Manglona objects to ‘unreasonable’ attorney’s fees incurred by siblings



Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) is objecting to the $70,000 in attorney’s fees allegedly incurred by his siblings who are co-administrators of the estate of their late mother.

Manglona, through counsel Mark Scoggins, said he filed last Aug. 3 written objections to the estate co-administrators’ attorney’s fees on several basis.

Priscilla Manglona Torres and Thomas A. Manglona are co-administrators of the Bernadita A. Manglona estate.

Scoggins said many or if not all of the reasons for the prior objections remain, and Sen. Manglona reiterates his prior objections.

Scoggins said it remains the case that the requested fees are unreasonable.

Scoggins said the requested fees should be viewed skeptically by the Superior Court due to counsel’s admitted practice and propensity not to track his time and submit regular billings to the co-administrators.

Scoggins said similarly and relatedly, the co-administrators have breached their duty to the estate by failing to regularly monitor their counsel’s activity and billings.

Scoggins said if the co-administrators believe it reasonable to allow their counsel to go for months and months without preparing and submitting a bill, and if they also believe it acceptable for themselves to only review those billings when it is time to request a payment, then the co-administrators should pay these fees themselves.

Scoggins said it is not reasonable to expect that the estate pay close to $70,000 in attorney’s fees, and this on top of the excessive fees already allowed, under the circumstances described in this and the prior objection.

The co-administrators, through counsel Samuel I. Mok, filed an accounting of estate funds last Saturday.

Mok said a total of $91,098 in cash was received in to the estate court trust account from the commencement of this probate to last Friday consisting of stock dividends received from and deposited by Saipan Stevedore Company Inc., Saipan Shipping Company Inc, and UMDA.

Mok said a total of $56,845 was expended from the estate court trust account pursuant to court orders authorizing such expenditures including payment of estate administrative expenses and attorney’s fees, mediation fees and advancement of legal fees and anticipated expenses for separate quiet title actions.

Mok said there is presently a balance in the estate court trust account of $34,253.

Sen. Manglona is suing Torres, Thomas Manglona, and the estate over their disputed Upper Capital Hill property.

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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