Massage-Gate: The never-ending saga continues

January 27, 2010

As the story of massage-gate unfolds it seems to be more and more like a soap opera than a real-life incident. The Saipan Tribune reports that the governor's masseuse, Qingmei Cheng, was twice a victim of domestic violence. According to the article her boyfriend, Nasir Uddin, abused her in September and December 2007. In one incident he reportedly tied her up with a rope and another time he reportedly threatened her with a knife. The paper said that the couple has a child.

AG: No CNMI Law Violated
AG Buckingham reportedly told Rep. Benavente that no CNMI laws were violated in the message-gate incident. He did not say whether or not any federal laws were broken.

The jail sounds like it has a revolving door for its prisoners. Reportedly some prisoners have been allowed out to attend funerals and to visit ill family members in the hospital if accompanied by guards. These circumstances seem more reasonable then requesting that a prisoner be released to administer a massage. Especially, considering that there are dozens of other masseuses who were not in prison and could have been hired instead.

Who decides if a prisoner can be released or not? And who pays for the guards and officials to take these trips?

Apparently, CNMI laws are very relaxed regarding the jail's policies and the holding of prisoners. It seems that the release of prisoners may be common place, which may explain why the governor and his supporters don't seem to comprehend the outrage. There are rumors that DOC Commissioner Dolores Aldan allows her prisoner-husband out on weekends, and that he has even been seen around the island. Is this true?! Nothing like a little favoritism to cloud the climate at the jail.

Masseuse Talked About Governor
Qingmei Cheng, the governor's masseuse apparently was proud of having the governor as a client. Some report that the masseuse was frequently at the governor's house:

Those who know her described Cheng as “petite, pretty and voluptuous.”

They said they never saw the governor walked into the spa but the 28-year-old Cheng herself talked about giving massages to the governor every now and then.

“She was proud of it,” a source said.
The Marianas Variety reports that the YuYu Spa charges $25 for a one-hour massage and $5.00 more for a massage off-site.

The article reports that some residents are wondering if DOC Commissioner and three officers who accompanied the prisoner to the governor's house received overtime pay. It may be more interesting to know whether or not the officials actually left their assigned posts at the jail during the time they were "guarding" this one prisoner so the governor could get a massage. Was the security of the remaining prisoners and guards compromised?

Others suggest that the governor's phone records should be examined. Why not also examine the phone records of the prisoner and the commissioner and other officials?

There are so many questions, and so few answers. People are hoping that some light will be shed on this incident on Febraury 17th at the evidentiary hearing. The Variety listed many questions that residents want answered such as: How did the governor learn that the prisoner was in jail? Did she call him? Did he contact her? Did someone else inform him? How long did the massage take? Did she receive pay and/or a tip?

More Letters
The letters to the editor flow in as outrage over massage-gate continues. Dr. Tom Arkle questioned what potential tourists may think of the CNMI. He also questioned the role of the legislators:

Quick note to members of the House: Seven governors have either been forced out or voluntarily stepped down in the last two years after federal authorities exposed “deeds” (some illegal, some just inappropriate) and not a single state legislature has “waited” for an outside agency (the feds) to take any action before acting themselves-except you. The simple appearance of impropriety was enough in every case. Has the cat got your tongue? Or is it just all that “other” dirt that might come out? Do you believe damage to the NMI's worldwide image is unimportant if it originates from within? We must all remember that Fitial and Abramoff are “peas in a pod” (also see below for more “peas”) for over 15 years. Jack has yielded over 500,000 pages of “investigative” testimony in exchange for a lesser sentence during the last three years. (He got five years, 10 months instead of 10). Can't wait to see what all those pages have to say. The CNMI parts-so far-have resulted in eight convictions and 10 “lost” congressional seats. More to come?

Kate Jackson of Saipan wrote:
It is hard to imagine a governor that has no knowledge of the “going-ons” on such a small island. Human smuggling is just one of the reasons we now have federalization. Does he not read the papers? Does anyone dare tell him what he is doing is wrong? Has he not been to Garapan and seen the many many massage parlors there? How did he know who to call if he didn’t know she was in jail? Did he know of her “loitering” in Garapan the night she gave him a massage in early 2008? What about all the other questions that have been raised? Is he that out of touch with reality?

This act occurred Jan. 8. THREE DAYS BEFORE his swearing in for a second term. There is NO WAITING PERIOD for a recall or impeachment!

This action cannot be glossed over. There must be consequences for his action. If Fitial is allowed to get away with this WHAT WILL HE DO NEXT? Will the people allow him to be a law unto himself? The Legislature must take a stand or they will be forever tainted by his actions. The federal government must take stand. To ignore this would thoroughly diminish the laws, the moral and ethical standards by which the rest of us live and are judged by.

Trust and faith must be restored on and at all levels. This travesty can not be swept under the carpet. The pride and dignity of these islands is at stake.
Wrist slapping and plea bargaining not accepted.
Yesterday the Marianas Variety carried the headline, "Supporters Pity Fitial." Several "supporters" claim that there are exceptions to every rule. Sorry, no there are not. Laws should not be broken and officials should not be used to serve elected officials' personal needs.

One person, Jinky Sablan claimed that she would do the same thing if she had back pain.(Good luck on that!)

The comments from readers regarding the article expressed totally unsympathetic sentiments:
Consideration- How one thinks that Fitial actually had a back pain massage? That was just his sole claim to cover up his dirty acts of deception. What do you expect from a specialized prostitute? A back pain massage, really?

