Land transfer stopped dead in its tracks - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Land transfer stopped dead in its tracks

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - A land transfer for a certain group of ancestral landowners has been stopped dead in its tracks.

Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas has issued a decision in a lawsuit that was filed three years ago involving a land exchange for a certain group of ancestral landowners.

At the center of the legal dispute is Public Law 30-158, which was signed by acting governor Mike Cruz in 2010.  The law provides a land exchange for Tiyan landowners whose property was taken for the expansion of the Guam International Airport for land at the old Federal Aviation Administration and Marbo Sea Command.

After the law was enacted ancestral land owners Maria Gange, Jesus Cruz Charfauros, Ana Chargualaf, Jesus Aguigui and others filed suit against the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission. They argued the law was unconstitutional and inorganic because it only benefitted some 72 Tiyan landowners as opposed to the entire group.  The plaintiffs asked the court to stop the land exchange from occurring or in the alternative order the government to give just compensation. Judge Barcinas found that the public law's intent was clear in that it was to satisfy claims of a small group of private individuals for a purely private purpose. The judge further granted the plaintiffs partial summary judgment and enjoined the Government of Guam and the ancestral lands commission from effectuating the Tiyan land exchange. Attorney Curtis Van De Veld who represented the plaintiffs in the case says the next step is for the class to be certified and they will pursue a permanent injunction. He says he is pleased with the judge's decision which ultimately stops the government from transferring the property.

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