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CLTC preparing for legal showdown with DOJ

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The Chamorro Land Trust Commission is preparing for a legal showdown with the Justice department for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.  The CLTC convened a special meeting Friday where it was announced that the Attorney General will represent them in the landmark case.

In its complaint filed on September 29, the Justice Department argues that the Land Trust Act discriminates against non-Chamorros, and it seeks to stop the CLTC from denying participation in the program based on race or national origin.  AG Elizabeth Barrett Anderson told the commission they've known since January that the DOJ planned to challenge the Guam law, saying, "It's not something that's unexpected. And so we've been prepared for this. And we are preparing our answer, and preparing to represent the government and the commission."

Passed in 1975, the land trust act gives the CLTC control of 20,000 acres, or about 15% of Guam's land mass.  It authorizes residential and agricultural leases to native Chamorros for 99-year terms at $1 per year.

CLTC director Michael Borja says there are currently about 8,000 pending applications, and for now it's business as usual, telling KUAM News, "We're working with all our lessees and applicants to continue to receive applications and working with existing lessees on any matters that have to do with compliance and enforcement, as well."

A response to the DOJ complaint is due later this month. 

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