Guam – The legislature’s ethics committee has finally reached a decision on both ethics complaints filed against Lt. Governor elect Ray Tenorio. However, there decision was not unanimous and didn’t come until after some heated and rather emotional debate.
Yesterday the ethics committee voted to dismiss the first complaint filed by Harold Cruz against Lt. Governor Elect Ray Tenorio. However today, with only four members present the ethics committee spent the entire morning in deadlock. Attorney Robert Kutz recommended that they dismiss the second complaint which was filed by Dr. William Weare alleging moral turpitude for falling behind in child support payments. Kutz in his preliminary investigation exonerated Tenorio, because he found no evidence that this constituted moral turpitude because there had been conviction indicating otherwise. Kutz also noted that Tenorio payed the arrears in his child support and was, based on all the evidence provided, up to date with his payments. Senators Adolpho Palacios and Judi Guthertz wanted to accept his findings and dismiss the complaint, however senators Rory Respicio and Tina Muna Barnes had problems with this primarily because they felt they could not exonerate Tenorio without a more thorough investigation. Respicio and Barnes both told Kutz they believed he didn’t conduct a thorough enough investigation one in which they felt required interviewing family members.
“And is it not true that his ex-wife is currently challenging the basis of this current arrangement that Dr. Weare is bringing out?” asked Respicio to which Kutz responded “I don’t know.” “And that’s my point,” responded Respicio. “And why would it matter since there’s no judgment of record,” said Kutz. Respicio responded saying “My point is that this is an ongoing litigation in the courts.” Kutz then noted that “Child support matters go on as long as kids are fighting about them.”
Respicio and Barnes stuck to their guns repeatedly saying that they were only willing to dismiss the case based on a lack of jurisdiction. “I’m not prepared to say there is no evidence that has been substantiated that there’s any wrongdoing on the part of the respondent rather than being more comfortable by saying that we lack jurisdiction I mean, do you have a short memory didn’t one of his children during the last election wasn’t he claiming that the kind of relationship that he had with his father?” asked Respicio.
After comments like these Tenorio’s family showed up to witness the hearing first hand. Tenorio’s wife, mother, sister and other family members sat in the hearing room with scowls on their faces during the remainder of the proceeding. Senator Telo Taitague who missed the first few hours of the hearing arrived shortly before lunch and offered to second a motion made by Palacios to dismiss the case and exonerate Tenorio but Respicio objected. “I object we don’t have all the facts,” said Respicio. “Madame chair if I may I first apologize to the body for my tardiness I didn’t realize that something so simple like this was gonna take this long and when I turned on the TV it was still going on. How dare us go into the lives of our personal, personal lives?” asked Taitagure. “Point of information Madame Chair I am the one who is saying we should not go into the individuals personal lives do not misconstrue what I’m trying to do here I am not trying to go into the individuals personal lives because we are not in the position to judge our colleagues,” stated Respicio emphatically adding, “So don’t say I can not believe that we want to go into people’s personal lives.”
Taitague continued to question Respicio asking “Why are you pushing this this moral turpitude thing when it’s obvious that who are we to say whose a good father and not a good father?” Respicio interjected saying “Point of clarification I am not pushing this I am not pushing this Senator Taitague I am not pushing this so why are u asking why am I pushing this I do not want to get involved in issues of moral turpitude don’t you understand?”
Eventually the committee would break for lunch and when they returned senator Jim Espaldon would join them. Espaldon gave senators Adolpho Palacios Telo Taitague and Judi Guthertz the votes needed to dismiss the complaint and exonerate Tenorio. Both ethics complaints have now been dismissed after attorney Robert Kutz found both complaints essentially to be without merit.