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House minority bloc shares more receipts with House panel

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DURING the House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures meeting last week, members of the House minority bloc presented more receipts of expenditures incurred by the administration.

These include:

  • $28.76 to Hard Rock Café Saipan
  • $54.39 to Himawari Saipan Inc.
  • $64.96 to Pizza Hut
  • $100.80 to The Grill at LaoLao Bay Golf & Resort
  • $136 to Kinpachi Restaurant
  • $160.75 to Majesty Chinese Restaurant
  • $172.45 to Joeten Susupe Shopping Center
  • $196 to Nam Dae Moon Restaurant
  • $209.92 to Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.
  • At least $238.09 to Hyatt Regency Resort Guam
  • $240 to Costa Restaurant
  • $281.60 to Mai Teppanyaki at Fiesta Resort & Spa
  • $288 for fireworks from an unidentified local supermarket
  • $294 to Costa Restaurant
  • $298 to MEGAbyte Computer Services and Sales Center in Guam
  • $442 to Kevin’s Prime Rib & Seafood
  • $922.99 to Grand Hyatt Washington
  • At least $2,055.20 to Mobil

The Mobil expenditures were for fuel and various items, charged to multiple different cards on various dates.

The Joeten Susupe Shopping Center expenditure was for 14 magnet plastic coasters, a metal money clip, two metal compact mirrors, and 14 metal business card holders, charged to first lady Diann T. Torres’ Visa card on June 17, 2016.

The Majesty Chinese Restaurant expenditure was for various food and beverage items for Governor Torres, Trent Conner, Rem Diaz, a woman identified as “Jacklynn,” an individual identified as “Sam,” as well as unidentified “investors,” charged to a Visa card on Jan. 3, 2017.

The Pizza Hut expenditure was for various food items for an Office of the Governor staff meeting, charged to a Mastercard on March 29, 2017.

The Grand Hyatt Washington expenditure was for a room with two double beds from Feb. 4 to Feb. 8, 2018, charged to a Visa card.

The Hyatt Regency Resort Guam expenditure was for a room from March 26 to March 27, 2018, charged to an American Express card, as well as for a meal with investors on May 1, 2017 also charged to an American Express card.

It also includes meals for the chief executive and members of the CNMI Rugby Team.

 The  House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures convenes in the House chamber last week. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

The Grill at LaoLao Bay Golf & Resort expenditure was for four lunch buffet meals, charged to a Visa card  on Sept. 26, 2018.

The Mai Teppanyaki at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan expenditure was for various food and beverage items for a meeting with Black Micro representatives on Feb. 7, 2019, paid in cash.

The Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C. expenditure was for various food and beverage items on Feb. 20, 2019, charged to an unidentified card.

The Hard Rock Café Saipan expenditure was for a meeting with Shell representatives on Feb. 27, 2019. It is unclear how this meal was paid for.

The $294 Costa Restaurant expenditure was for 15 lunch buffet meals for a meeting with Taiwan Adventist Hospital representatives on March 4, 2019, charged to a Visa card.

The Kinpachi Restaurant expenditure was for various food and beverage items on March 7, 2019 for a meeting with Jack Manglona, the Senate president, Erin Camacho, and Juan Camacho, paid in cash.

In an email to House Minority Leader Edwin Propst, Erin Camacho explained that she had taken her father, Juan Camacho, to Kinpachi Restaurant on March 7, 2019 to celebrate her father’s birthday.

She said she and her father saw the governor at his table, greeted him, and then proceeded to their own table, a separate table.

“When it came time to pay, I found out that the governor paid for our bill. Their table left before we were done, so I assumed he paid for it with personal funds,” said Ms. Camacho.

The Kevin’s Prime Rib & Seafood expenditure was for various food and beverage items on March 7, 2019 for a meeting with an individual identified as “Ed Mun.” It is unclear how this was paid for.

Rep. Edmund Villagomez, a member of the House minority bloc, said he was not this individual who met with the governor.

The Nam Dae Moon Restaurant expenditure was for various food and beverage items for a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget regarding budget issues on March 11, 2019. It is unclear how this meal was paid for.

During the special committee discussion, it was noted that the OMB and the governor’s office are in the same building.

The $240 Costa Restaurant expenditure was for 12 lunch buffets for a meeting with senators on March 12, 2019, charged to a Visa card.

The Himawari Saipan, Inc. expenditure was for various food and beverage items on March 21, 2019 for a meeting with the representatives and the president of Skymark Airlines, paid with cash.

The MEGAbyte Computer Services and Sales Center in Guam expenditure was for an HP #312A black toner cartridge, charged to an American Express card on March 28, 2019.

On April 9, 2019, Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios submitted a reimbursement for official representation and debit business unit number 1011 for Gov. Torres for the Fiesta Resort & Spa, Hard Rock Cafe, Costa Restaurant, Nam Dae Moon Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Resort, Marriott Marquis Washington DC, Kevin’s Prime Rib and Seafood, Kinpachi Restaurant, Himawari Saipan Inc, Pizza Hut, and MEGAbyte expenditures.

The request was received by the secretary of Finance on April 11, 2019, and approved for payment on April 12, 2019.

CNMI law states that all official representation expenditures and other governmental expenses must be for a public purpose.

These expenditures are currently under review for compliance with CNMI law, specifically Title 70, which details the procedure for official representation and justification documentation.

By law, official representation expenses must, at a minimum, include the name and position of persons entertained; nature and purpose of the expense and its direct relationship to CNMI government business; description of matters discussed; and original receipts and supporting documents.

Personal or political expenditures that are not allowable by law include personal items such as food or clothing; personal membership fees; contributions in cash or donation of any tangible or intangible item or product to any person; travel expenditures of individuals for medical treatment, including, but not limited to, airline tickets, hotel accommodations, gifts, meals and related expenses; expenses for private individual’s utility: water, gas, telephone, and similar payments; expenses for sponsorship of CNMI sports teams; expenses for fundraising activities for private individuals; and any expenditures associated with political campaign functions.

Chaired by Rep. Ralph Yumul, the bipartisan special committee counts among its members Vice Speaker Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan, House Minority Leader Edwin Propst, Reps. Luis John Castro, Donald Manglona, Tina Sablan, and Edmund Villagomez.

The alternate members are Reps. Ivan Blanco and Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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