July 7, 2013
The Office of the Attorney General's Chief Prosecutor, Shelli Neal, went on a 5-day fishing trip to Pagan with none other than notorious lawbreaker, Ambrosio Ogumoro.
Ogumoro, the controversial former rogue DPS official who faces criminal charges for his part in the "great escape" of former CNMI Attorney General Edward Buckingham, is the captain of the fishing boat Neal boarded on Wednesday.
Neal is the lead prosecutor in the case where Ogumoro and several other former DPS officials are accused of conspiring with ex-governor Fitial to help Buckingham avoid being served a penal summons. The list of crimes he was charged with include theft of services; misconduct in office; criminal coercion; conspiracy to commit theft of services; conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with service of process; conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness; obstructing justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness; and obstructing justice by interference with service of process.
Neal is also the lead prosecutor in several other investigations of Ogumoro being conducted by the DPS and the OAG.
KSPN reports that in May 2013, Neal refused to sign off on an arrest warrant concerning Ogumoro's alleged misappropriation of government funds to benefit his fishing boat and bar. Ogumoro received a $60,000 grant from the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to meet objectives of the CNMI marine conservation plan.
Ogumoro was awarded the grant in 2011 to implement the "Saipan Bottom-Fish Training Project." However, there are allegations that the grant funds were used to build the True North Bar that is now closed. It was reported that it wasn't until he was accused of misspending of grant funds, that Ogumoro actually initiated the first bottom fishing "training lesson" with 10 individuals.
In April 2013, Governor Inos stated that he supported an OPA investigation of Ogumoro's grant. Also, that month the federal court ordered the sale of Ogumoro's land to pay for damages and clean-up costs from a 2004 oil spill from his fishing boat,
KSPN has footage of Neal on the boat at Smiley Cove with Ambrosio Ogumoro, James Ayuyu OAG investigator, former Chief Prosecutor Rosemond Santos and her husband (embedded below). They departed on Wednesday, July 3rd and were scheduled to return on Monday, July 7th.
How cozy. Neal spent days on a small boat with the man she is prosecuting. Imagine the conversation!
Attorney General Joey San Nicolas stated that James Ayuyu will be departing the OAG this week.
In a KSPN interview Police Chief DeLeon Guerrero said he was shocked and disappointed that Neal took the trip. He expressed concern that Ogumoro's investigation would be compromised.
DeLeon Guerrero stated that if it was his decision, Neal would be be removed immediately.
Well stated. Any prosecutor who would go on a fishing trip or otherwise engage in the company of a person who he/she is prosecuting should be immediately terminated. The Office of the Attorney General should not employ an attorney who demonstrates such incredibly poor judgement and risks jeopardizing serious cases and investigations.
While the boat's compass may be operable, it's doubtful that Neal or any of the boat's other passengers possess working moral compasses.