By Jacob Nakamura
(Hagatna, Guam) The company building the underground and trans-Pacific data cables from Piti to Japan told federal regulators they had site control of two properties they didn't even have a lease to by the date of its application for a cable construction license.
In a November 5, 2018 application to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, RTI Solutions, which is a Guam corporation owned 51 percent by Asia Connectivity Elements Pte. Ltd. and 49 percent owned by Teleguam Holdings, LLC (GTA), RTI President Brett Eay certified that his company had a lease and control over the site of its cable construction landing station - the property of the old basketball court across the Piti Catholic Church.
That was a lie on November 5, 2018, and GTA knew it. At that time, Piti Mayor Jesse Alig and his Piti Municipal Planning Council were in negotiations with GTA for that lease, according to Guam Legislature Bill No. 370-34, introduced by former Sen. Tom Ada. The reason Mr. Ada had to introduce a bill is because, under Guam's laws, no lease between the government and another entity can be made for longer than five years without legislative approval.
On November 5, 2018, the Municipality of Piti had administrative oversight of the basketball property that RTI certified to the FCC was theirs. It wasn't until November 13, 2018, when Mr. Ada started the process of having the Piti-RTI/GTA lease approved by introducing Bill No. 370 that day. The approval didn't happen until the bill became law, with former Gov. Eddie Calvo's signature on December 21, 2018 - 46 days after RTI certified to the FCC that the company had site control.
Lying to the FCC is a big deal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in RKO General Inc v. FCC that "[T]he Commission must rely heavily on the completeness and accuracy of the submissions made to it, and its applicants in turn have an affirmative duty to inform the Commission of the facts it needs in order to fulfill its statutory mandate."
In 2011, Fox Television Stations faced fines and the revocation of its licenses, and its executives faced jail time for allegedly lying on an FCC application for renewal of licenses.
They lied about a second property
The basketball court property only is half of the site control equation in RTI/GTA's bid for an underground landing site connected to underwater fiber optic sea cables leading from Guam to Japan. In its application, RTI/GTA certified its control over easements leading across Marine Corps Drive from the basketball property to Santos Memorial Family Park then out to Apra Harbor.
But the park isn't owned by or leased to RTI/GTA, at least not yet. The property is owned by the people of Guam, held in trust by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. GTA executive vice president for governmental affairs Dan Tydingco has been coordinating the future lease of Santos Park with Piti Mayor Jesse Alig. According to June 5, 2019 meeting minutes of the Guam Economic Development Authority board of directors, Mr. Alig is requesting GEDA to assist with the future leasing of this land.
According to GEDA administrator Melanie Mendiola, the proposal has reached GEDA because it already has cleared the Chamorro Land Trust Commission's administrative director.
No public notice of any meetings between Mr. Alig and Mr. Tydingco or any other GTA executive, nor any meetings with the CLTC has ever been issued. The public has been kept out of this process.
As it stands, no senator has introduced any bill to approve any long-term lease with RTI/GTA for the site access it told the FCC on December 5, 2018 it already had.
Of further note is the lease period granted by the Legislature and the lease period certified to the FCC. RTI/GTA told the FCC that the lease was for 50 years, in two 25-year periods (the second being the option to renew). The Legislature, however, only approved a 40-year lease in two 20-year periods.