Judge rules against landowners in Tiyan land dispute case

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The judge suggested that a political process may be a better remedy for the dispossessed landowners.

Guam- District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled against dispossessed landowners in them in a lawsuit filed by Vicente Benny Crawford.

Crawford filed the lawsuit against the Guam International Airport Authority, seeking compensation from the government for the land the airport now sits on–land that once belonged to him and dozens of others.

The land was condemned by the US government right after World War II, then returned, but not to the original landowners, instead it was given to GovGuam which used the property to build the airport and for other purposes.

Crawford and several others fought for decades for compensation but have never received a dime.

In her decision, Judge Gatewood noted that the more effective remedies for a situation like this would be through a political process, which she says “will often achieve more success in expediting a resolution through application of political persuasion.”

Judge Gatewood denied Crawford’s motion for summary judgment and granted in part the airport’s motion for summary judgment.