CUC board OKs suit vs Yaquinto


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. would be filing a criminal case against its former chief financial officer, Matthew Yaquinto.

The CUC board, at its special meeting on Tuesday, gave the go signal for the criminal lawsuit against Yaquinto and others, based on findings made by current CFO, Antonio Castro.

The names of the others who will be sued was not disclosed. The basis for the lawsuit was also not disclosed.

CUC board member Eric San Nicolas made the motion to file a civil case. It was approved unanimously. There was also a recommendation to file a criminal case through the Attorney General’s Office against Yaquinto.

According to San Nicolas: “I would like to make a motion to ratify CUC board chair Adelina Roberto’s actions instructing CUC executive director Gary Camacho to file a civil case and to file through the Attorney General’s Office a recommended criminal case against our former CFO Matthew Yaquinto as a result of investigations brought forth by our current CFO Antonio Castro.”

San Nicolas pointed out that the decision to file a case against Yaquinto arises from an ongoing investigation and was not a “decision made spontaneously.”

“This is [a decision] made from facts and the reports submitted by the CFO’s office. It is an unfortunate fact but, despite being criticized, we have to think about [CUC], and this is one avenue. This is not an immediate reaction,” said San Nicolas.

He declined to comment when asked to clarify the allegations against Yaquinto.

San Nicolas claimed he is unable to entertain inquiries surrounding the lawsuit.

“I cannot comment on that. That [information] is still under the advisement of our legal counsel. Perhaps when we file [the case], and it becomes public record, maybe at that point is when we can provide information but as of this moment we cannot,” he said.

San Nicolas also denied that the decision was made as a counterclaim against Yaquinto and former CUC public information officer Brad Ruszala.

“I understand we are being sued, but as a [member of the] board of directors, we have to protect the interests of CUC,” he said.

Yaquinto and Ruszala filed a lawsuit last Nov. 9, 2016, against most members of the CUC board—CUC board chair Adelina C. Roberto and board members Eric C. San Nicolas, Joseph T. Torres, Ignacio L. Perez, and Albert A. Taitano—for violations of the Open Government Act, Government Ethics Code, and U.S. District for the NMI stipulated order.

Yaquinto and Ruszala alleged that CUC board members were guilty of holding closed-door meetings under the guise of “executive sessions” and abusing their positions for private financial gain for themselves and their relatives.

CUC, through legal counsel James Sirok, moved the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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