NEWS: GHS never saw contracts committing its agency to $7M in hotel funding; Tenorio backs DeNorcey



By Troy Torres

troy@kanditnews.com


(Tumon, Guam) The administrator of Civil Defense said neither he nor Guam Homeland Security Advisor Timothy Aguon were signatories to contracts with four hotels and one condominium development for the quarantine of residents, travelers, and hospital workers.


The contracts, which documents reveal were quarterbacked by a non-GHS/OCD employee - governor's legal counsel and son-in law Haig Huynh, were not signed by any compliance officers of the agency or even the certifying officer. This is significant, because the two accounts from which these contracts are drawn and for which checks were cut are GHS/OCD accounts.


Both Mr. Esteves and Mary Rhodes, president of the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association further confirmed that Mr. Huynh negotiated the contracts with the Pacific Star Hotel, Wyndham Gardens Hotel, Days Inn Hotel, Hotel Santa Fe, and Perlas Courte.


In a flurry of emails among the government's political, financial, and procurement officers, and the Office of the Attorney General of Guam, Mr. Huynh repeatedly revealed that the hotels had cash flow problems, and directed the government's financial officers to issue advance payments to the hotels without contracts being executed.


Advance payments are illegal. Payments without contracts or the certification of funds are illegal. Contracts without, at the very least, price quotes are illegal.


Mr. Huynh's knowledge of the hotels's cash flow also is questionable, considering his position at the Bank of Guam, where he worked prior to becoming his mother in law's legal counsel at the Governor's Office. The government's vendors do not reveal their cash position in contractual negotiations with the government. Businesses guard their cash flow models and cash position and limit knowledge to its accountants and their bankers.


"The unfortunate thing is that these vendors were only able to provide us with these accommodations if we agreed to pay as we go. They have cash flow issues and would need to pay their own staff and vendors. So if at all possible, would you help facilitate the payment of invoices (I've sent them to Chuck Esteves already). The contracts will follow as soon as the AG is done with review and all other signatures are captured. I do believe the governor's executive order allows for the fast tracking of these. In fact, it may allow us to forego some things as well (I am not advising that)." - March 26 email from Haig Huynh

Kandit previously broke the story regarding Mr. Huynh and his mother-in-law's significant conflict of interest with these contracts (reference documents supporting both these stories found in this link) because of the hotels's banking relationship with the Bank of Guam. Their family owns the bank. Ms. Leon Guerrero was the president and CEO of the bank prior to becoming governor. Mr. Huynh was her attorney at the bank.


Mr. Huynh had the contracts signed by his mother in law, and attempted to reconstruct a procurement record, according to the email documents Mr. Esteves disclosed to Kandit News. In one of the documents, Mr. Huynh even instructs former chief of staff Anthony Babauta - who is the designated Governor's Authorized Representative for this emergency and the movement of federal funds -


"Sign this." - email from Haig Huynh to Anthony Babauta

Among the documents in the procurement record are the governor's designation letters to the hotels for quarantine, dated March 18. An April 7 email from the Office of the Legal Counsel of the governor shows a legal aid passing on instructions purportedly from assistant legal counsel Sophia Diaz to doctor the March 18 letter to include a digital signature of public health director Linda DeNorcey.


Ms. DeNorcey this morning told island media she never saw those documents and never authorized anyone to use her signature to have those documents signed.


Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, in an interview with Sabrina Salas Matanane and Chris Barnett on their morning show said, "I stand behind Linda's comments."


Mr. Tenorio discussed the botched procurement on these contracts. "I think there are some concerns, obviously," he said. "I think the AG and the chief procurement officer have to come in."

Mr. Huynh skipped review and signatures of GHS/OCD officials and sent the contracts to the governor's chief procurement officer, Claudia Acfalle, where those contracts remain.


According to sources, Ms. Acfalle does not want to clear the contracts because the procurement record is incomplete and the procurement, without any evidence of merit-based selection or so much as a price quote, is illegal.


The illegal conduct of the procurement over email itself constitutes federal wire fraud crimes. The forgery of Ms. DeNorcey's signature is a federal felony. The expenditure of funds without legal certification or even a contract in place constitutes several local felonies. The sole source selection of certain hotels while others were shut down by the governor is in felonious violation of the Anti-Trust Law of Guam. And the enormous conflict of interest that Mr. Huynh - the contracts negotiator - and his mother in law, the main signatory of the contracts, presents a world of criminal problems for the family duo in Adelup.


Was Ms. Leon Guerrero involved, and did she have knowledge of these events?


According to Mr. Huynh himself, "I have acted on the direction of the Governor."
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