Full-steam ahead for Chamorro Land Trust - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Full-steam ahead for Chamorro Land Trust

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 3:43 PM Updated:

Now that board chair Pika Fejeran is back on island, it is full steam ahead for the Chamorro Land Trust, as they scrutinize a sea of leases in preparation for the upcoming board meeting. And the board chair says she hasn't forgotten about the Barrigada Heights land scam controversy that rocked the agency

The Chamorro Land Trust Commission expects to take action on leases that fall into two categories created by an opinion from the Attorney General.

"I'm hoping that we can arrive at some at some decisions next week as a commission," CLTC board chair Pika Fejeran said.

While the AG's opinion centered on legally defining existing leases and how illegal but accepted CLTC administrative practices affected leases and application rights, whether or not Land Management employees bent the rules to award themselves and their family members with CLTC land in the prime Barrigada Heights area hasn't been overlooked by the AG and the CLTC board - according to Fejeran.

The AG's office kept digital files of leases and supporting documents in the Barrigada Heights area for "further investigation."

"I'm definitely interested in continuing to work with the Attorney General to look into all of those allegations and figure out what happened," Fejeran said.

Land Management employees have undergone ethics training and this morning CLTC board members did the same thing. Fejeran said employees will also have to come clean about their relationship with CLTC applicants but it remains to be seen if that practice will be used moving forward or applied retroactively.

"We briefly talked with legal counsel about having him prepare and actual internal policy so that we're clear when this is applied, so I think that's something we're going to be talking more about next week," Fejeran said.

The AG's opinion issued in May categorized CLTC leases as "voidable" and "null and void." Leases not ratified by the board were deemed "voidable, but not void" and leases applicants switched place in line and leases transferred by living applicants to another person were deemed "null and void."

Today commissioners reviewed documents prepared over the last two months. In the process of determining which leases fit into the two categories defined by the AG, the CLTC discovered hundreds of leases could be affected.

Some lessees have built homes on CLTC lots creating a quandary for the commission and discussion centered on how to move forward with situations like this and also leases that were transferred from living applicants for what the board called "legitimate reasons."

Come next week, look for the board to start at the beginning, with leases and applicants from 23 years ago, when the Chamorro Land Trust was created in 1995.

"I think that would be probably the first thing we'd do is look at those and talk about ratifying those lease so that we can move them out of the category that the AG has called voidable," Fejeran said.

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