Tinian Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas is merely following what was written in a local law.
This was the assessment of Senators Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian), when asked to comment on the lawsuit filed against San Nicolas filed by the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission on Tuesday.
The lawmakers said the Tinian mayor “was just following what was written in the law.”
Hofschneider and Cruz are apparently referring to Tinian Local Ordinance 18-3 determining Tinian’s municipal budget for 2015.
Cruz said San Nicolas was just following “what we [the Tinian Legislative Delegation] passed.” The law was passed in 2014.
Hofschneider and Cruz, along with Sen. Francisco Borja (Ind-Tinian), and Rep. Edwin P. Aldan (Ind-Tinian) make up the Tinian Legislative Delegation.
San Nicolas is currently being sued for allegedly refusing to pay the salaries of TCGCC executive director Lucia L. Blanco-Maratita and commission inspector Lisa-Marie B. Aguon, which the commission increased in December.
Tinian municipal treasurer Charlene M. Lizama was also named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit.
Tinian Local Ordinance 18-3 determines a $4.281-million municipal budget from Tinian’s casino industry revenue for fiscal year 2015
Some of the provisions of the law fund the personnel and operations of the TCGCC, Tinian Municipal Treasury, and the Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan for fiscal 2015.
In the lawsuit, the TCGCC, Blanco-Maratita, and Aguon alleged that beginning with the fourth pay period for fiscal year 2015, acting on San Nicolas’ instructions, Lizama refused to issue paychecks to them and other affected employees in the amounts certified by the commission.
They alleged that other affected commission employees were also paid only the amounts set forth for them in the Budget Act. They asked the Superior Court to compel San Nicolas and Lizama to remit the full salaries of affected employees.
The complainants also asked the court to invalidate three Tinian local laws that were enacted by the Tinian Legislative Delegation since 2004 that reportedly infringe on the powers of the commission.