Lujan says he repaid $2M to Hillbroom’s trust

Guam lawyer said he never used his position of trust to take advantage of Hillbroom’s grandma

Guam lawyer David J. Lujan claimed that he repaid $2,003,779 to the Trust of his former client, Junior Larry Hillbroom, who filed a frivolous lawsuit against him.

In his declaration, Lujan said he reviewed the accounting documents that Roger Slater created at Hillbroom and Keith Waibel’s instruction when they were scheming to file the frivolous lawsuit.

Slater was hired by Waibel to analyze distributions and fee amounts in the Junior Larry Hillbroom Trust.

Waibel used to be the trustee of JLH. Waibel, along with Vietnam-based lawyer Barry J. Israel, was also named co-defendant in Hillbroom’s lawsuit.

Lujan said that Slater’s accounting documents do not include the $2,003,779 that he repaid to the JLH Trust. He presumed this is because Hillbroom and Waibel never told Slater of this and did not provide Slater with the documentation showing this repayment.

Lujan apparently repaid the $2.0 million in fees as a result of an indemnification agreement. He did not discuss details about the indemnification agreement.

Lujan’s declaration was filed before the U.S. District Court for the NMI last week in support of Israel’s motion to dismiss Hillbroom’s lawsuit for lack of federal jurisdiction.

In the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Israel said that even under Slater’s admitted faulty analysis, he (Israel) and Lujan actually received $29.33 million or 41 percent of the total distributed to JLH Trust through October 2002—not 56 percent.

Israel said this conclusively demonstrates that no retroactive payments were ever made and that he and Lujan received far less than the alleged back-dated 56 percent claimed in Hillbroom’s lawsuit.

In his declaration, Lujan said at no time did he ever exert any influence over Naoko Imeong, the grandmother and guardian of Hillbroom.

Lujan said Imeong was the fiercely independent and strong-willed matriarch of her family.

As counsel of Imeong in her role as guardian for Hillbroom, Lujan said he provided her advice and counsel. He said he was certainly a resource for her from whom she sought counsel for Hillbroom and her family.

“However, I never used my position of trust to influence or take advantage of Naoko,” said Lujan, adding that she would accept his counsel and also challenge his recommendations and make decision without any advice.

Lujan said he prepared the joinder by Imeong as co-guardian of Hillbroom that he submitted with the ex-parte application to approve amended retainer fee agreement to the Guam Guardianship Court.

Ex-parte application refers to a request to the court by one of the parties to the action without the other party being present or heard.

Lujan said that prior to Imeong signing the joinder, he met with her to discuss the 56 percent retainer and her joinder. Lujan said he went over the 56 percent retainer and her joinder with her to her satisfaction. He said Imeong “willingly and voluntarily agreed her joinder in his presence.”

Had Imeong refused to sign her joinder, that would have been the last word, Lujan said, as he did not have the ability to force, coerce, or influence her to do so.

Lujan said he knows of no instance where undue influence was imposed upon Imeong to force or coerce her decision-making for Hillbroom as his grandmother and guardian, and trust protector, and for her family.

Rather, Lujan said, Imeong, as the matriarchal leader of Hillbroom’s family, would dictate what Hillbroom and the family needed with regard to finances.

Lujan said funds from Hillbroom’s inheritance were not used to influence Imeong, but rather any funds from Hillbroom’s inheritance that were provided by Imeong and her husband Marciano were done so at Imeong’s specific request and approval by the Guam Guardianship Court.

Lujan resigned as co-counsel for the JLH Trust and its trustee in the first half of 2002.

Although Waibel attempted to implicate him in the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office into corruption in Guam, Lujan said he was never indicted or charged with any wrongdoing.

In 2009, Lujan said, he filed a lawsuit in the Guam Superior Court against Hillbroom and Waibel for their failure to pay attorneys’ fees due and owing to him in his representation of JLH Trust.

Lujan said that during this litigation, he obtained, through discovery, the bank records for the JLH Trust’s bank account at First Hawaiian Bank.

In 2009, Hillbroom sued Lujan and Israel for allegedly conspiring with Waibel to inflate their contingency fee when the fortune of the late DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom was still undergoing probate proceedings in the Superior Court. Lujan and Israel denied the allegations.

The trial is set for this November.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom.

Hillblom died in a seaplane crash off Anatahan waters on May 21, 1995. His body was never recovered.

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
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