised the Marianas Variety for its coverage and suggested they continue covering the story:
Get the pictures and “back-facts” to go with it. There MUST be a “mug” shot of what is now probably the most famous “masseuse” in the world — let’s see it. AND, I’ll bet you can force the info out of the Department of Labor about her “legality” to be in the NMI. Did she have a work contract? Does she have a current work permit? Who is her “legal” employer? Who OWNS the “Yu-Yu Club?”
I know the gov’s minions at Labor, the AG’s office, Commerce and others will try their best to run and hide — but I know you can do it!
Greg Cruz, president of the Taotao Tano stated in a letter to the editor that officer Arnold Kaipat Seman is the governor's son-in-law. He also pointed out that the Department of Corrections Commissioner, Dolores San Nicolas Aldan is one of the governor's anti-federalization supporters and a loyal follower of the governor. She is also the chairwoman of the CNMI Descent for Self-Government and Indigenous Rights the group that filed the Amicus Curiea request supporting the Governor's anti-federalization lawsuit.

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.”

Instead, he added, the office is intended to help indigenous people find jobs and for other social welfare work.
In September 2008, the President of the CNMI Descent, Delores San Nicolas requested the CNMI Legislature to fund Fitial's anti-federalization lawsuit:
An indigenous group is asking lawmakers to appropriate the $400,000 needed to fund the lawsuit filed by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial to stop the implementation of the CNMI federalization law next year.

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.
Such a tangled web...

If anyone has information on this case contact officials: Here are the telephone numbers:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tel 322-6934, Fax 322-6932
U.S. Attorney 236-2980 Fax 236-2945/236-2985

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

These reports of past indiscretion (although I would still consider them abuses of power) may be a ploy by the Fitial administration. I know it sounds weird but I have a feeling they are attempting to blow up the "sex scandal" part of this and hope that people run with that and he gets a slap on the wrist for messing around.

Let us all not forget that this lady was trafficking women to Guam (perhaps a victim herself).

This is not a minor crime. This is not something that can just be blow off as a one-time unique mistake that everyone lets slide.

MrCoffee said...

Wendy, the defenders are taking exception to your vocal "fanning the fires" of this controversy (and Angelo, Tina, et al).

I want to nip that in the bud... this is bigger than anything you bloggers could do. What this recent post does is aggregate Monday's developments, it had little commentary from you.

It is proof positive that this rabbit hole is much deeper than "Angles" Demapan or anyone in the Administration will concede.

The fissures within his supporters are already starting to show and the add-ons that she's gotten out of trouble before with just a phone call only deepen the fault lines.

NOW, I call on Kilili to denounce this proper, because it is clear that it is no longer an "isolated incident."

The Natural Resources Committee is watching and they should not continue to give blank checks to "America's Island Dictator."

Wendy said...

MrCoffee

I call on him to denounce this also.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Fitial. Are you packing your bags or will you stand by your man?

Anonymous said...

So the wife and commissioner watched the massage? I don't believe that crap either. Bet if they picked up the cell phone of the masseuse she has the guv on her speed dial. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Why was Jian Li scheduled for Arraignment in Superior Court in Manglona’s courtroom 220A on the week of 1/11 – 1/15 ?

Superior Court Calendar 1/11/09 ~ 1/15/09

220A : AJ, Manglona : 09-01763-TR : CNMI vs Li, Jian : Arraignment


More than likely it stems from this status conf in front of Manglona back in October of 2009. Why? What happened after the status conference?:

Superior Court Calendar 10/19/09 – 10/23/09

220A : AJ, Manglona : 09-00801-TR : CNMI vs Li, Jian : Status Conference



IN CASE ANYONE DIDN’T CATCH THE STORY IN THE JANUARY 8th TRIBUNE (same day the Governor called her to be brought to his house – early morning of the 8th) The info on the capture was sent out the day before, Jan 7th in order to make the news and that would have been when the Governor would have found out too.

Anonymous said...

Denounce what? That he's had previous treatment from this skilled masseuse? We know Governor Fitial supports alternative medicine, and that he has spinal stenosis.

Otherwise, the Fitial haters who like to make facts up are out in full force. Aren't cops suing DPS to take over the department? Disgruntled police -- at the low salaries caused by the CNMI's economic depression, what else is new?

Wendy said...

Anonymous 1:50

So supporting the law and having standards for government officials equals hate? I don't think so!

It's about the abuse of power and using his office for his own personal needs. No one can legitimize going against a court order and taking a prisoner out of jail for any reason. The alternative medicine excuse is ridiculous, especially because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of available masseuses who are not behind bars. What thinking person and elected leader would even consider removing a prisoner from jail for ANY reason? I can think of no one.

Now that it comes to light that this is at least the 2nd time you will blame the police? Disgusting. I hope that the officer has the courage to come forward and show the people enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

The Saipan Tribune's story claims now that the prisoner is a "massage therapist" Is she a masseuse/hooker who solicits customers on the street or a licensed therapist. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Noni 7:18 The Marianas Variety has far more investigative reporting than the Tribune. The Tribune paper is owned by Tan who is Fitial's guy.

Anonymous said...

