CNMI LeakSource, a new website seeking to expose government and business secrets, posted three new sets of documents online on Thursday, including a court order on outstanding judgments against House vice speaker Felicidad Ogumoro (Cov-Saipan) and Pacific Information Bank, a court order against Republican Precinct 2 candidate Liana S. Hofschneider, and an American Samoa media article about Division of Environmental Quality manager Frances Castro, who was charged with reckless driving and speeding.
CNMI LeakSource posted a Feb. 23, 2012, court order, signed by Superior Court presiding judge Robert C. Naraja, pertaining to the outstanding judgments against the incumbent House vice speaker.
“She has not one, but four collection cases against her that go back 10-12 years. Combined, she owes over $100,000. She entered into an agreement to pay this combined debt off, but she failed to comply with the payment schedule and was subject to losing her family home with the office space above it,” CNMI LeakSource said, posting a copy of the 11-page order.
The court order shows Ogumoro owes money to China Color Printing, WinGuide Color Printing Co. Ltd., Benigno Fejeran dba Solid Builders, and Younis Art Studio Inc. dba Marianas Variety.
Another document posted on Thursday was an American Samoa news article about DEQ's Castro, who was pulled over by police for speeding, among other things.
Castro was in Pago Pago, American Samoa in August 2012 as one of the CNMI delegates to the 28th meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which was also attended by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and press secretary Angel Demapan.
Castro, when asked for comment, said the article in Samoa News “was sensationalized and events described such as being arrested are untrue.”
She said she was charged with reckless driving and speeding for driving at a speed of 32 miles per hour on a 20-mph zone, which she said was “completely unintentional.”
“They could not proceed with a DUI because there was lack of evidence. I didn't fail the sobriety tests as indicated because I had a witness who was willing to testify; unfortunately I was in the middle of an enforcement campaign and became a statistic. I know who leaked this source and it is someone who didn't get a job associated with the Micronesia Challenge a few years ago and has since been blaming me for not being hired which I had nothing to do with the decision. This is their way off getting back [at] me,” Castro told Saipan Tribune.
CNMI LeakSource also posted a court order against Hofschneider, a Precinct 2 candidate under the Republican Party.
Unlike the other documents, this court order dates back to 2004 and orders Hofschneider to pay Mobil $115,684.82.
The Fitial administration and at least one concerned citizen, however, are urging the public to exercise caution on the nature of information being leaked and posted online as well as the motive behind the postings.
Press secretary Angel Demapan said, “Accountability and transparency in government is the total opposite of anonymous sources.”
Concerned citizen Glen Hunter said, “Certain precautions should be taken when leaking information or furthering leaked information,” and hopes that the new site “does not allow just any rumor or gossip to make its way into the public domain as 'proven' leaks without due diligence on the part of the site owner.”
CNMI LeakSource earlier posted an anonymously leaked bench warrant for Saipan Mayor Donald Flores for failing to appear in court on Dec. 7, 2011, in connection with unpaid debts to Dollar Rent-A-Car. The mayor said he will pay the $300 cash bail.
CNMI LeakSource claims on its website that it was launched to help end corruption in the CNMI. It said certain corrupt individuals are only able to continue their corruption because the public is largely unaware of their acts.
Through its website, it gives a way for anyone in the CNMI “to take part in whistleblower activities with the safety and comfort of guaranteed anonymity; thus removing any chances of repercussion in the future, and removing any fears of retribution that would normally hold someone back from releasing something that the public deserves to know.”