US Response in Witch Hunt Lawsuit

May 7, 2011

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The U.S. Department of Interior filed an Opposition to Compel in response to CNMI Attorney Deanne Siemer's witch hunt against the department and Ombudsman Pamela Brown. Siemer filed a lawsuit against the DOI in the District Court of the District of Columbia under the name of Teresa Kim, attorney for the Lt. Governor Inos, to get information that does not exist.

In the response, the U.S. Attorneys smacked down the Siemer vendetta. Some key phrases from the motion:
  • Defendant, the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), opposes Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Answers to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories to Defendant. Not only is discovery improper in a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) action such as this case, but the discovery at issue has no bearing on the narrow issues presented in Defendant’s pending motion for summary judgment. 
  • The interrogatories seek certain information about the destruction of certain in-take forms pertaining to the registration of aliens in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Those forms were destroyed five months before the FOIA request was made, and after the information on the forms was placed on spreadsheets which the agency maintained and which have been released in this FOIA action.
  • Plaintiff’s interrogatories seek to expand this case beyond the narrow issues presented under FOIA. “It is well settled that a FOIA request pertains only to documents in the possession of the agency at the time of the FOIA request” and the fact that “an agency once possessed responsive documents but does not at the time of the FOIA request does not preclude summary judgment in the agency’s favor.” Landmark Legal Foundation v. EPA, 272 F. Supp 2d 59, 66 (D.D.C., 2003).
  •  It also bears mentioning that the information sought by Plaintiff in this case has been retained by the agency on the spreadsheets that have been released. Thus, while not in the form that Plaintiff prefers, this is not a case where the information was destroyed. Rather, the information, although not retained in one form (i.e., the in-take forms) was retained in another form, namely, the contemporaneously prepared spreadsheets that have been released. 
  • This Court’s General Order and Guidelines For Civil Cases specifically states that “[l]eave of the court is required before the filing of a discovery dispute-related motion” (DE, # 5 at ¶ 8). Plaintiff failed to request approval from the Court before filing her motion to compel and, therefore, the motion should be denied for this additional reason.
The cash-strapped CNMI Government (that always has its hand out to federal taxpayers) has also sued the Social Security Administration in an equally bizarre lawsuit. The Siemer-Kim team filed a FOIA request for a memorandum from the Social Security Administration. Siemer sued because she was not satisfied with the document that the SSA released because it had redactions.

That lawsuit revealed the fact that the CNMI Government was set to destroy all immigration records. This is ironic since there is now a protest because the Ombudsman Office destroyed mere intake forms.  Furthermore, it was the refusal of the CNMI government to release such documents that caused the Ombudsman Office to conduct their own count in the first place.

A November 2010 declaration made by Peter C Monaghan, Director of the Office of Enumeration and Medicare Policy (OEMP) in the Office of Income Security Programs in the Social Security Administration of Baltimore, Maryland stated: "CNMI immigration officers stopped verifying CNMI evidence of immigration status, which they had approved prior to the passage of the law. CNMI immigration officers informed Saipan field office management that CNMI immigration records were going to be purged."

The SSA redacted the portions of a letter that revealed how the agency verifies and detects fraudulent documents presented for a Social Security card to protect against individuals circumventing the SSA's rules to obtain a card using fraudulent documentation. Why would Siemer or the CNMI Government even need this information? Why does this lawsuit continue and how much do each of these lawsuits cost taxpayers?

Apparently, the CNMI is competing for the world record of stupid Freedom of Information Act requests. Another CNMI-related FOIA request is posted on the web as  "The Broadest FOIA Request Ever: A Records Horror Story."  The ridiculous FOIA was written in the late 1990s by a government official and it requests anything and everything related to the federal takeover including any "correspondence written by Boboy Doromal and Wendy Doromal." The site instructs the readers where to get an original copy of FOIA and suggest framing a copy since it is so asinine.

Siemer apparently also filed a FOIA request in 2009 for "any documents provided to DHS during 2007, 2008, and 2009, by Wendy Doromal that constitute or contain observations, data and other materials..."

It's amazing that Siemer can file lawsuits because she is not satisfied with information provided from departments in response to her, but she refuses to release information regarding how much she was paid by the CNMI Government for her "volunteer" (yeah, right) services.

In January 2011, former Representative Tina Sablan filed an Open Government Act request for information on the government's legal service contracts, billings, invoices, and related documents.
She received some highly redacted documents as a result of her request. The information released from the Governor's Office invites a lawsuit, mainly because it provides a lot of non-information, which is in violation of the Open Government Act.

Listings of payments made with the date, but with no dollar figures, cry for disclosure. It appears that Deanne Siemer, the infamous "volunteer" was, as many of us suspected, not a volunteer at all. Between May 2008 and December 2009 Siemer received 56 payments from the Governor's Office. The documents released to Tina Sablan did not reveal what services she provided, but we can probably fill in the blanks. Seimer and her husband, Howard Willens, who received even more payments from the Governor's Office than his wife were leading the battle against federalization.

