I realize that there may be some pressure being placed on the local court to move the NMIRF vs. CNMI case into receivership in order to stave off any federal attempts at possible federal mediation or federal receivership. I would like to publicly request that if you are considering the idea of placing the NMIRF into local receivership that you suspend such action until after the Roe/Doe case has had a chance to be heard in federal court.
It appears that the delay tactics that were orchestrated by the OAG and the administration have finally run out and they both realize that they have nowhere else to turn but back to the local judiciary for any further attempts to delay. They have exhausted an attempt at federal bankruptcy and have even attempted a hostile takeover of the NMIRF through an emergency declaration. That EO has been suspended and is being challenged at this moment in Federal Court.
I believe that at the heart of all of their attempts is a deep desire to prevent this government from ever having to make good on the local court judgment and to keep full control over the NMIRF and its dwindling assets. There has been to date no attempt at establishing a payment plan for the past judgment. They have gone one step further and since the judgment, this government has still continued to violate the law you cited them on and still refuses to pay the full amount of their constitutionally mandated contributions.
I believe that the OAG and the administration's final attempt to retain full control of the NMIRF and prevent any third party oversight will be a strong push for you to place the NMIRF into local receivership. If this is the case, I would humbly ask you to suspend any action on that front until the federal courts are finally given the ability to mediate this matter via the Roe/Doe lawsuit.
Although it may appear that receivership in any forum would be in the best interest, we know based on past case history, both here and in Guam, that the federal venue will allow the following:
- A federally appointed receiver who would be unbiased and unconflicted.
- The fully federally-funded enforcement of the local judement that could make use of the U.S. Marshall Service and all other federal government resources needed to implement the collection and establish a workable payment plan.
- Availability of appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court should any obstacles prevent a just outcome at the base level
By contrast, these are a few issues that would be present in any form of local receivership:
- Based on previous recommendations from the NMIRF a locally appointed receiver may be conflicted, biased, and a player who is a current or previously intimately involved with the NMIRF or the local government.
- All judiciary costs of monitoring the receiver and his progress would fall on the local taxpayers as a CNMI Judiciary expense.
- Enforcement of any ruling would be limited to local enforcement personnel who are beholden to this administration.
- And most importantly, unlike a federal receiver, a local receiver would be unable to enforce the court judgment without first a CNMI Legislative appropriation
There have been some very notable federal cases that we can look towards as positive examples of federal intervention dealing with local fiscal mismanagement. Most recently there was federal court judge Consuelo's decision in the Guam taxpayer class-action lawsuit regarding unpaid and delay tax refunds: (Federal judge's ruling requires significant, lasting cuts to budget (http://www.guampdn.com/article/20120823/OPINION01/208230323/No-option-Federal-judge-s-ruling-requires-significant-lasting-cuts-budget).
My last note is in regards to the seeming double talk that has come from both the NMIRF, themselves, and the OAG in what seem to be an attempt to make you the “fall guy.” We can all remember the Status Conference on Feb. 26, 2010 (http://kixproductions.com/cnmiretiree/2012/03/13/status-hearing-from-over-2-years-ago), when Fund attorneys Viola Alepuyo (now acting attorney general, the office fighting against the NMIRF) and Deborah Fisher stated in open court that they were adamantly opposed to federal receivership because of the potential for cuts to pension benefits that may result. However just a few months ago, Viola and the NMIRF, attempted to get your court to issue pension benefit cuts. When that failed they attempted to turn toward federal bankruptcy court with the main intent of cutting pension benefits. The NMIRF has also made no major move or statement to oppose the latest emergency declaration issued by governor Fitial that would allow for the NMIRF to be completely engulfed by the administration, this roll over coming after years of seemingly fighting against the same Administration in your court room.
I apologize for my brash words and bluntness in such a public setting but things have gotten to that point. After careful consideration, I believe this is my best recourse.
Glen D. Hunter