By Nancy I. Maanao
(Tumon, Guam) A reimbursement memo and receipts leaked to Kandit News Group reveal that first lady Diann Tudela Torres went on several shopping sprees on the public dime. Her husband, Gov. Ralph Torres, applied for and received reimbursements for her spending, which included receipts from her father's company, Tudela Enterprises.
Among the charges, which in total amount to $2,777.64 that the Commonwealth's taxpayers paid the Torres family, are the purchases of six dozen doughnuts from Winchell's at $66, tiki torches, a metal compact mirror for $11.95, a metal money clip (how ironic), and a $81.71 Joeten's receipt full of nothing but snacks. To be fair, it is possible that these purchases were in fact for gifts to visiting dignitaries, though the CNMI government's procurement processes were not followed, not to mention the fact that Lady D is not a government employee and has no procurement or spending authority granted to her by the Commonwealth Legislature.
Inquiring minds will be disappointed to know that the first lady does not share her husband's appetite for Cheetos. However, she very much likes nearly every flavor of Doritos, Pringles, and Cracker Jacks. She also bought 54 cans of Libby's Vienna Sausage for $64.26, three bags of Maxwell 3-in-1 100-count coffee mix packets for $29.97, and even two Morton iodized salt cylinders for $2.98. All of this was reimbursed to the governor.
The first lady wined and dined on the public dime almost as religiously as her husband did. She spent about $1,500 dining out in Saipan and off island at Sadies by the Sea, Tony Roma's, La Cascata, World's Cafe, Seaside Grill, and Garapan restaurant. To her credit, she removed alcohol purchases at one restaurant, the receipt indicating that those who dined were her personal security detail.
Two of the receipts from Yaong Corporation for food actually are made out to Tudela Enterprises, the first lady's father's company.
This is just the latest in a series of reimbursements received by the Torres family for largely personal expenses.
The reimbursement memo from the governor was dated August 15, 2016, in the midst of recovery from Supertyphoon Soudelor; then-Secretary of Finance Larissa C. Larson approved the reimbursement.