CLTC to audit 2,400 Land Trust leases dating back to 1995

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Guam – After another long week at the Department of Land Management, questions are flaring and tensions are building over the fairest way to sort and scrub the decades-long list of Chamorro Land Trust lease applicants numbering in the thousands and the most appropriate way to clamp down on land managers and trust administrators to clean up their act.

At the behest of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission’s chairwoman, the walls are closing in on accountability.

 

After a round of Inifresi, CLTC Chair Pika Fejeran was all business at the Land Management conference room Thursday.

“And all of the concerns and allegations levied at our program and our staff we must address and meet each of them head on,” she said.

After more than two decades since the program started, literally thousands of improperly approved Chamorro Land Leases will now be scrutinized at the risk of being voided.

As PNC reported yesterday, the CLTC board removed Land Management Deputy Director David V. Camacho from his acting role as CLTC administrator, after he was caught fast-tracking 17 leases for Chamorro Land Trust lease applicants, without Commission approval.

Fejeran said she found 30 cases of so-called lease “switches” and of those, 21 took place since 2015–four approved by DLM Director Mike Borja and 17 approved by Deputy Director Camacho.

“In the two years that I’ve sat here, I wasn’t aware nor did I understand the deputy director of land management’s role in CLT program. He’s never sat in any of our commission meetings, I’ve never sat in his office to discuss the program. And yet I find his name and approval on 17 of the last 21 switches,” noted Fejeran.

Now the devil’s in the details, as Fejeran calls for a mass audit of 2,431 leases, none of them yet signed by a Commission chairperson.

Fejeran says the Commission should now begin sorting the more than 2,000 leases into four piles: (1) Barrigada Heights leases, (2) Staff-declared leases, (3) leases from the pool of 1995 applicants, and (4) leases 1996 to current.

Whether past or current directors or deputy directors of Land Management will face any punishment other than sequestration remains to be seen.