DPL sues; leased public land allegedly rented out to families


The Department of Public Lands is suing a company and its owner for allegedly breaching a settlement agreement by, among other things, renting out a leased public land in Chalan Kanoa to several families.

DPL, through assistant attorney general Matthew J. Pugh, is suing M.D.A. Enterprises and its president, Mohammed Abul Bashar.

DPL asked the Superior Court to hold M.D.A. Enterprises and Bashar liable to pay damages for unpaid rent owed DPL.

DPL is also demanding payment for attorneys’ fees and court costs.

DPL wants M.D.A. Enterprises and Bashar and all other occupying the public land to vacate the premises and remove all personal property.

As of press time, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from Bashar’s lawyer.

According to Pugh in the complaint, DPL issued an encroachment notice to Antonetta Rios-Bashar last June 4, 2007, for using and renting out encroaching structures on public lands. DPL issued a final notice to vacate to Antonetta Rios-Bashar on July 23, 2007.

Bashar then applied to lease portions of a land in Chalan Kanoa, but the application was incomplete.

On Dec. 21, 2011, DPL gave M.D.A. Enterprises conditional approval to lease the Chalan Kanoa land on the condition that the application deficiencies be cured within 60 days.

In line with this, DPL gave M.D.A. Enterprises temporary authorization over the lot, with restrictions such as prohibition against residing on the premises and conducting commercial activities there and a requirement to obtain liability insurance.

On March 7, 2013, DPL gave defendants additional 90-day extension to come into compliance, but they allegedly did not comply.

In 2016, DPL sued defendants. M.D.A. also sued DPL and various DPL officials, requesting injunctive relief related to the company’s use of public lands.

In September 2016, DPL and M.D.A. and Bashar entered into a settlement, settling both cases.

The settlement required, among other things, for M.D.A. to pay the government $10,000.

M.D.A. paid the amount.

Pugh said M.D.A. has made payments to DPL totaling $3,765 toward the promissory note.

DPL provided M.D.A. with written notice of missed payments, but the company is allegedly in default on the promissory note and the entire unpaid balance is due.

M.D.A. has made rent payments to DPL totaling $2,383. The company allegedly attempted to make a rent payment of $1,380, but the check was returned for insufficient funds.

Last October, DPL issued a notice to vacate the land to M.D.A. and Bashar.

Last Nov. 7, DPL staff inspected the site to determine if M.D.A. had vacated the premises.

Pugh said M.D.A. and Bashar were renting out the premises as housing for about 17 tenants.

Last Dec. 15, DPL secured the premises by installing locks and blocking access to the buildings. Later in the day, Pugh said, Bashar went to DPL and provided a check for $10,000.

The check, however, had been returned for insufficient funds.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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