Guam- The Guam Election Commission Board of Directors went back into Executive Session Monday to resume debate on how to respond to the eviction notice from their landlord, GCIC President Steffen Niu.They didn’t reach a decision.
The big question is whether the Election Commission will be allowed to stay in its current offices through the November 2ed General Election.
The lease for the office space expires at the end of this month which is next week Thursday. GEC Executive Director John Blas says notice has already gone out that GEC is looking for new office space and the bids will be opened September 30th.
However Blas says they expect to remain in their current office space through the General Election and GEC’s legal counsel has already advised that it won’t be possible for the Management to evict them before the election
However GCIC President Niu says they may file their eviction notice prior to the November 2ed General Election.
In an email response to PNC News, Niu acknowledged that they are required to wait a certian time before filing their suit. But he says the wait period will expire prior to the General Election. And Niu said that GCIC is still prepared to file its suit promptley, if they determine that the Election Commission has not been un-responsive.
The GEC will reconvene again on Wednesday at 4 pm to continue their discussions.
GCIC President Niu’s response is reprinted below:
GCIC is prepared to promptly file the suit if we determine that the tenant is unresponsive and gives us no choice but to file. We received notification from GEC legal counsel that the issue would be brought to the Board’s attention on a September 15th, 2010 meeting and that we would be advised promptly of the Board’s position thereafter. I am not aware of any communication from GEC on this matter subsequent to that meeting. If GEC and their procurement officer ignores the notice by giving neither answer and/or by not complying with the notice of eviction, then that, I believe, would be unresponsive. If this is the case, we will then file the lawsuit within the legal and procedural parameters of Guam law. It is my understanding that there is a legal requirement for us to wait a prescribed time before filing suit, however, it is also my understanding that that requirement would be met sometime prior to the General Election.
Our preference would be for GEC to remain at the GCIC building as a tenant in good standing – which means in part that they pay their rent on the regular schedule as set forth in their agreement. Unfortunately, the historic reality of the situation, is that the rent for GEC does not get paid timely and not without Landlord having to incur significant collection costs (over $30,000 for GEC collection efforts alone in the past two and a half years). We do not believe that rescinding the termination and eviction based on a partial payment received subsequent to the termination will rectify the Government’s long ongoing delayed payment issue unless arrangement for guarantee of payment is reached other than the current lease, and as I have stated in my letter to GEC, we are open to other alternatives. As a vendor to the Government we must and we do abide by all the terms and conditions of the agreements and leases we sign, and it is extremely difficult for any vendor to stay in business and pay their employees, taxes, banks and utility bills, when after having sharpened pencils and committed in good faith to the best deal one can afford to offer, the government does not honor its side of the commitments under that same agreement, but instead strings out payments for months and years, and not without vendors having to have expended thousands in collection costs.