By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios authorized Gov. Ralph Torres to spend more than $20,000 in local and federal money to travel on first- and business-class seats and spend three days in Washington, D.C. and two days in Guam from the end of February to the beginning of March this year.
The Washington leg of the trip was to attend the annual winter session of the National Governors Association. In Guam, Mr. Torres was the keynote speaker of the U.S. Navy Seabees, according to the travel authorization signed by Mr. Palacios February 4, 2019.
The airfare alone cost taxpayers $16,330. This includes a series of business and first class seats for the governor and first lady Diann Tudela Torres along every leg of their trip. Their airfare alone cost $8,165. The documents indicate that Angel Demapan, governor's chief of staff, was on the trip. The airfare of more passenger(s) clearly was authorized by this TA, though their names are not included in the documents.
While in Washington, the CNMI's first couple spent two nights at the four-star Marriott Marquis hotel at a cost to the Commonwealth of $2,149.06.
In Guam, they spent one night at the Westin Resort, costing $366.30.
They were paid a stipend of $2,284 for the nine days they purportedly were on business for the Commonwealth while off island.
The travel documents are below: