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CLTC collecting on back rent

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - After more than a year in the making, legislation containing the Chamorro Land Trust Commission's rules and regulations governing its commercial lease program is finally having a public hearing.  According to CLTC Administrator Jess Garcia, these policies are going to set standards for all lessees, both commercial and residential.

He says they're sorely needed - take, for example, what happened during this afternoons' board meeting.  The absence of updated rules and regulations has lead to a host of problems, one of those problems concerning the collections on back rent.  The Guam International Country Club is in arrears to the CLTC for over $300,000 for rent dating back to October 2009.

Interim general manager Koie Yohei attempted to explain to the board why. "But unfortunately GICC is not doing very good financially, and also our main business in Japan - golf management - is not as good as we use to be," he said. "That is why it's been so long since we couldn't pay."   

GICC accounting manager Kelvin Torres tried to clear some of that debt during today's meeting, saying, "Today we are presenting a $200,000 check to CLTC."

But CLTC board chair Oscar Calvo turned down the check and insisted the money be paid by cashier's check - only.  "Because I want to make sure that there is funds in the $200,000 check 'cause you can give me one on the 31st and lo and behold we are going to go back to the same situation," he said. "I want make sure that that check is good."

Torres promised to provide a cashiers check to the board by August 31 but Garcia takes issue with not only the form of payment, but the amount.  "In a letter that they sent to us they stated a certain amount $200,000 and $20,000-plus that they going to pay us, but today they presenting that they going to give us $200,000 so that is an issue where they made a commitment letter and the letter not being followed."

Garcia says the board is ready to act if the promise is not kept.  "If no payment comes in by the 31st, then the board has authorized me to take appropriate actions to go and take what actions we need to shut them down," he said.

During the meeting the board agreed to set up a payment plan for the $100,000-plus remaining balance. But it's not just the Guam International Country Club that owes the CLTC - Garcia says they are going after the big fish first.

He says the CLTC is currently conducting an audit in order to determine just how much in back rent is owed the commission from other commercial leaseholders.

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