CLTC reaches tentative settlement with USDOJ; legislative action needed

Pika Fejeran remains on the CLTC board until a replacement is confirmed by the Guam Legislature.
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The CHamoru Land Trust Commission has submitted a resolution to the Guam Legislature seeking their approval for changes to the CLTC enabling legislation.

The changes are the result of a tentative settlement agreement reached last month with the U.S. Justice Department which filed suit against the CLTC in 2017 alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act.

The Justice Department filed the lawsuit alleging the CLTC was racially biased because it limited participation to people identified as “native Chamorros”

Under the terms of the tentative agreement reached with the U.S. Justice Department, all references to Chamorro, native Chamorro, and Chamorro homelands must be eliminated from the act. However, the CLTC name will remain the same.

CLTC chairwoman Pika Fejeran said the terms were adopted during a CLTC executive session on Dec. 13.

“The commission, once we were out of executive session, voted to unanimously approve of them and so these terms are on a Nov. 14 term sheet that was developed by the Guam parties and the U.S. Department of Justice,” Fejeran said.

“It’s not over,” said attorney Mike Phillips, who represented the CLTC and helped negotiate the terms. “But it’s very clear to me that at least the parties involved feel that there is a settlement. At the same time … the Guam legislature is now the entity that will look at it and determine for the people of Guam whether that’s a fair settlement or not. So it’s really now up to the Guam legislature to make that decision … if this is good or not,” Phillips said.

Fejeran said: “I can assure our Chamorro land trust beneficiaries that the changes to the Chamorro land trust act and its rules and regulations are very favorable to the Chamorro land trust program. What these terms do is they preserve the program intact.”

She added that if the legislature approves of the changes, she is hopeful that the federal government’s lawsuit will end.