Ex-bank manager: He only learned about late Saipan mayor’s TCD when lawsuit was filed


A retired branch manager of the former Union Bank on Saipan and First Hawaiian Bank does not remember the late Saipan mayor Donald G. Flores buying a time certificate of deposit from Union Bank in 1993 and only learned about the matter when he and others were sued about the TCD.

Ken Kato, who took the witness stand yesterday in the lawsuit filed by Derron Gerard Flores over his late father’s claim for his $200,000 TCD, was the manager of Union Bank in 1993.

Kato, who was called to the stand as the first witness of Juan T. Lizama, counsel for Flores, testified that he did not recall the late mayor buying the TCD.

He also does not remember former Union Bank employee Lourdes S. Deleon Guerrero coming to him in 1999 to talk about Donald Flores’ TCD.

When handed a copy of a receipt of Donald Flores’ TCD, Kato said it’s a very short period TCD, for 32 days with a maturity date of Oct. 12, 1993.

Kato said if a customer lost a copy of his TCD, the bank can just match the customer’s indemnity bond’s card with the customer’s signature card in the bank.

Normally, once a TCD matures, they try to contact the customer by phone or mail, he said. Unclaimed TCDs go to matured TCD accounts.

He said the CNMI recently passed a law stating that, in the case of TCD accounts that have matured and remain unclaimed after a certain number of years, the money will go to the CNMI government. Kato said there was no such law before.

He said matured TCDs are placed in a bank’s vault. After maturity, TCDs do not earn interest.

Kato also stated that he and former Union Bank employee Victoria B. Concepcion never discussed Donald Flores’ TCD.

Kato said that in 1993 there was no online banking system, but the bank had computer records and duplicate records for TCDs stored in a vault.

If a TCD is cashed, the computer record in the bank is gone, Kato said.

Kato said he has no knowledge if Donald signed an indemnity bond.

After Kato’s testimony, a staff of Lizama’s law office and Lizama read Donald Flores’ deposition. Deposition refers to the taking of testimony of a witness outside of court.

When Saipan Tribune left the courtroom, Kato was still on the witness stand.

The jury trial will resume today, Wednesday, in the U.S. District Court for the NMI. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona is presiding over the trial.

Attorney Sean Frink is counsel for MUFG Union Bank.

Flores is claiming damages and interest in the total of $200,438 from MUFG Union Bank over his father’s alleged $200,000 TCD. He also seeks prejudgment interest.

Donald filed the lawsuit against the bank in 2011. When he died in June 2014, his wife, Cecilia, was appointed administratrix of his estate. Cecilia, however, died in September 2015. Their son, Derron Flores, continued the lawsuit as administrator of Donald Flores’ estate.

The lawsuit seeks to collect from MUFG Union Bank the principal and interest on the $200,000, 32-day TCD 24 years after Donald took it out at Union Bank in 1993.

Flores claimed damages for the $200,000 TCD principal, plus $438.06 for the 2.5 percent interest on the principal for the 32-day time period, for a total of $200,438.

Union Bank is not seeking any damages.

Manglona recently ruled that Flores may seek prejudgment interest on any damages that may be awarded in the jury trial.

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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