Tinian lawmakers back mayor in ongoing lawsuit


Members of the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation approved Tuesday a resolution to support Tinian Mayor Joey San Nicolas as he faces a lawsuit filed by the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission.

“I have been sued for following the law,” said San Nicolas after the delegation’s session.

Sens. Francisco Borja (Ind-Tinian), Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), and Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian) and Rep. Edwin P. Aldan (Ind-Tinian) voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

San Nicolas was sued in March for allegedly refusing to pay the salaries of Tinian casino commission executive director Lucia L. Blanco-Maratita and commission inspector Lisa-Marie B. Aguon.

The commission, which increased the salaries of the two executives in December, alleges that Maratita, Aguon, and the other affected commission employees were paid only the amounts set forth for them in the Budget Act.

Tinian municipal treasurer Charlene M. Lizama was also named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit.

Tinian Local Ordinance 18-3 set 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 casino commission, Tinian Municipal Treasury, and the Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan for fiscal 2015.

In the lawsuit, the casino commission, 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.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at joel_pinaroc@saipantribune.com.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.