Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sen. Jim Espaldon: “I know I didn't do anything unethical”

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Senator Espaldon maintains that he and his former chief of staff's involvement in a controversial, multi-million dollar utility contract in the CNMI are “definitely overblown.” 

Guam - The backlash following allegations of ethical misconduct against Senator Jim Espaldon has caused quite a stir, but the Republican lawmaker tells PNC that he's not worried about the truth coming out.

Senator Espaldon maintains that he and his former chief of staff's involvement in a controversial, multi-million dollar utility contract in the CNMI are “definitely overblown.” Although the senator says the accusations have no merit, he still went down to the ethics prosecutor of the Guam Bar this morning to provide his take on the matter.

"In the whole story about the CUC, I was there as a negotiator, not as an attorney, nor did I give any legal advice. I gave my opinions. I always disclosed that I cannot give any legal advice and in this case, I don't have any clients because my (attorney) license is inactive. I have voluntarily put it on the inactive list for the past two years," he said. 

The senator said he learned of the allegations when the news broke in Saipan.

"Well, I found out once it broke in the news over there. I guess somebody leaked information that one of the officers in the company that was involved in negotiations Mr. Roberto was named in the incorporating papers. I did not know that until it broke in the press,” he said.

The senator says this was an "emergency procurement” for the CNMI and his role as lead negotiator was to inevitably prevent rolling blackouts with the addition of a megawatt generator. Espaldon admits that the backlash from the allegations has drawn the attention of the OPA in the CNMI where an ongoing investigation on the matter has been opened. But this hasn't deterred the senator.

“I don't have any concerns because I know I didn't do anything unethical nor have I done anything illegal. I'm not worried about the truth and the truth is I don't hold myself as giving legal advice as a private citizen, because I know I can't. As to whether or not I had a conflict in the CNMI, I don't believe I had. Do I have an ethical violation? No. I examined that very carefully,” he said.

Espaldon says as of this morning he hasn't heard of any formal complaints filed against him. 

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