Guam – Citing relationships with people who have ties to DFS Guam and Lotte Duty Free, Superior Court Judge Alberto Lamorena recused himself from presiding over a civil suit related to the Guam International Airport Concession contract. The case now goes back to the clerk of courts, but the deadline still looms for DFS to vacate the Airport premises.
Superior Court Judge Alberto Lamorena says he doesn’t believe he has the ability to remain fair and impartial in the controversial Guam Airport concession contract dispute between DFS Guam, Lotte Duty Free and the Airport Authority. DFS Guam filed suit last month over the way the concession contract was awarded to winning bidder Lotte Duty Free. DFS is the current contract holder but that contract is set to expire on July 20th. Lamorena explains his decision to withdraw from the case.
“My brother, Alberto ‘Tony’ Lamorena V is a cabinet member of the administration of Governor Edward Calvo and Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. For those of you who don’t know he is the director of the Civil Service Commission. My sister-in-law, Lisa Lamorena, who is the wife of my brother, Tony, is an account executive at DFS Guam. She’s the senior budget business analyst of operations and control of MidPacific. She also participated in the presentation of the DFS Guam proposal to the review committee of the Antiono Borja Won Pat Airport. I also have a brother, Alberto Lamorena IV, who probably many of you don’t know, but he was the general manager for the airport store for DFS Guam LLP from 1990 to 1998 and has since retired,” Lamorena states.
None of the parties objected. In fact, Attorney Rawlen Mantanona for Lotte told Judge Lamorena that he understood there to be another week before the parties had to submit their replies to Lamorena’s notice to withdraw. Mantanona, however, indicated that his clients are still pressing forward with their plans to move into the Airport retail space on time.
“My clients are really busy at this time preparing for the move into the airport and have not been able to get back to me in regards to their position whether they would waive any conflict,” Mantanona notes.
Last week DFS attorney William Blair told PNC that they are seeking either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction. But if no judge can be appointed before the deadline or if a judge denies DFS’ request, Blair says DFS will be forced to move out.
Meanwhile, Lamorena says he will forward the case to the clerk of courts to assign it to another judge. He notes it will be up to the next judge appointed to also weigh the same decision he’s made.
“So I’m gonna withdraw because I cannot say that I could be fair and impartial. No matter what decision this court will make I will offend someone in my family and I don’t want them to be offended and secondly I also feel that I also want them to keep their positions as well in their respective jobs,” says Lamorena.
“I’d like to take this case and you know all of you know that I seldom recuse myself in most cases but I feel that too much is at stake in this case,” he adds.