by Mindy Aguon
Guam - District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood has made it clear that allowing a full substitution of counsel for the Government of Guam has resulted in a three-month delay and could cost the government millions of dollars more. In an order handed down this afternoon in the Ordot consent decree case, the judge authorized the federal receiver to retain a private lawyer to complete various projects that the government attorney Rawlen Mantanona contends he cannot do.
The private lawyer will complete the Ordot Dump land acquisition as well as review the request for proposal for the Guam Solid Waste Authority board's legal counsel and assist with the Lagu Sanitation settlement.
Clearly concerned about the lack of cooperation, the judge questioned the reasonableness of Attorneys Rawlen Mantanona and Sandra Miller's refusal to assist in various matters and participate in discussions with the receiver. Gatewood noted, "The court finds the lack of action by the legal team...to be unacceptable", saying their actions appear to obstruct, delay and thwart the receiver's efforts and those of the new board.
As for additional projects that are required by the government for the Ordot Dump closure, the court noted that the receiver would have to utilize money that is normally paid to the government each year for debt service to complete those projects.