GovGuam also owes rent for ancestral lands - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GovGuam also owes rent for ancestral lands

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Hundreds of thousands of dollars are owed for the lease of ancestral lands, and its not just private companies that have to pay up, but the local government.  It seems Bali Steel - a private recycling company in Piti - isn't the only one in debt to the Ancestral Lands Commission.

Today KUAM News found out that the Guam Environmental Protection Agency has something in common with Bali Steel.  "Currently we have a couple more," noted the acting administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, Larry Toves. "The Tiyan facilities that are currently being rented out by the Guam EPA and the WIC program by the Department of Public Health and Social Services."

During a meeting today of the Ancestral Lands Commission, Toves provided a report to the GEDA board that included a rundown of back rent his agency administers the leases on behalf of the Commission.  "Total both agencies in arrears owe well over $400,000 and then current rent about $72,000 for each agency," he said.

Toves says another privately owed company is in arrears, but unlike Bali Steel no longer has rights to the land.  "There is another lease that has been terminated; we are waiting on a payment schedule from our former tenant to pay back those arrears," he confirmed.

He says the company, Brand Ink, leased a two acres parcel of land at Polaris Point and still owes $20,000 in rent.  In total, according to Toves, the amount due to the Ancestral Lands Commission is now past the half-million dollar mark.  "I can't answer for beyond 2009, but it was at that point we were given management of those licenses.  So since then we have been aggressively trying to get those agencies to pay those rents," he said.

But that could take quite a while to happen.

He says current fiscal year payments from the Guam EPA and Public Health hinge on the Department of Administration releasing the funds. But getting caught up with back payment is a more complicated matter that will require approval and appropriation by the Legislature.

The issue surrounding back rent isn't just isolated to the Ancestral Lands Commission.  KUAM News also spoke with Chamorro land Trust Commission Acting Administrator Jess Garcia, who says over $185,000 is owed to his agency by one company alone.  He showed us a letter sent to the Guam Municipal Golf Course earlier this month, urging the corporation to pay up or risk termination of their contract.

According to a spreadsheet provided by Garcia, Guam Municipal Golf Course has been shouldering a balance with the CLTC for as far back as 2008.

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