Gubernatorial candidate Juan N. Babauta has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Teregeyo for alleged breach of duty to the public and public trust by allowing the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi to deteriorate.
Babauta filed the complaint in Superior Court last Monday against Torres and Teregeyo, alleging negligence over the current state of the Marpi swimming pool, which serves as the island’s only public swimming facility.
Babauta, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and the CNMI community, wants the court to direct Torres and Teregeyo to take immediate steps to reverse or remediate the deterioration of the Marpi swimming pool.
The pool’s water has turned murky after only a few days of non-maintenance, since the former operator’s land lease was not renewed.
Babauta is seeking expedited injunctive relief for Torres and Teregeyo to take the steps needed to make the pool available again for public use.
This includes providing maintenance supplies and staff, maintenance equipment, utility service, security personnel, and instructive personnel, and more.
Babauta filed his complaint on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duty, waste, negligence, and joint and severable liability.
According to the lawsuit, Torres and Teregeyo failed to carry out their fiduciary duties when they failed to consider the health and welfare of the CNMI community when dealing with the Mariana Resort & Spa/Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC lease related dealings.
Mariana Resort took it upon themselves to maintain the Marpi pool up until their lease extension expired back in Sept. 30. DPL, headed by Teregeyo, is now responsible for the maintenance of the facility.
Babauta alleges that Torres and Teregeyo failed or neglected to make the Marpi pool available to the CNMI community.
Babauta also claims that Torres and Teregeyo neglected to protect the CNMI community’s health and welfare by allowing the Marpi pool to continue to waste away.
Lastly, Babauta claims that Torres and Teregeyo are liable for the financial loss, health hazards, and others societal detriments that could cause irreparable harm to the CNMI community if the Marpi pool is left to waste away.
A statement from Torres said the lawsuit tells of “a sad state of affairs when a political candidate ties up the judicial system for blatant political objectives.”
“The people of the CNMI are not easily misled by the political manipulations a gubernatorial candidate is trying to employ. This is a clear sign of a political candidate without a platform or policy position aiming to take advantage of the complexities of public administration for his personal gain. The concerns of those who have grown to love and use the public pool have been heard and will be addressed, and this administration has taken a proactive role in reaching that goal. In addressing these concerns, Mr. Babauta has had no positive role in finding a solution. Governor Torres is confident that the courts will see this for what it is, and that the proper governance of the CNMI will continue after this election is over,” he said.