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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Superior Court urged to cite Fund ad litem for contempt
»CPA says Razzano ignored laws; agency opposes appointment as receiver

The Commonwealth Ports Authority wants NMI Retirement Fund trustee ad litem Joseph Razzano to be held in contempt for allegedly ignoring court orders and failure to comply with Commonwealth laws.

In a seven-page document filed yesterday by CPA counsel Robert T. Torres, the agency also expressed its strong opposition to the proposed appointment of Razzano as the Fund’s permanent receiver.

CPA is one of the interveners in the case between the Fund and the central government. The Superior Court has allowed it to receive updates on the Fund’s efforts to collect the judgment from the government and the steps the Fund is taking to protect the contributions of active members. Torres claimed that the ad litem has not done so.

This week, the Fund filed motions in the federal court, to which CPA failed to receive any notification. Among the filed documents are the Fund’s amended complaint against the Public School System, Northern Marianas College, and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. over unpaid employer contributions and a motion to appoint the ad litem as permanent receiver for the pension agency.

According to CPA, the trustee ad litem has done little—if anything—to preserve the Fund assets, raise revenues, and collect on the judgment.

“Following on the heels of the Fund’s failed and meritless bankruptcy filing, the [trustee ad litem] has failed to report to this court on efforts to collect on the judgment and has refused to update the court and all parties in this lawsuit about the Fund’s financial status,” stated the court document, adding that Razzano also ignored his responsibility to act on the applications of those members of the defined benefit plan to terminate their membership, stop employee contributions, and return their money to them.

It will be recalled that the Fund, citing the unpaid obligations of PSS, suspended the disbursement of refund checks. CPA, despite fully complying with its employer and employee contributions to the Fund, was affected by this suspension. It was revealed that thousands of current government employees who are seeking the return of their employee contributions are being forced to continue making employee contributions to a Fund that will neither protect them or let them go. CPA disclosed that nearly a hundred of its personnel are now being affected by what it described as the inaction of the trustee.

For the CPA, appointing Razzano as a permanent receiver of the Fund would add insult to injury, describing him as not a CNMI resident and has no interest in the community.

“All that this trustee has done, besides avoiding the jurisdiction of this court, is to submit billing statements for work that has brought little, if any, value to the Fund,” stated CPA in its filing.

The agency added that the ad litem, it appears, “is deliberately ignoring his responsibilities to the local court while he looks to the federal court for the appointment of a financially rewarding, permanent position.”

According to Torres, the court’s tentative hearing date on the motion is on Dec. 28 at 9am before Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo.

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