If Fitial was really in a disabling state of back pain to a point that he knowingly allowed the release and accepted the service of a federal detainee then he should have disqualified himself as physically incompetent to run for office. If this is what he feels now, incompetence will be too costly for CNMI. He should step down and be the first to rest in the hands of the U.S federal as he had stated.
Hmmm. For every rule there is an exception. You think the CNMI Treasury could issue me a check in the amount of $10 Million, as an exception. And, while you are at it, I'll throw in a couple hundred for Ben's massages!
An outrageous and strange letter from Lee Anderson is a prime example of someone who makes excuses for absolutely inexcusable behavior of elected officials. The letter is an insult to anyone who has the tiniest amount of intelligence or respect for the law. From the letter:
Who is to say Governor Fitial was not in such excruciating torment that he would not have sacrificed everything just to relieve it? Even to allegedly seek the release of a federal detainee from jail, whom he knew in the past and could in the present ease his specific type of suffering-or else? And who among you would wish the worse unto him-if this life-saving therapy wasn't administered-the pain, the possible crippling of body or even death? Don't pretend otherwise if you haven't had spinal stenosis.

And that “abuse of power while in public office” charge? Nonsense. I call it an act by Governor Fitial just to stay alive. In 2006, at the onset of Governor Fitial's first term, when his suffering became too much to bear and he was rushed to an operation in southern California, I contacted my daughter in San Francisco, who is a chief nurse, and she warned me of spinal stenosis' complications-and that he might not make it.
To stay alive the governor needs to take a masseuse from jail for a massage which the writer calls "life-saving" therapy?! Maybe Fitial is too sick to serve.

Then there's this remark in Anderson's letter that attacks the island's Muslim community:
And the implied “breach of national security”? I'm all for protecting our community and islands' borders. Put me at the top of the list to prevent terrorists from (rogue) communist countries to infiltrate by subterfuge, whether it be as incoming tourists or aliens brought in to work on (military) projects, or those alien workers presently on island collaborating inside their secret mosques who could be sleeper agents itching for U.S. green cards. Or, as in the case of the Chinese masseuse in question, being caught with two dozen other infiltrators attempting to illegally enter Guam by boat. If these aliens are found to be extremists, justice should be swift and final
Who is this person? Who questioned national security? Anderson stated: "...or those alien workers presently on island collaborating inside their secret mosques who could be sleeper agents itching for U.S. green cards." What an inappropriate and prejudicial remark. Should people also be afraid that there could be white supremacists or militia threatening security?

The writer also thinks the story is "funny" suggesting:
At worst, it's good for a laugh. The story smacks of a Saturday night live comedy routine or late night talk show fodder meant to sell tickets and increase viewership ratings of the dog-eat-dog competing media to a nation in need of titillation.
What is funny about a governor disgracing the reputation of an island nation and a questionable DOC Commissioner thumbing her nose at policies and procedures?

The writer continues in Siemer-like fashion to put the blame on the governor's opponents:
The tragedy in this entire episode belongs to those who hate the governor's guts. There's the Republican Party attack dogs of failed gubernatorial candidate Heinz Hofschneider-who was trounced twice by Uncle Ben for the governorship in successive elections and once for House speaker years ago; and the once-again inflamed cabal who for years took glee in attacking Governor Fitial's policies now claim moral indignation. They remind me of beasts in rut, having been trampled in the past by the governor, falling all over themselves today seeking any misstep by Uncle Ben to demonize him and wreak their vengeance.

Someone wrote that the fault of massage-gate lay not with the governor's alleged request but with the Department of Correction director's decision to release the detainee. In my opinion this is a miscue by federal officials still unprepared to administer their lawful mandate since Nov. 28, yet are assumed to be in charge of cases like this.

And the push to “recall” Governor Fitial from office? Spare yourself the embarrassment. Now that they have an opening to exploit, however, one absurdity is guaranteed. Leave it to those suckling cynics I mentioned above to spread their bitterness for all the wrong reasons.
Who is Lee Anderson? Is this person a government employee?

"Voluminous Discovery"
The defense attorneys for the human smuggling defendants filed a motion yesterday to extend pre-trial motions in the case of Jian Li and Qingwei Cheng:
Counsel for Defendants JIAN LI and QING MEI CHENG now request a further
extension. Defendants have requested for and received partial discovery in this matter. The discovery received thus far is voluminous and requires adequate time to review and prepare pretrial motions in this case. Additional discovery is forthcoming. Defense counsel seeks and the Government agrees, to an extension of time to file pre-trial motions until February 5, 2010.
Judge Alex Munson granted the motion in this order.


The Saipan Blogger said...

Lee Anderson is Holani Smith is Lui A. Piliwale, an anti-muslim racist living on Saipan.

The Saipan Blogger said...

More on Lou from Jeff Turbitt:

From me:

Wendy said...

Wow. Thanks Angelo.

Anonymous said...


Congressional Reform Act of 2010

1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.

A. Two Six year Senate terms
B. Six Two year House terms
C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

2. No Tenure / No Pension:

A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, server your term(s), then go home and back to work.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

6. Congress looses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

7. Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/11 .

The American people did not make this contract with congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

Anonymous said...

Lee Andersen is a jackass. He wrote a horrendous book. He writes horrendous letters. That's who he is.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:44

Sure sounds like it. What book did he write?

Anonymous said...

Andersen's book is called Jihad. It's set in Saipan I think. I never read about it, only heard about it on Harry Blalock's radio show. It sounded insane and anti-Muslim to me. I never bothered to pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Full title: "Jihad! Holy War in Paradise." It is a glorification of federalization, based on a sensationalized vision of a corrupt, lawless CNMI that is a danger to itself and everyone else. As such, it is not dissimilar to this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. In that case, maybe I should read it. The CNMI IS a corrupt and lawless place. Nothing sensational about that. Just a fact.

Anonymous said...

noni 6:13 Not surprised you read the book but your comparison is inaccurate. Try comprehending what you read.