CNMI News Briefs

June 2012

The Tax Man Calls 
For years the CNMI Government has its hand out to the Federal Government while stabbing it in the back with the other. The mantra for years has been "Good U.S. give me money; bad U.S. do not tell us what to do."

It appears that the CNMI Government is starting to collect some of its own revenue, including some that has been ignored for years. The government has gone after Coral Ocean Point to pay back taxes and has taken the drastic step of freezing its bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino that owes $30 million in back taxes appears to have been given a break.  No threats, no frozen assets. According to a Marianas Variety source, the hotel and casino will only have to pay 20% of the total bill or $6 million while the balance is forgiven.

How do business get years behind on paying taxes without action? It is ridiculous that a bill can reach $30 million. Would an individual or a small business be afforded the same treatment? That is unlikely.

Doesn't this smack of favoritism and injustice? Perhaps the CNMI wants to get its hands on the Coral Ocean Point and its golf course. Perhaps there is an investor who has an interest in the property, say one of Fitial's pal like Willie Tan or someone he has been meeting with while on one of his many trips off-island.

NMI Retirement Fund
San Francisco public radio interviewed Sixto Igisosmar and Ruth Tighe on the bankrupt state of the NMI Retirement Fund. The absurdity of the fund's lenient requirements, including a law that allowed a member to work three years, reach age 62 and rake in full retirement benefits, and the failure of the CNMI Government to pay its share of benefits totaling over $300 million, make it clear even to a high school student that the fund's demise was a foregone conclusion. Read the transcript NPR here.

Even as the fund struggles on, attorneys have submitted a bill exceeding $1 million for fees related to the failed bankruptcy case. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris dismissed the case June 13th because the Fund is governmental unit which is not eligible to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Governor Fitial declared a state of emergency for the Retirement Fund, just as he did for CUC and the CHC. Perhaps soon it will be easier to list what is not in a state of emergency...

Justice CNMI Style
Four months after the murder of foreign worker Emie Romero no arrest has been made. Why?

Also unsolved was the brutal rape and attempted kidnapping of a Chinese foreign worker. Why?

Meanwhile two things continue –corruption at the CNMI Department of Safety and the never ending flood of incidents of sexual assaults.

Earlier this year it was former DPS Commissioner Ray Mafnas who was the subject of a controversy being accused of harassing employees, threatening private citizens and botching serious criminal investigations, including the Romero murder case. The latest controversy focuses on the controversial Ogumoro brothers.

Acting DPS Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro was accused of disturbing the peace and assault and battery. He reportedly harassed and assaulted a Leon Guerreo, a retired DPS detective who was serving Ogumoro with a grievance from a DPS employee. The Marianas Variety reported:
While in Ogumoro’s office, Leon Guerrero said the acting DPS commissioner got hold of the copy of the grievance and became angry at the former detective.

He said Ogumoro shouted at him, and he was “forcefully instructed” to tell whoever was complaining to see the acting DPS commissioner personally.

Leon Guerrero added he felt intimidated, but maintained his composure, and told Ogumoro: “I’m just doing my job. You are officially served.”

“You are not serving me shit,” Leon Guerrero quoted Ogumoro as shouting at him while the acting DPS commissioner threw the copy of the grievance at Leon Guerrero.

Leon Guerrero said he was about to exit the main door when Ogumoro took the paper, followed him and threw it again, while shouting: “Take that trash and get out of here.”
Also filing a complaint is Police Officer Peter R. Camacho who alleged that he has been "a victim of harassment, nepotism, abuse of authority and a hostile work environment, resulting in mental anguish and emotional distress."

The Marianas Variety reported:
“For too long, the employees of the DPS have had to endure the hardship of being senselessly bullied, intimidated and harassed by Commissioner Ogumoro,” Camacho said in his 18-page complaint.

“Today, as [Ogumoro] serves as the the department’s acting commissioner, there is absolutely no one that can effectively prevent him from doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants,” Camacho added.
(Read more at the Variety story here.)

Meanwhile Ambrosio Ogumoro's brother, Aniceto Ogumoro, was charged with sexual assault by DPS resources administrative officer.

Some judges in the CNMI need to rethink their sentencing of persons who are convicted of rape and sexual assault. Slaps on the wrists for these offenders has resulted in them being free in the community to prey on new victims. That is exactly what has happened in the case of Anthony P. Rios. The Marianas Variety reported:
Anthony P. Rios who was placed on 45 years’ probation for a rape and sexual abuse of a child conviction in 1997, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 2003 for sexual assault in the second degree, has been arrested in yet another sexual assault case.
This is the third time this guy has attacked an innocent victim. After the second time, he should have been kept in jail for a very long time. The lenient sentences handed down by CNMI judges in these cases allow sexual predators to terrorize the public over and over and over. Maybe if some of the sentences had more teeth Emie would be alive and there would be far fewer rapes in Saipan.

Prison Deficiencies
The Federal Government pays the Department of Corrections for use of their prison facilities, but ICE has found the facilities deficient and federal prisoners are being transported to Guam, Hawaii and Los Angeles. Thirteen of 20 prisoners have been transported.

From the Saipan Tribune:
Lori K. Haley, public affairs officer/spokeswoman for ICE-Western Region, said ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in its custody and to providing the highest quality medical care available.

“All facilities under contract to house ICE detainees must conform to the agency’s rigorous detention standards and undergo regular comprehensive inspections,” she told Saipan Tribune.

ICE revised its detention standards to improve medical and mental health services, increase access to legal services and religious opportunities, improve communication with detainees with limited English proficiency, improve the process for reporting, and responding to complaints, and increase recreation and visitation.

These new standards, known as Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011, represent an important step in detention reform.
Attorneys claim that ICE and USCIS are not applying executive guidelines in deportation procedures in the CNMI.

It was not reported if the prisoners will be transported back to the CNMI to stand trial or will be tried by immigration judges in the new locality where they are imprisoned.


Anonymous said...

It's the Federal government that has it's hand out Wendy not the CNMI. Do you say the same about Flordia? How about all of the States? States have gotten multi billion dollar stimulus money then turned around and sued the Federal government and they got more money! You hatred of the CNMI runs so deep you've become delusional.

Wendy Doromal said...

4:31 The residents of the CNMI PAY NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX. The residents of Florida and all of the states do! The residents of the CNMI also have no real revenue sources to support themselves -no sales taxes, property taxes, etc.

I do not hate the CNMI. I hate corruption and injustice. The CNMI's leaders have hurt the residents and non-residents for decades. This is not delusional -it is a fact.

Anonymous said...

40% of Americans pay NO Federal Income Tax.

Wendy Doromal said...

8:06 You mean because they live below the poverty level? Well, 100% of those that reside in the CNMI pay none, right?

Anonymous said...

According to news reports, DPS and the FBI are waiting for DNA test results to come back for the murder and rape. Not sure if that's to be trusted but it seems that's what DPS disclosed.

Anonymous said...

anon, June 16, 2012 4:31 AM:

Pay your Fed tax and you complain, else you have to ashamed!