The following is a breakdown of payments the Governor's Office made as provided by Tina Sablan, which include a listing of invoices paid to Siemer:

How is it that the queen of witch hunts refuses to disclose her personal information? True to form, Siemer had one of her former puppets, Cinta Kaipat, send a letter to the editor defending her "volunteer" status in a rather pathetic rant. Still the Governor's Office and AG Buckingham refused to release the invoices, which actually exist and are public record since they were paid for with public funds. So hypocritical and disingenuous! I hope that there will be follow-up on this real violation of OGA law.

Maybe the CNMI Government is not having Siemer file the FOIA requests and lawsuits in the government's name, but under Attorney Kim's name because the CNMI doesn't want to be affiliated with FOIA request lawsuits that are clearly inappropriate, worded as vendettas, or don't qualify for the request being asked. But then again, when has the CNMI Government ever considered dignity, ethics and/or doing the right thing? It must be a matter of convenience for Siemer. Still, it must be revealed whether Siemer and Kim or the CNMI government are paying the costs associated with these frivolous lawsuits.


Anonymous said...

Kim could face disciplinary action for allowing her name to be used to advance a clearly frivolous lawsuit. Why deos Lt. Governor Inos allow her to pursue these suits while she is employed by the CNMI government? Is this simply another CNMI lawsuit in disguise, or is it in fact something Kim cooked up on her own, and then hired Siemer to file for her? CNMI residents should call the Lt. Governor at 664-2300, and ask him why he would risk losing Interior grant money by letting his legal counsel harass Interior's ombudsman.

Anonymous said...

The Federal records that were shredded by the Ombuds contained information on both legal and ILLEGAL aliens in the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

7:15 DOL said they have all the records indicating legal and ILLEGAL aliens so what's your point? It was their job to track aliens, not the ombudsman's job. They refused to share data and she conducted a survey to get needed info to fulfill the requirement of a report to Congress. The shredded files were not needed by the CNMI government who claimed to have their own records. Deanne is just a b---- or as Wendy says a witch.

Anonymous said...

Addressing the first comment, there is absolutely no risk of “losing Interior grant money by letting his legal counsel harass Interior's ombudsman”. This is akin to the even more prevalent myth that “Don't bite the hand that feeds you” means federal officials will “punish” the CNMI for filing lawsuits.

There are many thousands of lawsuits filed by states and municipalities every year against the federal government and its agencies. These are part of the business of the federal government. USDOJ has whole branches of the Civil Division dealing with such suits. It is a federal crime for federal agencies or officials to “retaliate” against those who file such suits.

“Don't bite the hand that feeds you” is a bogus, ignorant myth, designed to promote or foster corrupt and illegal subservience to the federal government that is supposed to be responsive to the states, territories, there instrumentalities, and constituents.

As much as anyone might disagree with this FOIA request, it is not “frivolous” in a legal sense. Furthermore, the only cost involved would be the $350 filing fee.

If Deanne C. Siemer is handling the case pro bono, there would be no other expense to the CNMI taxpayer. So why shouldn't the Lt. Governor's legal counsel find out why the data of all aliens residing in the CNMI more than five years was grouped together, rather than broken down into over 10 years, over 15 years, etc.?

This is a legitimate question of great importance to CNMI public policy debates and potential congressional action.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, at least you had the integrity to link to Cinta's letter.

So why then do you repeat the LIE that Deanne was paid for her “services”? It is clear that she was simply reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses incidental to her volunteer work, such as publishing announcements in the newspaper.

Shame on you, Wendy, for repeating lies and slander.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 12:00

Are you serious? We do not know what the invoices represent because the AG, Siemer and Governor REFUSE to release them! Siemer has LIED so many times, as has Kaipat that we are to believe them? They lied in DOL reports, they lied about data, they lied about the aliens, Siemer lied that she sent an email to Kaipat about Tina. Just read all of the past posts on Siemer here and then you tell who has integrity! The lady was hauled up before a judge for her lack of ethics and integrity and her firm was fined $.5 million for a malpractice lawsuit against her. The Washington Post wrote: "This was not Siemer's first brush with ethical problems. In 1980, she resigned as a top Energy Department aide after an internal investigation concluded that her efforts to get the Energy Department to hire her stepson "appear to violate the federal laws against nepotism." and you think we should just believe that the invoices were reimbursements!? Sorry, no, and IT IS ILLEGAL NOT TO RELEASE THEM! There is no integrity, no demonstration of ethics and failure to follow the law in the refusal to release the invoices. If she has nothing to hide RELEASE the documents!

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:57 (same as 12:00)

Kaipat and the Governor claimed in LEGAL declarations and reports (that were penned by Siemer) that the CNMI Department of immigration and DOL had records of all aliens, entry dates, etc. Why can't they get the statistics from their own records?! Unless of course, they perjured themselves and were incapable of tracking the aliens. IT IS A VENDETTA. IT IS PAYBACK FOR LOSING THE FEDERAL LAWSUIT AND FOR THE DOI REPORT THAT THE GOVERNOR AND SIEMER DIDN'T LIKE!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:57 a.m. said "There are many thousands of lawsuits filed by states and municipalities every year against the federal government and its agencies. These are part of the business of the federal government. USDOJ has whole branches of the Civil Division dealing with such suits. It is a federal crime for federal agencies or officials to “retaliate” against those who file such suits.

