Guam – District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood has, for the most part, rejected the Governor’s request to substitute the Cabot-Mantanona law firm for the Attorney General in the solid waste receiver case.
The Judge said she would only permit the Cabot-Mantanona law firm to address her Court “for the limited purpose” of representing “the Government of Guam with regard to the issues raised in the Former Landowners’ Motion to Intervene” however “for all other purposes, the Attorney General shall remain counsel of record for the Government of Guam.”
The Governor’s Office and the Attorney General are at odds over the compensation to be awarded to the former owners of the land around the Layon landfill.
The Administration re-filed an Amended Substitution of Counsel claiming a conflict of interest between the court-appointed receiver GBB, and the Governor’s Office. The Administration claims GBB and the Office of the Governor “disagree … over the mechanism for payment of the Judgment and the $25 million just compensation award” to the former land-owners at Layon.
As a result, the Administration argues, the “disagreement between the Receiver and the Office of the Governor … precludes … the Attorney General from continuing to represent the Office of the Governor in this matter.”
“This is simply incorrect,” states Judge Tydingco-Gatewood in her order, pointing out that GBB was never a client of the Guam Attorney General. “The Government of Guam, not the Receiver, exercised its eminent domain authority and initiated the Layon Condemnation Case.”
In a strongly worded conclusion rejecting the Adminstration’s attempt to un-seat the AG from the Layon case, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood pointed out that the Attorney General has “valuable institutional knowledge” having represented the Government of Guam for more than nine years. She writes that the Guam AG “is intimately aware of the various issues in this multi-faceted case.”
And she concludes by declaring that:
“With the opening of the Layon Landfill and the final design plans for the closure of the Ordot Dump awaiting approval, the finish line is in sight. There will soon be an end to an era of non-compliance by the Government of Guam. The court is preparing to end the federal receivership and hand control over the Solid Waste Management Authority to the Board. The court and the public will not tolerate any derailment or delay to this progress.”