With only two board members showing up, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board failed to hold a scheduled special meeting yesterday to finalize an omnibus settlement agreement that was supposed to resolve many disputed issues between CUC and the Commonwealth Ports Authority.
As this developed, Attorney General Edward Manibusan disclosed in an interview yesterday that his office has already reviewed the omnibus settlement agreement and determined that there are no legal issues affecting it. The Office of the Attorney General is counsel for CUC.
With the lack of quorum for the 10am meeting, CUC board chair Miranda V. Manglona postponed the meeting to 6pm later that day, as two more directors were expected to make it that time. As of press time last night, it was not clear yet if the 6pm meeting was able to push through.
At the 10am meeting, only Manglona and Jovita Paulino showed up among the directors. CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho was also present. Four directors need to be present to have a quorum.
CUC board member and Commonwealth Development Authority chair Ike Perez and CUC vice chair Weston Deleon Guerrero were expected to attend the 6pm meeting. Manglona said other directors have prior engagement.
She said CUC director Matthew Holley will not be able to attend, but that they are hoping he will be able to make it to the meeting.
Holley, who is a member of the Torres Brothers law firm, told Saipan Tribune yesterday afternoon that he would not attend the meeting. He did not elaborate.
Manglona said the meeting’s sole item for discussion is the omnibus settlement agreement. She said she does not want to divulge the items in the agreement until the meeting.
Others present at the supposed 10am meeting were CPA board chair Kimberlyn King Hinds, CPA executive director Christopher S. Tenorio, and CPA legal counsel Robert T. Torres. Manibusan was also present as counsel for CUC.
In an interview, CUC executive director Camacho said he can’t speak for the CUC board and it’s their determination whether the agreement is acceptable or not. Camacho said if the agreement is acceptable to the CUC board, they will inform CPA.
Camacho said the CPA board will meet today, Friday, to discuss the CUC board’s decision.
Last June 18, the CPA board approved with some conditions the draft CUC-CPA omnibus agreement.
The terms of the agreement would basically give CUC permanent easement for usage and access to 67 water wells that are on CPA premises; the existing CUC water line transporting the water from the well to the CUC island system; CPA’s 20-million gallon water tank; and the CUC sand filtration system on CPA premises.
Under the terms of the agreement, CUC has the responsibility to maintain the water wells easement.
This will provide CPA with continuous water supply from the water resources on its (CPA) premises free of charge.
CPA however, upon execution of this agreement, will pay for sewer line charges at an established flat rate.
CPA board chair King-Hinds earlier stated that this omnibus settlement deal will resolve the specific charges that have been an ongoing dispute between CUC and CPA and would provide an offset of charges. King-Hinds said that CPA will pay CUC the sum of $7.2 million as a settlement amount for the disputed water charges and penalty.
King-Hinds said with the CPA board’s approval, the agreement will go to the CUC board for final approval.
She said the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission is also required to approve it.
CUC last reported that CPA’s debt to CUC now stands at $17.7 million.