A physician assistant is suing the Tinian Municipality, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., and former Tinian Health Center resident department head Raymond T. Dela Cruz Jr. for allegedly refusing to pay his services at the Tinian clinic.
William R. Weiss, through counsel Timothy H. Bellas, is suing Dela Cruz for fraud.
Weiss is currently on temporary assignment as a civilian attached to U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Weiss asked the Superior Court to order the defendants to jointly pay him $42,532.20. Alternatively, he asked the court to enter judgment against Dela Cruz in the same amount plus attorney’s fees and court costs.
Saipan Tribune tried but failed to contact Dela Cruz for comment.
In his memorandum to Weiss dated April 15, 2011, Dela Cruz, however, explained that the decision to discontinue his services was made after a series of meetings and efforts to address THC’s budgetary shortfall and its inability to process any payment for services rendered, including Weiss’ services.
According to the complaint, Weiss, a licensed physician assistant, was approached in November 2010 about providing medical services to the Tinian clinic.
Bellas said the parties executed a contract on Nov. 26, 2010, where Weiss would be paid at $500 per day for an eight-hour workday and $50 per hour for all work in excess of 8 hours per day.
Since Weiss lives on Saipan, the contract provided that he would be provided transportation to and lodging on Tinian by the employer.
Bellas said Dela Cruz executed the MOU as the resident department head.
Bellas said his client began working at the Tinian clinic from late November 2010 until April 18, 2011.
Bellas said that Weiss’ services were terminated by a memorandum dated April 15, 2011, making the termination effective on April 18, 2011.
Bellas said the memorandum was drafted by or on behalf of the resident department head, although signed by someone on his behalf and a copy was purportedly provided to the Tinian mayor and the Public Health secretary.
The memorandum, the lawyer said, admits that there were problems in getting payments made for the amounts owed Weiss.
Bellas said Weiss received only one payment for services rendered, in the amount of $3,250 in partial payment. The payment was made on Feb. 7, 2011, and paid from the CNMI Tinian Imprest Fund.
In addition to not paying the salary promised his client, Bellas said that Weiss was also forced several times to pay for his own airfare to Tinian despite the promise that THC was supposed provide him transportation.
As of April 30, 2011, the defendants are liable to Weiss for the total unpaid sum of $42,532.50 in unpaid compensation and expenses, Bellas said.
Bellas said that on Jan. 14, 2013, and again on July 9, 2013, he wrote demand letters to the Tinian mayor and the current THC resident department head demanding payment in full or at least a payment plan under which to liquidate this debt within a reasonable time.
Bellas said the defendants have never disputed the amount owed Weiss nor has there been any other response from defendants and no payment made.
Bellas said that Dela Cruz knew or should have known that he did not have the power or authority to hire Weiss as an employee using an MOU.
He said that when Weiss complained about the lack of due diligence by Dela Cruz in processing the excepted service contract, he was terminated effective April 18, 2011.