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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMDA files lawsuit after mediation efforts fail

United Micronesia Development Association, Inc. sued yesterday its former CEO and board member David L. Wickline, in the CNMI Superior Court. In the lawsuit UMDA seeks damages from Wickline for unlawful conduct and asks the court to declare various claims asserted by Wickline to be meritless.

The lawsuit was filed after UMDA and Wickline were unable to resolve their disputes through mediation.

In response to Wickline’s claims, UMDA board chair Jose “Joe” Lifoifoi stated: “The board was dissatisfied with Mr. Wickline’s performance as CEO so he was fired and the shareholders decided not to re-elect him to the board.”

“The board and its counsel have thoroughly reviewed the matter and have found that Mr. Wickline’s claims are all made up and have no merit whatsoever. It was only after he was fired that these claims surfaced. In our investigation we also discovered several unlawful acts committed by Mr. Wickline against the company for which we seek damages from Mr. Wickline. The board has authorized its attorneys to file the lawsuit against Wickline,” Lifoifoi said.

Chief financial officer Rufo Mafnas said the management and UMDA counsel have completed a full review of the company’s records and confirmed that Wickline’s claims are not based on any written or other agreements. Mafnas said, “It is unfortunate that we were unsuccessful in negotiating a resolution with Mr. Wickline, but I have confidence that the court will uphold UMDA’s position on the issues involved.”

UMDA was found in 1967 in the then capital of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Saipan, as a joint venture between individual shareholders and regional governments. UMDA’s mission is to promote economic development in Micronesia, which in turn benefits its thousands of shareholders in the region. Throughout its existence, UMDA has been involved in a host of economic development activities throughout Micronesia, ranging from retail stores to airlines, cable television, telecommunications, and property acquisitions and real estate development. The company is perhaps best known for its ownership and development of Air Micronesia and Marianas Cablevision.

In addition to Lifoifoi, UMDA’s current directors are Juan S. Tenorio, Eduardo A. Calvo, Clarence T. Tenorio, Tony Ganngiyan, Joshua Koshiba, and Alan Seid. (UMDA)

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