CLTC board drops hammer at meeting - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

CLTC board drops hammer at meeting

Posted: May 17, 2018 4:27 PM Updated:

Chamorro Land Trust Board Chair Pika Fejeran is calling for a massive audit and review of 2,341 CLTC leases to determine if they should be ratified by the board. These leases are "voidable" according to a legal opinion from AG Elizabeth Barrett Anderson.

In a heated board meeting, Fejeran called for the creation of a "bypass" list - consisting of every CLTC applicant who has not been awarded a CLTC lease because they were "bypassed" by someone who applied at a later date. The "bypass list" motion was passed unanimously - and these lists will be made public when they are completed.

Fejeran cited the "first come, first serve" process which is supposed to guide the way the CLTC awards Chamorro homelands. She said the bypass list will help determine how the CLTC will proceed with awarding leases in the proper sequential manner.

Angelo Flores, an 86-year-old 1995 CLTC applicant, questioned why he is still waiting for CLTC land. "When I call them to check, they always say ‘we'll call you when your number comes up' - they've given out almost 3,000 leases, and a lot of them applied after me. I'm confused," Flores told the board.

Thousands of 1995 applicants have been waiting decades for CLTC lands. Fejeran also called for CLTC staff to file "staff declarations" stating how they are related to applicants or lessees. The board unanimously approved this motion - calling for CLTC staff members to disclose their relatives up to a certain degree. It is not clear if this would include relatives through marriage.

 

According to a KUAM News investigation, nearly 30 relatives of DLM employees received CLTC leases in Barrigada Heights, prompting a landslide of events that led to a public outcry for scrutiny and transparency in the CLTC's processes. At this point in the meeting, it was revealed that Land Management Director and CLTC Administrator Michael Borja's sister emailed the commission and cancelled her lease for property in Barrigada Heights.

"You dropped the ball, Mike," Fejeran said to Borja - referencing how Borja signed off on a lease for his sister without informing the board. The board then unanimously voted to have Borja recused from dealing with any CLTC matters involving his family members. Fejeran said all leases awarded to Borja's family members will be scrutinized.

Fejeran also called for reforming the way the CLTC breaks down the waiting list for Chamorro homelands, saying the way applicants are handled gives "too much autonomy" to CLTC land agents. The way the waiting list is broken down alphabetically and assigned to land agents makes it impossible to follow the "first come, first serve" rule, Fejeran said, since land agents work at different paces in awarding leases.

Land Management deputy director David Camacho came under fire for signing off on 17 CLTC "switches" - approving a switch of application date and time - essentially fast tracking the awarding of CLTC leases. "I was floored by this," Fejeran said of Camacho signing off on CLTC documents. Fejeran questioned why Camacho would be involved in CLTC matters, since the law only allows the CLTC Administrator to sign off on CLTC documents - and Borja countered that as his deputy, Camacho assists in managing the CLTC.

A 2015 merging of agencies put the CLTC under the umbrella of the Department of Land Management. The board then unanimously voted to bar Camacho from acting on or authorizing any actions or matters involving the CLTC. "We need to do harsh things to establish our credibility," Board Vice Chair Jose Cruz said, after the measure was contested by Director Borja.

Referencing the AG opinion stating CLTC leases not signed by the board are "voidable" - Fejeran said in the 23-year existence of the CLTC, it has never been the practice of the board to sign off on leases.

Moving forward, the board unanimously decided that all CLTC leases - complete with "staff declarations" - will now have to be reviewed and approved by the board. The board also decided to follow the law and post awarded leases publicly at village mayor's offices.

Fejeran could not say when the audit and review of CLTC leases would be completed and when asked if there was a conflict of interest since the same employees who drew fire for the current CLTC controversy would be preparing the information for the audit, Fejeran said the employees would only be involved in pulling the appropriate files to be reviewed - and not actually conducting the audit. When asked if the board still had confidence in Borja as the CLTC administrator, Fejeran said it's an issue the board is examining.

"That's a fair question," Fejeran said. "It's definitely something we should be discussing given everything that's been happening."

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Tropical Disturbance Expected to Impact the Marianas by Midweek

    Tropical Disturbance Expected to Impact the Marianas by Midweek

    The National Weather Service (NWS) - Guam Weather Forecast Office continues to monitor a developing tropical disturbance in eastern Micronesia. As of 5 p.m., the disturbance was located just north of Pohnpei, about 1075 miles east-southeast of Guam and 1060 east-southeast of Saipan. It continues to move slowly westward and is expected to strengthen as it approaches the Marianas early this week. There is still much uncertainty with the exact track of the system. NWS advises ...More >>
    The National Weather Service (NWS) - Guam Weather Forecast Office continues to monitor a developing tropical disturbance in eastern Micronesia. As of 5 p.m., the disturbance was located just north of Pohnpei, about 1075 miles east-southeast of Guam and 1060 east-southeast of Saipan. It continues to move slowly westward and is expected to strengthen as it approaches the MarMore >>
  • Chamorro activists testify before UN

    Chamorro activists testify before UN

    A group of 20 Chamorro activists, many young Chamorro women, testified in front of the United Nation Committee on Decolonization. Presenting a variety of arguments in favor of decolonizing Guam, the group asked UN officials to send an envoy to assess theMore >>
    A group of 20 Chamorro activists, many young Chamorro women, testified in front of the United Nation Committee on Decolonization. Presenting a variety of arguments in favor of decolonizing Guam, the group asked UN officials to send an envoy to assess the More >>
  • Suspect sought for Harmon Industrial Park incident

    Suspect sought for Harmon Industrial Park incident

    Police are looking for the suspect involved in a daytime snatch and grab in Harmon Industrial Park. It happened on Thursday just before 12pm at America’s Best ElectricMart. Security video captured the suspect pulling up in a white Ford Expedition and going inside. Witnesses say the suspect asked for a job application, and moments later s

    More >>

    Police are looking for the suspect involved in a daytime snatch and grab in Harmon Industrial Park. It happened on Thursday just before 12pm at America’s Best ElectricMart. Security video captured the suspect pulling up in a white Ford Expedition and going inside. Witnesses say the suspect asked for a job application, and moments later swiped a couple of cell phon

    More >>
Powered by Frankly