The guys pumping out the alternative medicine has no moral compass and are clinging to their government jobs

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:10 Aren't these public records? Can you go to the courthouse and find out the charges?

Joe Hill is listed as the attorney for Li
Jed Horey is listed as the appointed attorney for Cheng. Seems conflicted since he filed the amicus paper for San Nicolas.

Anonymous said...

The governor should hold a press conference or at least truthfully respond to this breach of public trust, waste of tax dollars, and abuse of his office. If this happened in the states the media would be following him around. They would be camping outside his house trying to get photos and a statement from his wife. What will he do when the big news networks show up for the court dare in February? He better gather any little trace of dignity he still has and resign now before he further disgraces his wife, children and the entire CNMI.

And to address the comment at 1:50. If there are disgruntled police officers the governor should be very afraid. They will talk. Get out the popcorn. The best part of this story is coming.

Anonymous said...

ENOUGH! RESIGN OR RECALL!!!

review said...

Let's review:

Governor stopped the arrest of a masseuse/prostitute soliciting a customer so she could massage him

Governor had his friend and DOC commissioner take a prisoner from a jail cell for what was said to be a massage

The DOC Commissioner and officers violated the law by removing a prisoner from the jail without permission of Court or her attorney

Governor's son-in-law beats up a young prisoner and gets promoted. Then he helps to escort a prisoner who is ordered to be held without bail to the governor's house

A total of three DOC personnel were taken from their posts to take a masseuse/prisoner to the governor with the commissioner

Governor runs from media and press and issues a pathetic statement with his friend Dolores

Governor's supporters attack the few people with the guts to state that the emperor has no clothes

Governor's supporters can only come up with pathetic excuse that his back hurt so he had to have his own personal on-call girl service him from the DOC escort service

Governor's supporters think this is "business as usual" while tourism sinks and the image of our islands is further damaged.

Chamber and business owners keep quiet because they are spineless and lack moral compasses.

Governor's wife said to think this is all fine and dandy.

Anything missing?

Anonymous said...

The amicus paper was on behalf of an indigenous rights group, not any particular member or officer.

There is no conflict.

As for his so-called “personal needs,” the spinal stenosis is aggravated by the Governor self-sacrificially pouring himself for the sake of his people in the example of John Paul II.

The haters and demagogues urging him to resign if his health is that bad are the same evil-doers trying to export abortion, euthanasia, and disrespect of the elderly to our islands.

That is not the local way! We respect our elders, value their experience, and do not shunt them aside or warehouse them in “rest homes” when their bodies start to fail but their minds and lived experience have great things to offer.

Unlike the bitter political losers still fighting against the voice of the people in the last election and run-off, we the people of the Marianas recognize the inherent dignity and worth of each human person from conception to natural death.

We also prefer the American rule of law to mob rule fanning the flames of the politics of envy.

The Governor's use of alternative medicine resources available within the DoC is no more “personal” than President Obama's use of government physicians.

Too bad the Fitial haters don't have the patience to abide by the American legal system and instead seek to take the law in their own hands to remake society according to their Culture of Death -- fomenting plentiful abortion and discarding our manamko.

The elderly are not labor units to be used up and discarded!

Anonymous said...

8:51... omg... I don't know what to say... that distortion and perversion of logic and reason defy all possible opportunity to discuss this meaningfully. Just like when people lose when you compare someone to the Nazis or Hitler, YOU LOSE entirely if you try to hold up Fitial to JOHN PAUL II.... ARE YOU OK? Have you been drinking?

Anonymous said...

8:51

What are you smoking?

You compare a corrupt governor who supports a corrupt labor system, a governor who takes a prisoner from jail against a court order, a governor who has Jack Abramoff and Willie Tan for friends to a POPE!?

He shouldn't resign because of bad health. He should resign because he is corrupt and thinks he is above the law.

This is not political jealousy or hatred. It is common sense against the 'please let me keep my job' Fitial supporters who think it's perfectly okay to trample people's rights and give the middle finger to the law.

I don't care if he is 30 years old or 65. His behavior is outrageous! Now you pull out the age card because your alternative medicine card BOMBED? Sick,. won't work. gig is up!

There is no MOB. There is public outrage. Where is a mob? Now you want to take away 1st amendment rights?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:51 As a Catholic I find your remark extremely insulting. You are delusional and I will pray for you.

MrCoffee said...

You sure 8:51 isn't "Angles" Demapan... even Tyrannosaurus Kim plays on the reality side of the fence... little strong arm with the press, but still... not flights of fancy. And Humanitarian Bruce kept his smack with the alternative medicine tack, and it isn't the legal beagles, but this stuff... this is a new kinda special. It feels so very "Wag the Dog" with its ricked talk of abortions and seniors rights, huh?

Anonymous said...

"The elderly are not labor units "

But the federal detainees are?

Anonymous said...

MrCoffee The Humanitarian is not Bruce. The Humanitarian is Greg Baka.

Anonymous said...

Bruce is writing with/for Stanley and Baka.

What a bunch of sour grapes.

MrCoffee said...

The Humanitarian could be Uncle Buck for all I care... you sure there are no hookah bars on Saipan, cuz they've all been smokin.

Anonymous said...

kilili you lost my respect and my vote.