Over $1.5M in delinquent commercial leases - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Over $1.5M in delinquent commercial leases

by Lannie Walker

Guam - The Chamorro Land Trust Commission has made public a list of companies who are behind - some by years - in payments on leases with it. And the agency's new acting administrator says he is cracking down on the companies and going after over a million dollars owed to CLTC.

It's one list you probably don't want to be on, as Monte Mafnas says, "This group of companies are extremely smart they are extremely powerful and very well connected, but all I'm asking is what's fair to the people of Guam." A group of companies the administrator says combined owes over $1.5 million in payments for delinquent commercial leases. Mafnas provided KUAM News a list of seven companies that are in arrears with the CLTC

And Mafnas is going after these companies demanding payment. One of those companies on this list is J.R. Towing, who Mafnas says hasn't paid CLTC a dime in the ten years they have been on their property; not only that, they don't even have a lease with CLTC. Owner J.R. Mateo said when asked how is it that you have been able to stay on this land for so long and not pay CLTC anything, "It's a long story."

One that dates back to the Carl Gutierrez administration when Mateo says the CLTC's board authorized him to use 2.5 acres of property in Barrigada. "That was just it - we were never came to a conclusion as far as payments," he continued.

But that's not good enough for Mafnas, who says he will force payment from the company. But the administrator realizes it will take some negotiating, saying, "I don't want to litigate and end up with tons and tons of metallic waste, so unfortunately the situation demands close working relationship with the potential lessee."

And Mateo admits he knows he will have to pay up at some point. When asked if he thought it to be odd that all these years he didn't have to pay anything to the Commission, he responded, "It was odd...but its not that I'm not going to pay for it - it's just I've invested so much in here just to make the land the way it is."

Land that Mateo admits is zoned for agriculture use only. Mafnas tells us he would like to see the business moved to a different location. And J.R. Towing is not alone Mafnas is going after six other companies he says are delinquent - some by years.

Agfayan Incorporated for $181,000, Communications Specialist Incorporated for $43,000, Guam International Country Club for $411,000, Guam Resource Recovery Partners for $39,000, ICB Marianas for $653,000 and Younex International who Mafnas says owes the CLTC for the two-year use of three acres of CLTC property at Ypao Point.

Younex senior vice president David Tydingco said his organization is waiting for the result of an appraisal and plans to cooperate in making good on what they owe to the CLTC.

But Mafnas is not stopping with the overdue commercial leases - he says he is also cracking down on illegal squatting on CLTC land - he's currently working with the Attorney General's Office and the Guam Police Department to come up with a plan to evict those who are illegally residing on trust property - that which Mafnas stresses should be issued to the over 14,000 applicants who have legally applied for land under the program.

He said, "It's not a nice thing to do; it's not a fun thing to do, but unfortunately pursuant to the law I'm entrusted to protect, the land and to protect the money belonging to the people of Guam." To do so, Mafnas will need the support of the CLTC's board.

Their first meeting of the year is scheduled for Thursday, April 21. During that meeting J.R Towing plans to appear before the board to begin working out a payment plan. In the meantime, Mafnas is putting the pressure on all the companies on the list, hoping to right years of injustice.

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