Almost nine months have passed and the Guam Police Department has not acknowledged receipt of a police complaint submitted on Feb. 1, alleging corruption at the Guam Office of Attorney General. A copy of the complaint was also sent to Attorney General Leevin Camacho on the same date, and he has also not acknowledged, let alone responded to, the complaint. I am Joseph A. Guthrie, a 16-year veteran of the Office of Attorney General who was deputy attorney general between 2003 and 2006, and I am the person who submitted the police complaint.
The police complaint alleges that attorney Philip J. Tydingco committed the misdemeanors of official misconduct, unsworn falsification, and false statement related to GovGuam retirement – and that attorneys John Patrick "Pat" Mason, Alicia Limtiaco, Alberto Tolentino, John Weisenberger, and Leonardo Rapadas were complicit in all or some of these crimes.
The police complaint further alleges as a result of these six government attorneys' conduct, the Retirement Fund suffered losses in the amount of approximately $535,519 exclusive of lost return on investment, and the General Fund suffered losses of approximately $294,055 exclusive of interest for a total of approximately $829,575. The police complaint seeks restitution of these amounts.
The police complaint alleges Mason occupied the position of deputy attorney general in charge of the Civil Litigation Division from 1987 to sometime in 2002. Sometime in 2002, Mason left the AG's office and commenced working as an attorney for the Guam Department of Education.
The police complaint further alleges that sometime in 2003, Mason became eligible for an annuity from the GovGuam Retirement Fund. On Jan. 10, 2004, Mason retired from the GDOE and began private practice at a private law firm and commenced to receive his annuity while working in private practice.
Unhappy in private practice, Mason wanted to return to the position he formerly occupied at the AG's office, that of deputy attorney general in charge of the Civil Litigation Division. According to the police complaint, Mason knew that if he returned to the AG's office as an employee, his annuity would be suspended during the term of his re-employment pursuant to statute. However, Mason also allegedly knew that if he returned to the AG's office as an independent contractor, his annuity would not be suspended after his return to the AG's office.
On Jan. 3, 2007, Mason signed the contract between himself and AG's office. The contract purported to be an independent contract, but Mason allegedly knew it to be a sham contract, insofar as the services of deputy attorney general contemplated to be provided under the contract by the signatories could – under applicable statute, temporary law, and personnel rule – only be legally provided by an unclassified employee, and not an independent contractor. The contract was also allegedly a sham contract because no Request for Proposal soliciting the interest of other potential independent contractors was issued before the contract was signed, contrary to the Guam Procurement Law.
From Jan. 2, 2007 to Sept. 17, 2014, Mason performed the duties of deputy AG in charge of the Civil Litigation Division, and held himself out as such, both to the general public and within the Office of Attorney General.
The police complaint alleges that Mason, as well as Mason’s superiors at the OAG from Jan. 2, 2007 to Sept. 17, 2014 – Alicia Limtiaco, Philip Tydingco, Alberto Tolentino, John Weisenberger, and Leonardo Rapadas – shared the intention to form a sham contract, or, after it was formed, to perpetuate the contract. Due to this identity of purpose, Mason, and those of his superiors who acted to perpetuate the contract over the years are, under Guam law, deemed to be legally complicit in respect to the subsequent actions, illegal in themselves, undertaken by their fellow alleged defendants to perpetuate the contract.
The police complaint alleged that the statute of limitations ordinarily limiting the initiation of criminal prosecution for official misconduct, unsworn falsification, and false statement – on a retirement benefit – is three years from the date of the action, but in the case of government employees, the statute of limitations runs from the date a government employee leaves the government, not only with respect to the government employee but with respect to those who are complicit in the government employee’s actions which are illegal in themselves.
This means that the statute of limitations allegedly began to run against Mason and the others who signed the contract three years after the last person who performed actions, allegedly illegal in themselves, left the government. There are also those alleged defendants who acted to perpetuate the contract after it was signed. Consequently, the police complaint alleged that the statute of limitations for initiating prosecutions against all the alleged defendants named in the police complaint began running three years after Philip Tydingco retired from GovGuam on or about Aug. 11, 2017. This means that the statute of limitations for bringing action against all the defendants alleged in the police complaint will allegedly not expire until on or about Aug. 11, 2020.
Having heard nothing, I — the person who filed the police complaint — now wonder if the Guam Police Department and the AG's office are covering up this alleged corruption complaint at the AG's office, especially in light of the fact that the federal Department of Justice acknowledged receipt of my complaint regarding these matters a little more than a month ago.
Joseph A. Guthrie is a former Guam prosecutor who now lives in the Subic Bay Free Port Zone in the Philippines