Govendo: 2009 ruling in Fund lawsuit was final judgment

Posted on Jun 30 2011

Superior Court associate judge Kenneth L. Govendo stated that the ruling he issued in 2009 about how much the CNMI government owes the NMI Retirement Fund was a final judgment.

In a status hearing Wednesday, Govendo said he keeps hearing statements that because the Fund’s lawsuit against the administration was decided by default, there is no final judgment.

“That is ridiculous; a final judgment was issued on June 29, 2009,” Govendo said.

In that judgment, Govendo ruled that the CNMI government owes the Fund $231.6 million in damages and that the law suspending government contributions to the Fund is unconstitutional. As of February 2011, the government’s debt has reportedly grown to $317 million.

The judge pointed out that status hearings are to push for results and to hear progress reports.

Assistant attorney general Meaghan Hassel-Shearer, counsel for the government, asked the court to include language in its order that the June 29, 2009, order was a final judgment and the Fund can file a writ of execution to attach government property.

Govendo granted the request and directed Fund counsel Viola Alepuyo to include that language in the draft order for him to sign.

Govendo also agreed to include in the order language that the government must provide the Fund a list of assets that might be given to the Fund in partial payment of what is owed.

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