More disapproval voiced for CoreTech deal - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

More disapproval voiced for CoreTech deal

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's a $254 million deal that's generating criticisms all around. Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas may have signed-off on GovGuam's option to purchase the CoreTech buildings in Tiyan to convert into a central high school, but before Governor Eddie Calvo can sign and seal the deal, the island's senators, a local developer, and even a real estate agent chime in on what's being called a sweetheart deal.

Local multimillion dollar developer Al Ysrael isn't the only one criticizing the CoreTech contract approved by the Attorney General's Office on Christmas Eve.

As we've been reporting, GovGuam is looking to buy the property where the charter school and the temporary Untalan Middle School sits. Ysrael calls the contract a boondoggle and "this looks like a scam".

Just yesterday, Ysrael addressed a letter to Governor Calvo and committee chair on education Speaker Judi Won Pat who are both off-island. Ysrael cites an appraisal conducted by local appraiser Nick Captain who appraised the Tiyan property at $11 million back in 2007.

Captain, who is president of Captain Real Estate Group of companies tells KUAM, when GovGuam announced it was going to lease the Tiyan facility at $5 million a year as a school, it struck him as unusual, which is why on two occasions, he submitted a Sunshine request for more information. The first was an appraisal report done for CoreTech the owner and in the second, he saw a similar if not identical appraisal report, this time addressed to GovGuam. Although he hasn't done an appraisal or review of the property himself, he's concerned as a taxpayer.

"But as a taxpayer, I don't understand why they're agreeing to certain things and I don't think they're doing a very good job of communicating to the public, why they're agreeing to pay these prices and why they're accepting redirected appraisal reports and why they believe the assumptions in the report are reasonable for purposes of negotiating a lease or a purchase," said Captain.

And with the governor away, Ysrael continues to question who is "making this horrendous decision on behalf of the Government of Guam," adding, "that's a lot of influence that somebody has."

As we reported earlier this week, Ysrael even proffered a cheaper alternative to build a new central high school, saying it could be built for under $30 million under private supervision, which is significantly cheaper than the $254 million in tax credits CoreTech would receive if GovGuam signs the Tiyan deal.

Also giving his two cents on the Tiyan purchase, Senator Mike San Nicolas who was addressing the Guahan Academy Charter School during a public hearing this morning. With the school up for eviction earlier this month, San Nicolas says it became apparent what was happening behind closed doors.

"It became apparent that the administration wants to go into a deal with core tech to acquire the properties and then it all made sense to me because I've seen it several times already in my short time here at the legislature the administration creates a crisis that forces the government to making a deal and unfortunately in this instance we have the Guahan Academy Charter School being used as the victim to manipulate the government to go into a deal with CoreTech," he said.

San Nicolas further suspects that this was the plan from the get go as the Guam Economic Development Authority has been negotiating the CoreTech contract since August, but have only been successful days before the December 31st deadline for GovGuam to pursue its option to purchase.

San Nicolas is joined by Senator Ben Pangelinan. In a release from his office, Pangelinan questions the inclusion of DOE ancillary facilities that bring the Tiyan price tag up by over $175 million.

Pangelinan, who calls the Tiyan purchase a "sweetheart deal" asks the superintendent to reconsider adding "it seems the superintendent's support of this deal leaves our students last with regards to repairs and maintenance of the schools. If we have $175 million to spend, it should first go to improving our children's schools rather than building new DOE Central Offices and warehouses."

Pangelinan also expresses concern as the current lease agreement as amended, between GovGuam and CoreTech, would allow core tech to transfer or assign the tax credits to any private company it chooses.

And while they continually make headline news, who are the sellers of the Tiyan property? According to their website, CoreTech International Corporation is a full service of general contractors who provide the highest standards of planning, estimating, engineering, and construction services.

We should note, among their recent construction projects are some of DOE's newest schools, including Liguan Elementary, Adacao Elementary, Astumbo Middle, Okkodo High School, and the Ironwood Affordable Housing Community Centers.

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