Creditors committee chair objects to sale of Fund property

The chairman of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors is objecting to the sale of the NMI Retirement Fund’s 886-square-meter property in San Vicente for $125,000.

Mariano Taitano also questioned why the committee’s counsel recently informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI’s Bankruptcy Division that the committee has no objection to the sale.

Don Jeffrey Gelber, the Hawaii-based counsel for the committee, disclosed Taitano’s objection to the court yesterday.

With Taitano’s objection, Gelber asked the court to disregard the committee’s response and deem it unfiled or withdrawn.

Gelber also asked the court take corrective action, if any, respecting its order approving the sale of the property as the court considers appropriate.

Last week, Gelber informed the court that they have no objection to the Fund’s request for authority to sell the property. Gelber did not cite any reason why the committee does not object to the request.

Except for Florida-based lawyer Mary Flanagan, no other party has questioned the Fund’s request to approve the sale.

Jeremy B. Coffey, the Fund’s Boston-based counsel, told the court last month that the Fund believes that selling the property is in the best interest of the estate and its creditors because the sale proceeds will increase the estate’s cash assets to the benefit of all creditors, and divest a non-core asset.

Coffey said the Fund has agreed to sell the property to James H. Arriola.

With no objection, U.S. District Court for the NMI Bankruptcy Division designated judge Robert J. Faris on Monday issued an order approving the sale.

But yesterday, Gelber said that Taitano alleges that he “objected to the sale of the property in any shape or form.”

Gelber said Taitano contends that the committee’s response should not have been filed and that Taitano has reported his complaint to the Office of the U.S. Trustee.

The lawyer did not mention the reasons cited by Taitano in objecting to the sale.

By Ferdie de la Torre

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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