Government appeals denial of motion to stay in dump case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Government appeals denial of motion to stay in dump case

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - It's down to the wire for the Government of Guam as officials await word from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on whether a stay will be issued to halt the Ordot consent decree case. The federal receiver has been authorized to proceed with awarding contracts for the Ordot Dump closure projects after 5 o'clock Thursday night. 

On Tuesday District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood issued an order denying GovGuam's motion for a stay in the Ordot consent decree case. The Governor's Office had requested the stay to allow a complete review of the case and the various procurements and projects related to the closure of the Ordot Dump as they argued that the government's interests were not being adequately represented by the Attorney General's Office. In her decision Tuesday, the judge found that a stay of the proceedings is unwarranted and would result in further environmental harm and ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act. 

Tydingco Gatewood said a stay would delay the government's compliance with the Ordot consent decree.  Additionally she reiterated that the federal receiver is to proceed with the awarding of the construction work for the closure of the dump by October 31 unless a stay is ordered by the appellate court.  The judge today also denied the government's motion for a temporary stay.

Governor's legal counsel Sandra Miller told KUAM News, "We respect the chief judge's decision to deny the motion to stay however our duty is to look after the ratepayers and the people of Guam and it is for this reason that we filed a notice of appeal of the order denying the motion to stay and we have also filed an emergency motion with the 9th Circuit for the purposes of addressing the motion to stay."

The emergency motion reiterates the government's position that the AG's Office was representing the interests of the federal receiver rather than its own client, the Government of Guam. Miller writes that the government was effectively left with no lawyer at all and a review of the procurement process, the receiver's management of funds and the cost overruns must be conducted first before the case can proceed.

During a hearing two weeks, the judge said she was surprised to learn in august that the AG's Office was taking instructions from the receiver by not providing documents  requested by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio. But in her decision on Tuesday, the judge defended the AG's Office who issued a press release today reiterating the judge's finding that, "The Attorney General has always acted professionally in representing the Government of Guam's interests in this action. The OAG worked closely with the Receiver and bond counsel to obtain bond financing and ensure that the bond proceeds  were appropriately used for their intended purposes. "

The judge also found that there is insufficient evidence to support the assertion that GovGuam suffered any prejudice over the last two years by the AG's representation.

Adelup however disagrees and has asked that the 9th circuit issue a stay to address the appeal.  Miller writing that the not doing so would irrevocably saddle the government with new contracts within the next few days that will cost the government tens of millions of dollars without having first been allowed to be heard regarding its concerns about the procurement.  

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