By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Judge Joseph Norita Camacho was paid $90,000 in casino money to compensate him for a land deal with the law firm of O'Connor, Berman, Dotts, & Banes. Attorney Michael Dotts's transactions with Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury late last year.
Mr. Dotts is named with 29 others in the subpoena list now dubbed the Dirty 30.
The entry on the vendor ledger indicates that the $90,000 payment only is the first of several in a 20-year period. It was entered on October 28, 2015 in a list of vendors with the Commonwealth Casino Commission. The initial $90,000 was the amount for closing costs of a 20-year land lease from Mr. Camacho.
Mr. Camacho is married to Viola Alepuyo, the casino's vice president of legal affairs. Ms. Alepuyo is third on the Dirty 30 list.
Land transactions are at the center of the federal grand jury subpoena and are thought to be the conduit through which local money laundering is accomplished.
Aside from the conflict of interest that exists because of Mr. Camacho's marriage to Ms. Alepuyo, he is a trial court judge bound by a code of conduct and ethics that prohibits business dealings that conflict with his duties.
Mr. Camacho has presided over several trials involving the casino industry, including a taxpayer lawsuit against the Rota casino in 2014. He also has presided over several trials involving land disputes.
Mr. Camacho's ties to the casino and the embattled Torres administration run deeper than his marriage, though. His eldest brother is census boss and former Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Management Services Clyde Norita. Mr. Norita last year received a large illegal overtime payment in the amount of $26,890.14. Their younger brother is Anthony Camacho, the director of technical services at the Department of Public Works under the Torres administration. The younger Camacho also was paid illegally in overtime to the tune of $25,212.13.
Mr. Camacho's first cousin is Serafin Camacho, who was involved in a massive $4 million land transaction with the casino and whose son, Congressman Joel Camacho, is the head of the legislative committee with oversight of the Commonwealth's courts. Serafin Camacho also is listed in the Dirty 30.