Concerned citizen Glen Hunter has filed a taxpayers' lawsuit that questioned the legality of the continued occupation of Ellsbeth Viola Alepuyo as acting attorney general for more than 30 days now without submitting her name to the Senate for confirmation.
“It is time for the good people of the CNMI to take back their government and for this court to stop the abuse of power and neglect of duties that seems so rampant with the current governor,” said Hunter in his lawsuit.
Hunter is suing Fitial and Alepuyo for taxpayer's right of action: Illegal expenditure of public funds and breach of fiduciary duty. He is also suing the governor for breach of trust.
Alepuyo told Saipan Tribune yesterday that she has no comment at this time.
Press Secretary Angel Demapan said as an assistant attorney general, Alepuyo was designated acting AG following the resignation of then AG Edward T. Buckingham.
Demapan said the Office of the Attorney General had already looked into this matter long before there was a lawsuit.
“The acting AG opined that the statute does not apply because she is not a nominee, but merely an assistant AG designated to take charge until a new AG has been appointed and confirmed,” Demapan said.
Hunter filed the lawsuit pro se or without a lawyer in Superior Court on Friday.
The plaintiff asked the court to declare that the continued occupation of Alepuyo as acting AG is illegal and therefore is null and void.
Hunter requested the court to rule whether any payment to Alepuyo for salaries, benefits, travels, and/or reimbursements, is a constitutional and/or just expenditure of public funds for a public purpose.
He asked the court to rule whether Fitial breached his fiduciary duty to plaintiff and the good people of the CNMI allowing Alepuyo to continue to illegally occupy the AG position in an acting capacity for more than 30 days without submitting her name to the Senate president for confirmation.
Hunter moved the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that prevents Alepuyo from performing any rights and duties as acting AG under the “Aug. 13, 2012” appointment pending the resolution and final disposition of this case.
The plaintiffs requested the court to issue a TRO and preliminary injunction against Fitial to restrain him from further appointing acting attorneys general in violation of the CNMI Constitution and laws, pending the resolution of this lawsuit.
In his complaint, Hunter stated that the AG position is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Fitial appointed Alepuyo to temporarily serve as acting AG on Aug. 13, 2012.
Hunter asserted that the AG position requires the advice and consent of the Senate, which must be submitted by the governor to the Senate president within 30 days following the date that Alepuyo was temporarily appointed.
“To date, defendant Alepuyo continues to serve as acting Attorney General, and continues to receive salary and benefits as acting Attorney General,” he said.
Hunter said the CNMI's meager resources are being committed to pay an illegally appointed acting AG, at a time, when the Commonwealth's only hospital is having major financial difficulties meeting payroll, paying vendors, buying medical supplies, and is placed on immediate jeopardy status, when the police department lacks funding for necessary equipment and supplies, when the government is “broke.”