The NMI Retirement Fund continues to seek a contempt order against the government for ignoring a U.S. District Court order pertaining to the operation of the pension agency.
In a 10-page filing by Fund counsels Braddock Huesman and Daniel J. Berman on Thursday, the Fund indicated its opposition to the latest filing of the government regarding its stand on the Fund's proposed order to show-cause. Among the government's arguments is its claim that the trustee ad litem has no authority to represent the board of trustees.
In its reply, the Fund pointed out that the court order appointing trustee ad litem Joseph C. Razzano has no expiration date, contrary to the government's view that this order is self-terminating.
“[The] CNMI does not accept that the order regarding trustee ad litem appointment filed Sept. 14, 2012, is a continuing order until reversed or vacated. [The] CNMI views the order as self-terminating. But the very definition of [trustee ad litem] is for the duration of the civil litigation. No expiration date exists on Sept. 14 order appointing the [trustee ad litem] and the CNMI expressly admits that the court refused to craft its order in such a way as to terminate the [trustee ad litem] upon appointment of a new board of trustees,” states the Fund in its latest filing, adding that the CNMI is bound by the order until it is reversed or vacated.
According to the Fund, the government never feels bound by the order and has refused to pay as ordered by the court, and continuously interferes with the trustee ad litem despite an order not to do so.
“Clearly, only the enforcement of the order of contempt of court will bring the CNMI around to an understanding and respect for the orders of the court,” states the Fund.
The Fund claims that the government's action to nominate members for the board of trustees is an attempt to immediately replace and take over the functions of the trustee ad litem, which runs afoul of the Sept. 14 injunction.
“Such action strongly suggests an ill-spirited intent to directly, and publicly, undermine the power and integrity of this court by using the powers of the governor and Legislature to conduct an advice and consent hearing on the nominations,” added the Fund.
The Fund also countered arguments made by the government about its failure to receive the Fund's notice of its emails, claiming the emails went to their counsels' spam emails.
“Instead of responding, they reserved all of their comment for their opposition brief filed Dec. 26 wherein the primary arguments of the CNMI are that the order is ambiguous and we will just continue to follow local law. None of these arguments have any merit,” said the Fund, adding that besides the email correspondence on Dec. 4 the Fund also sent a formal letter to the government's lawyers on Dec. 10, 2012.