Yeah right!!! Those states are paying federal taxes, Saipan doesn't, Saipan is just asking, asking, asking, asking for federal aid. See the difference?

Anonymous said...

Also, you will notice if you look at the filings in this case that not one of them except the original letter are signed by Kim. The rest are signed by Deanne including a supposed affidavit that is nothing but her testimony which attorneys are not ethically allowed to do as it transforms an attorney into a witness - she should be removed from the case.

Anonymous said...

Write to Congressional leaders. Ask them to cut off all money to the CNMI until its leaders start complying with the CNRA.

Anonymous said...

Noni 4:12 How does one inform the judge of this?

No Witch-Hunts! said...

Wendy, your rants about Ms. Siemer's alleged historical ethical shortcomings have little relevance to the merits of the lawsuit.

Also, some of the “legal theories” posited in these reader comments are ludicrous.

“Unethical” attorney “testimony”?! Check the Civil Cover sheet. FOIA cases are not tried to a jury, the improper influence of which is what the attorney-witness “rule” (custom) is designed to prevent.

As for making the judge aware of this, he does read the pleadings submitted to him. (!)

Finally, as to the defender of the preposterous admonition against “biting the hand that feeds” the Commonwealth, so what if the CNMI pays no income tax?! Neither do the poorest 20% of Americans who receive the vast majority of public assistance (food, housing, medical, etc.). Are we supposed to cut them off because they pay no taxes? Absurd! Outrageous!

In return for the many concessions by the CNMI, including giving up 1/3 of Tinian for a military base, and billions of dollars worth of 200-mile EEZ resources, the U.S. is supposed to help the CNMI achieve an American standard of living. Covenant § 701, 48 U.S.C. § 1801 note.

The federal government has been woefully remiss in that regard, including failing to enforce federal labor laws since 1978 (so the CNMI's reputation was besmirched by scofflaw foreign investors), killing the garment industry by declining to reduce the local content requirement from 50% to 30%, ruining the hospitality industry through wage increases not supported by worker productivity, and further stagnating the economy by utterly failing to promulgate CW-visa regulations a full three years since the passage of Pub. L. 110-229 requiring them.

In view of extended, ongoing, and obscene federal failures in the CNMI, we need Kilili to do whatever he can to get those Feds on the ball, and whatever FOIA cases Teresa Kim wants to bring are most helpful in obtaining justice for the long-suffering people of the CNMI.

Unfortunately, it appears that Interior's Opposition to the Motion to Compel is likely to prevail, based on the timing of the document destruction. If the CNMI seeks redress for that action, an after-the-fact FOIA suit is not the proper vehicle.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 7:00 am

These are not "rants" -they are facts. The facts were presented because it was suggested that I lacked integrity by labeling Siemer's lawsuit, as the vendetta that it is. Siemer does not have an "alleged unethical history." It is documented unethical history!

As for other comments made by anonymous posters, I do not know whether or not their legal interpretations are valid because i am not an attorney. I am certain that the U.S. attorneys do know, and certainly would point out any potential problems to the judge.

Your paragraph blaming the federal government for all of the self-inflicted CNMI woes is incorrect. Corruption, abuses of workers and the system fueled the problems by damaging the CNMI's reputation. The governor's lawsuit delayed the rules, as you know. GATT regulations, of which the CNMI was warned, ended the garment industry as the greedy factory owners went to places where they could cheat other workers as they once did in the CNM. The pathetic wage increases did not harm the CNMI - the worldwide economic failure did.

The Covenant never said that the CNMI would be allowed to steal the wages of thousands of workers, to coverup abuses, to turn their backs on abusive employers and let the victims suffer. The CNMI received billions of our tax dollars and misspent millions. The U.S. did help the CNMI, and on a per capita basis the "help" far exceeded other localities.


Anonymous said...

Since the Siemer/Kim bunch want to present evidence, no witch hunt, does that mean the US can put siemer on the stand and cross examine her about her history of ethical violations, lies, distortions and downright self serving lunatic ravings about breaking laws? Have you read the chapter entitled "Breaking up is hard to do" in the law school ethics desk book, "Lawyers crossing the lines?" Maybe you should so you know why Siemer should be disbarred not just removed from representing the CNMI before any court.

No Witch-Hunts! said...

I've read the chapter and other related links, thank you, as Wendy and others have helpfully linked to them several times.

Fortunately or unfortunately, such questioning of Ms. Siemer likely would be inadmissible. Fed. R. Evid. 404 (character evidence not admissible to prove conduct); Fed. R. Evid. 608 (reputation for truthfulness); Fed. R. Evid. 401-02 (definition of ‘‘relevant evidence’’, irrelevant evidence inadmissible).

Anonymous said...

The last post assumes that the purpose of calling her to the stand is to examine her on her prior ethical problems. However, if she is submitting affidavits containing factual allegations in support of the lawsuit, she is a witness like any other who can be called to the stand and cross-examined. And since any witness can be challenged on credibility, the judge's finding that her testimony was not credible will likely be admissible as impeachment evidence.