$10M lawsuit could be settled in 90 days - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

$10M lawsuit could be settled in 90 days

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - A Superior Court judge is giving the Guam Housing Corporation and Maeda Pacific three months to reach a settlement in the long disputed civil suit involving Lada Estates - otherwise the case will proceed to trial.

"Where is the so-called estate? What's up with Guam Housing Corporation? I mean, they have been how many years, saying they gonna build and it's nothing!" proclaimed Noid Meluwat, who has lived near the Lada Estates project for several years and has seen the landscape change, but not for the better. Expected to be affordable housing for Guam residents, the land now is home to trash.

The development has a long history, a foundation - now overgrown - was laid over a decade ago.  In 2004, a dispute between Meada and Guam Housing Corporation over construction costs resulted in a $10 million dollar lawsuit.  The government had tried to have the suit thrown out, but a judge denied their request putting the entire case on hold as talks of a settlement lingered over the last few years.

That is until now. 

During a status hearing this morning Superior Court Judge Steven Unpingco made it clear he wants the case to be resolved and soon. GHC Attorney Cynthia Ecube said, "The court obviously wants to move the case forward, but at the same time is giving us the time to work out whatever issues need to be resolved through discussions or filing of motions."

Judge Unpingco gave the parties three months to reach a settlement or be prepared to go to trial. Attorney Larry Teker represents Maeda Pacific.  "In the interim we are going to try to settle matter with GHC.  And if we can, it will be dismissed," he said.

For the time being, garbage continues to pile up at the site and nearby residents are fed up.  "It the inside that messy its not just people hear its everyone else that throws trash so yeah they should do something about its been there for a long time since I've been here," said Junior Meluwat.

The ill-fated project began in 1998 when Maeda Pacific completed installation of the subdivision's infrastructure.  By August 2000, International Bridge Corporation was awarded the bid for phase two but a year later that company pulled out of negotiations with GovGuam.  More than a decade later the land continues to sit undeveloped, but today's development in court has both parties saying a resolution is just a few months away.

Said Teker, "We are having discussions this week with president of GHC and next week a meeting with board of directors, the GHC, and hopefully the going to approve a settlement."  The attorney says he can't disclose the details of a settlement until all parties have agreed it and signed-off on it.

For now, residents in the area will continue to wait for the multi-million dollar mess to be resolved.

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