April 10, 2000
Ex-Tinian mayor pleads guilty
Former Tinian mayor James Masga Mendiola on Friday pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in connection with cattle rustling in his island municipality just three days before a second jury trial was to resume on the case. He entered into a plea agreement with federal government prosecutors on a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to conceal goods within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. This carries lighter penalties than the felony offense contained in the indictment filed with the federal court in November, which was tried last February. The trial ended in hang jury after the jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
NMIRF told to recover $127K
The Public Auditor is pressing for the recovery of close to $127,000 worth of improper retirement payments made to two former officials of the Commonwealth Ports Authority who allegedly inflate their leave and compensatory time credits to receive higher pension. OPA went even further by suggesting that the matter be referred to the Attorney General’s Office should the NMI Retirement Fund encounter problems in the recovery of the $126,730.06 in retirement benefits improperly paid to the two former CPA officials. Public Auditor Leo LaMotte asked the Fund to discontinue payments to former CPA Security Chief Joseph A. Reyes, after investigations proved that he is not qualified to receive early retirement benefits.
April 10, 2001
Senate action on 3-year limit law dismays Chamber
Saipan Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Pellegrino yesterday criticized the double-dealing nature of some senators when they voted for the passage of Senate Bill 12-108 last week. SB 12-108 seeks a two-year moratorium on the three-year limit law, while a body made up of members from the public and private sector study its impact on the CNMI economy and community. Pellegrino revealed that four senators assured him they would vote for an outright repeal of Public Law 11-69 days before their Thursday verdict. But the legislators reportedly backtracked on their promises.
Power shortage looms
Overall efforts by the CNMI government to lure more investors in the Northern Marianas could be in vain due to a looming power shortage caused by the virtually shelved 60 megawatt power plant project on Saipan. Government officials raised this alarm yesterday after reports claimed Enron has decided to pullout from the multi-million project which would have paved the road for a new 60-MW power plant on Saipan. Due to the possible delay in the construction of the power grid, foreign and local investors wishing to put up businesses here are faced with higher costs since they will have to put up their own power source.
April 10, 2005
Another marijuana plantation raided
Authorities raided another marijuana plantation in Koblerville and seized some 270 full-grown plants Saturday morning, days after conducting a similar raid in Kagman II. Elements of the CNMI-Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force scored a bigger seizure in Saturday’s raid, with the Department of Public Safety estimating the value of the plants at $200,000. Operatives conducted the raid based on information received by the Crime Stoppers, according to DPS spokesman Eric David. The marijuana plantation belongs to a Koblerville resident, whom police did not identify as of press time. The raid followed another operation in Kagman II last Wednesday, where task force members, including those from the DPS’ Special Investigation Section, seized some 64 marijuana plants.
Alien worker allowed to look for new job
The Department of Labor allowed an alien worker to seek a new job after finding that her prospective employer was not entitled to hire an additional nonresident worker due to financial insolvency. Labor hearing officer Jerry Cody gave Gilda P. Castardo 45 days to have a new employer submit an employment application to the Division of Labor on her behalf. The administrative order stemmed from a decision by the Labor division to deny an application earlier filed by AGSO Inc. for Gastardo. Records showed that Gastardo previously worked for Mary Hazleton as an automotive/air-conditioning technician under a work permit that expired on Sept. 9, 2004.