‘Negotiation on lease proposal with MPLT ongoing’

Posted on Dec 06 2011
By Moneth Deposa

Negotiations between the NMI Retirement Fund and the Marianas Public Land Trust have not stopped but a decision has yet to be reached on the issue, according to Fund board chair Sixto Igisomar yesterday. MPLT wants to occupy an office at the Fund’s building on Capital Hill.

Igisomar said that, as of yesterday, he has no information whether MPLT had cancelled that proposal with the Fund or terminated the negotiation with the party.

“I am aware that there is a discussion and I haven’t received any formal letter from the MPLT chairman stating that the proposal is no longer valid,” he said.

The board had instructed its legal counsels to work with MPLT in ironing out the details of the lease agreement before a final lease term is signed.

Saipan Tribune tried but failed to contact MPLT chair Alvaro Santos. He had earlier said that due to some “stringent conditions” in the proposed lease agreement, the MPLT board may have to revisit the plan.

According to Igisomar, the Fund is not offering a higher cost than what MPLT proposed in its lease offer. “I don’t believe that the Fund asked for more on the rates. Until we receive words from MPLT, I believe negotiation has not stopped,” said Igisomar, adding that the lease proposal will be among the items that will be discussed at the board’s next meeting.

MPLT currently holds offices at the former Commonwealth Election Commission office on Capital Hill. With the space being assigned to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency needs a new location for its office.

It was earlier disclosed that MPLT had purchased a 4,000-square meter piece of land on Capital Hill for about $200,000 in 2007 for a planned commercial building project where it will also house its office. The ensuing financial crisis resulted in the project being shelved.

MPLT is a semi-government agency that receives land lease payments on government property. These payments are invested and the earnings are remitted to the general fund. As of Sept. 30, 2011, the MPLT portfolio was valued at $71 million, all invested in fixed income instruments and equities.

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