VIDEO: A.G. & Governor Disagree Over Rodriguez Tax Settlement

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Guam – The governor’s office and the Attorney General’s Office are in a dispute over how to settle a tax case involving millions of dollars that are owed to GovGuam by Dennis Rodriguez Sr., the father of Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr.

The Guam A.G. has filed a motion in District Court to withdraw from the case calling the settlement proposed by the governor’s office repugnant.

According to the motion to withdraw, Dennis Rodriguez Sr. and his wife Asuncion Rodriguez did not file their tax returns for the years 1996 through 2001 and thus owe over $950 thousand dollars without including interest and penalties. With interest and penalties included the amount owed to GovGuam is about $2.7 million dollars.

 The Rodriguez’s entered into settlement negotiations with the plaintiffs earlier this year. GovGuam had a pending motion to foreclose on the liens it held on some of their properties. The motion states that the Rodriguez’s have admitted that they earn $120 thousand dollars annually, they drive a Lexus SUV and they own at least five parcels of real property. GovGuam postponed their foreclosure at the request of the Rodriguez’s legal counsel so that he could submit an additional briefing.

 The motion goes on to state that the Rodriguez’s attorney, Tom Fisher, contacted Arthur Clark who is an attorney and chief policy adviser to Governor Eddie Calvo to inquire about the settlement “without the office of the attorney general’s knowledge and consent”. Fisher was the attorney for the Calvo- Tenorio campaign. Then on April 7th of 2012 Clark appeared at a settlement negotiation. The motion states that Clark took over settlement negotiations on behalf of GovGuam. The A.G. states “Mr. Clark persists in a course of action that the office of the attorney general finds legally inadvisable and antithetical to the public interest.” It goes on to state that “the only issue remaining in the case is the defendant’s counterclaim to foreclose on the Rodriguez’s property.” However the A.G.’s office “Believes it would not be acting in the public interest to settle the case in the manner proposed by Mr. Clark. The attorney general believes it is in the public interest for DRT to collect as much of plaintiffs tax debt as is reasonably possible.”

 Because of this disagreement the A.G.’s office filed this motion to withdraw from the case saying “the office of the attorney general finds the proposed settlement by Mr. Clark repugnant and fundamentally disagrees with the settlement proposal.” The A.G.’s office also states that they “met with the governor on Friday September 7, 2012 to discuss the matter, but the office of the attorney and the office of the governor have reached no agreement as to how this case should be resolved.”

 Clark was not available for comment on the case. The A.G.’s spokeswoman Carlina Charfarous issued a statement saying “the motion filed in court adequately speaks for itself and the position of this office.”