The Guam-based Civille & Tang law firm, though its principal representative Joyce C.H. Tang, was appointed yesterday as the trustee who will run the settlement fund that will be created under the settlement agreement in Betty Johnson’s class action.
“Although the court found all the nominees to be qualified, the court believes that Ms. Tang was the best overall candidate for the position, given her background and prior experience with the Retirement Fund,” said U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood in her order.
The settlement agreement requires the court to appoint the trustee, possessing all the powers of a federal receiver.
With the appointment, Tang will be vested with the power and authority provided under Rule 70 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to perform all acts necessary to comply with the settlement agreement, said Tydingco-Gatewood.
She said the trustee shall serve for as long as necessary to implement the settlement agreement, or until the trustee asks to be relieved and the request is approved by the court.
As trustee, Tang will be paid at a rate of $250 per hour, subject to future increases approved by the court. The money will come out of the settlement fund, said Tydingco-Gatewood.
Among the trustee’s powers and responsibilities is to appoint an administrator or acting administrator to be the chief executive officer of the settlement fund, and to direct the administrator to carry out the policy decisions of the trustee.
The CNMI government, the NMI Retirement Fund, and Johnson nominated seven candidates for trustee: Tang, former Fund administrator Richard Villagomez, Guam-based attorney Michael J. Berman, Guam attorney Mitchell F. Thompson, Hawaii-based attorney and special counsel to Chapter 13 Hawaii bankruptcy trustee William J. Plum, Guam-based Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee Mark J. Heath, and Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority board of commissioners chair David J. Sablan.
Tydingco-Gatewoood said she interviewed all seven.
Attorney Margery Bronster, one of the counsels for Johnson, nominated Tang for the trustee position.
Civille & Tang is currently the Fund’s trustee ad litem.