Adelup wants AG's suit over gaming thrown out - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Adelup wants AG's suit over gaming thrown out

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - There's been a request to dismiss the attorney general's lawsuit against the Department of Revenue & Taxation. Not only does the Governor's Office believe the case doesn't belong in the Superior Court, but apparently they believe the AG's Office has acted inappropriately.

The Governor's Office has asked that the attorney general's lawsuit against the Department of Revenue & Taxation, the governor and owners of Liberty and Gaming machines on Guam be thrown out.  AG Leonardo Rapadas filed the civil suit because he believes the gaming regulations are unenforceable because they were enacted without a public hearing and an economic impact statement being provided to the Legislature. 

For years this issue has been drawn out in court, as owners of the Liberty, Uncle Sam, and Symbolix machines have been waiting for the government to take a final position on the legality of the machines.  Rev & Tax believes that many of the machines can be licensed legally and issued them much to the dismay of the AG's Office.

In a motion to dismiss, governor's legal counsel Sandra Miller spells out why the dismissal is warranted.  Miller maintains that the court lacks jurisdiction accusing the AG's Office of failing to exhaust its administrative remedies by requesting that DRT rule on the validity of the gaming regulations. But the Governor's Office expressed even more concern with what they believes is a clear ethical violation.

Governor's communication director Troy Torres said, "According to the ethical rules that govern the conduct of lawyers on Guam, it really is against rules for a lawyer to sue a former client if the subject of a new lawsuit is similar or substantially similar to the new one and in this case it is."

Every attorney on Guam, including the attorney general, is bound by the Guam Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers and with regard to conflicts of interest. Simultaneous representation and suing of a client is not allowed.

And in April of this year, when the AG's Office decided to dismiss a several year old case relating to the gaming machines. The Office of the Attorney General appeared as both counsel for the AG and for Rev & Tax.  Miller wrote in her motion, "It was and is a fundamental breach of the conflict of interests rules for the AGO to represent both the plaintiff/petitioner and the defendant/respondent at the same time in the same litigation because such action violates the principle of undivided loyalty."  Additionally it was unclear how the AG came to not only represent itself but also the very entity it was suing, rev and tax, in the same litigation.

"And there was no waiver obtained from Rev & Tax to allow the AG to move forward like that," she said.

The Governor's Office has asked the court to dismiss the case and if the court permits the case to proceed, that an independent counsel be appointed to represent Rev & Tax's interests.  Additionally Miller asks that the AG be disqualified from further prosecuting this or any action which is similar to the issues in dispute.   

AG's spokesperson Carlina Charfauros meanwhile says the AG will not comment on the motion but will file an opposition to it that will contain their response.

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