The contractor that inked a controversial sole-source power purchase agreement with Gov. Benigno R. Fitial admits that the PPA has a guaranteed payment of $190.83 million, on top of additional costs.
Saipan Development LLC, through counsel William M. Fitzgerald, said the further costs are necessary to secure a reliable power system for Saipan, but denied that they are undisclosed or has yet to be determined.
SDLLC was responding to the lawsuit filed by the Senate, Rep. Janet U. Maratita (IR-Saipan) and Sen. Ray A. Yumul (IR-Saipan). The plaintiffs are suing Fitial, former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and SDLLC over the allegedly illegal PPA.
The plaintiffs want the 25-year PPA declared unconstitutional and cancelled.
The plaintiffs allege that aside from $190.8 million, the PPA and its related agreements also guarantee an undisclosed and yet-to-be determined millions of dollars in direct and indirect costs that the CNMI people will be forced to pay.
In SDLLC's response, Fitzgerald denied that the PPA was secret and denied that SDLLC is a mysterious company.
Fitzgerald said SDLLC was incorporated in the State of Delaware on March 22, 2012, but not registered with the CNMI Registrar of Corporations.
SDLLC admits that it was five days later, on March 27, 2012, that the CNMI executed a Power Plant Development and Management Agreement, by which SDLLC “was granted the exclusive right to develop a diesel generated electric power plant on Saipan.”
SDLLC also admitted that Fitial for CUC and Buckingham for the Office of the Attorney General executed the PPA with SDLLC on Aug. 3, 2012.
As to allegations that there was no request for proposals issued for the project, Fitzgerald said the company “is without information or knowledge sufficient as to form a belief as to the truth or falsity.”
Fitzgerald argued that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit as there are no grounds for a taxpayer lawsuit and, therefore, no private right to action.
The lawyer said the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing the lawsuit.
He said the damages alleged in the complaint resulted solely and proximately from the conduct of Fitial, Buckingham and CUC and their agents and representatives.
Fitzgerald said Fitial, Buckingham and CUC should indemnify SDLLC and hold the company free of harm.
He said the plaintiffs also have contributory negligence and unclean hands considering that as members of the CNMI House and Senate they could have rejected or modified the executive order under which Fitial signed the PPA.
SDLLC asked the Superior Court to order the plaintiffs to pay the company for costs incurred in responding to the complaint.