Attorney talks about land case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Attorney talks about land case

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - A Superior Court judge ordered the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission not to transfer former Federal Aviation Administration property and Marbo Base Command property to Tiyan landowners. The lawyer who filed the legal challenge on behalf of his clients spoke with KUAM News.

On Monday, Judge Arthur Barcinas issues a temporary injunction restraining the transfer of property to Tiyan landowners. Attorney Curtis Van De Veld was happy with the decision and now hopes the factual decisions made will continue at trial, saying, "So I'm quite confident that the decisions that say the named plaintiffs that I represent and the potential class that we seek to be certified for, will be the recipients of the stream of income from the two parcels of property that were attempted to be wrongfully removed from the land bank trust."

Those clients include Maria Gange, Jesus Charfauros, Ana Chargualaf and Jesus Aguigui, who were fighting Public Law 30-158, even calling the law "unconstitutional, inorganic and illegal". Van De Veld says were the government to proceed ahead with the law's intent, it would then be taking personal property that belongs to the intended beneficiaries of the land trust. However, in order to do that they would have to pay compensation equivalent of the stream of income that the beneficiaries would receive if the property were left in the land bank trust.

Van De Veld estimates the annual stream of income to be least a minimum of $1 million, but could exceed even more due to additional rent that would have to be taken every year as long as Guam exists and paid into the fund. He adds that the amount could go up as well due to inflation. "So the actual affect on taxpayers could range from anywhere from $2 million two to $6 million a year of income out of the General Fund, so a very special gift could be made, taking property away from the entire group of dispossessed ancestral landowners and given to just a small select group of dispossessed landowners," he explained.

He says the longer the case goes on the more challenge it becomes to resolve the matter. He notes despite how the land bank was created nearly thirteen years ago, not a single penny has been generated.

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