Bankruptcy Court did not find couple in contempt


The U.S. District Court for the NMI Bankruptcy Division has issued a no-contempt ruling against a former owner of a security agency and his wife that a bank would like to be included as a party in connection with a defamation lawsuit.

At a show-cause hearing last week, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered debtors couple Joaquin V. Deleon Guerrero and Esther A. Deleon Guerrero to follow through with the additional documents requested by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case trustee, Mark Heath.

As this developed, Manglona also ordered trustee Heath to respond yesterday to Bank of Hawaii’s motion for lift the automatic stay of the proceedings in the bankruptcy petition filed by Joaquin and Esther Deleon Guerrero.

In Heath’s motion to hold the Deleon Guerrero couple in contempt, lawyer Rene Holmes informed the court last week that there were some outstanding matters and that they had asked for all of the bank records of the couple for the past 10 years.

According to the minutes of the hearing, Holmes provided a little background from when the Commonwealth Development Authority sent out subpoenas in the Superior Court action and that Bank of Guam indicated there were three personal accounts there and they only gave one BOG account.

Timothy Bellas, counsel for the Deleon Guerrero couple, stated the money they were talking about, the $296,000, actually belonged to Frances Deleon Guerrero Naraja and Margaret Santos.

Frances Deleon Guerrero is the wife of Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja. She has filed a defamation lawsuit against BOH.

Bellas also stated that when they originally responded to the subpoena, they provided 568 pages of documents and that last week they provided an additional 46 pages, which Joaquin Deleon Guerrero went out and got the most current statements to bring up his BOG account to the month of September.

Bellas said there were documents that were destroyed during Typhoon Soudelor.

Bellas called the Deleon Guerrero couple to the witness stand.

After the couple’s testimony, Manglona stated she was inclined to enter a finding that there was no disregard to their subpoena to answer any of these requests.

Manglona noted there seems to be some reasonable interpretations and arguments.

Holmes said she was not actually arguing that there should be a finding of willful violation at this time and her only point was that Joaquin Deleon Guerrero was conceding that he didn’t provide the savings account information from BOG and he was going back to do that.

Bellas stated that Margaret Santos was in the courtroom and that she provided some information regarding paying off her mother’s debt to CDA with the funds that were in dispute.

Holmes said she needed some time.

BOH has filed a motion to lift the stay in the bankruptcy action so that it can sue Joaquin Deleon Guerrero and intends to join him as an additional third-party defendant once it obtains such approval.

Joaquin Deleon Guerrero is asking the Bankruptcy Court to deny BOH’s motion to lift the automatic stay of his and his wife’s bankruptcy petition in order to allow the bank to proceed with its third-party claim against him in connection with his sister’s defamation lawsuit against the bank.

Joaquin Deleon Guerrero, through Bellas, asserted that there is prejudice to both him and the estate of his late father, former governor Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, by lifting the stay in his (Joaquin’s) bankruptcy case.

Bellas said Joaquin would be required to incur the additional expense of litigating a suit that involves an asset to which he does not have a personal interest in.

Joaquin is the brother of Frances DLG Naraja, who is suing BOH for defamation for allegedly refusing to honor the eight cashier’s checks amounting to $290,000 that she had purchased in 2016, but then telling all the other banks on Saipan that she had improperly secured the cashier’s checks. Frances Naraja is the wife of Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja.

Mrs. Naraja asked the Superior Court to order for the return of $290,000, represented by the cashier’s checks, with interest. She also sought damages.

BOH also filed a counterclaim against Mrs. Naraja and third-party claims against Gloria DLG. Sablan, CDA, and the Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero Family Trust.

Sablan is Mrs. Naraja’s sister.

Frink moved the court to require Mrs. Naraja and Mrs. Sablan to reimburse BOH for its costs in analyzing and defending itself against the lawsuit.

Obet Aguilar

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