Mystery remains as to why Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham signed off on a 25-year, $190-million guaranteed price power purchase agreement with Saipan Development LLC but some new details emerged yesterday as the Senate and some House members grilled Commonwealth Utilities Corp. acting executive director Alan Fletcher.
Fletcher told lawmakers he and other CUC personnel were aware of the plan to enter into a power purchase agreement but that stopped on or before July 10.
He said prior to that, he or CUC personnel were asked for preliminary economic and technical data.
“That's the extent of my participation. We weren't part of the discussions [with the supposed contractor],” Fletcher told the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications chaired by Sen. Juan Ayuyu (Ind-Rota).
But Fletcher said he was present when Fitial and Buckingham signed off on the contract on Aug. 3.
Documents obtained showed Buckingham signed the contract on Aug. 3, but there was no date when Fitial signed it. Fletcher confirmed it was also on Aug. 3. Buckingham left the CNMI on Aug. 4.
Fletcher also didn't know when or if Saipan Development LLC signed the contract at a later date.
When asked whether he knows the local representatives of Saipan Development LLC, Fletcher said he didn't know, but said weeks prior to July, he only met Don [Donald] Kurz of Keystone Shipping, and a certain “Kenneth.”
Saipan Development LLC's registered agent is Keystone Shipping, which is based also out of Delaware and Pennsylvania. Keystone Shipping's chief executive officer is Donald Kurz.
Saipan Development LLC is a private limited liability company duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware.
CNMI agencies do not have records of this company.
Saipan Development LLC and the CNMI executed a Power Plant Development and Management Agreement dated March 27, 2012.
That was barely five days after Saipan Development LLC was incorporated in Delaware on March 22, 2012, based on the state's Division of Corporations records.
When pressed by lawmakers, Fletcher said he didn't think CUC should be a signatory to the contract since CUC is under the governor's direct control, when the agency was placed under a state of emergency.