A group of investors filed an Article 12 lawsuit against Anaks Ocean View Hill Saipan Homeowners’ Association Ltd. and the Manuel S. and Luise P. Villagomez family trust.
Anaks Investors LLC, through Daniel T. Guidotti, asked the Superior Court to declare that the lease of land where Anaks is located is void because it violates Article 12.
Article 12 Section 1 of the CNMI Constitution restricts land ownership in the CNMI to “persons of Northern Marianas Descent.”
As this developed, Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja heard yesterday a motion to stop the Villagomez family trust from transferring lot EA 129-R1 to the Anaks Ocean View Hill Saipan Homeowners’ Association Ltd. or any third party pending a court’s decision that resolves the lawsuit.
After hearing the motion, Naraja extended the temporary restraining order until he issues his decision on the preliminary injunction. Last Dec. 13, Naraja granted Anaks Investors LLC’s application for a TRO.
Guidotti said that, according to section 26 of the land lease, the Anaks homeowners association has a right of first refusal to any offer made to the Villagomez family trust by any third party that wants to purchase the reversionary interest in the lot.
Guidotti wants the court to stop the homeowners association and the trust from consummating any transaction premised on the lease’s section 26 right of first refusal.
The homeowners association currently maintains and operates the Anaks units.
The Villagomez family trust is the current owner of the reversionary interest of lot EA 129-R1.
The homeowners association, through counsel Jennifer Dockter, has moved the court to dismiss the lawsuit. Dockter said that Anaks Investors LLC wishes to purchase a fee simple interest in real property and wants the court to help it accomplish that goal.
Dockter said the court cannot grant Anaks Investors LLC the relief it requests because the company cannot hold long term interests in real property in the CNMI.
Dockter said there is no case or controversy among Anaks Investors LLC, HOA, and the trust.
As such, she pointed out, Anaks Investors LLC has no standing to contest the ground lease.
Dockter said Anaks Investors LLC cannot bring a claim based on Article 12 because the Commonwealth law limits Article 12 actions to parties that had possession or interest in real property in which they seek to “reclaim” and plaintiff has nothing to “reclaim.”
Dockter said even if Anaks Investors LLC could bring a cause of action under Article 12, the claim is time-barred and plaintiff failed to plead facts that establish an exception to the statute of limitations.