Airport reviews mechanic’s absentee record after allegations of nepotism

NEPOTISM: The A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority is reviewing the absentee record of an airport mechanic who is alleged to have filed fraudulent requests for leave after allegedly being hired at the insistence of then-Gov. Eddie Calvo’s former chief of staff, Frank Arriola. Post file photo

The Guam International Airport Authority is reviewing the absentee record of an airport mechanic who is alleged to have filed fraudulent requests for leave after allegedly being hired at the insistence of former Gov. Eddie Calvo’s former chief of staff Frank Arriola.

Guam International Airport Executive Manager Tom Ada confirmed that the airport’s human resources staff is reviewing the absentee record of mechanic Joseph Perez.

Ada said Perez was hired prior to Ada's appointment as airport executive manager and he played no role in his hiring. He declined to speculate on what, if any, role Frank Arriola might have played in getting Perez hired.

‘A lot of sick leave’

Ada could not say just how much leave Perez has taken but he acknowledged that it was “a lot of sick leave.” However, Ada said Perez has “got valid medical excuses” for the leave he has taken.

Ada declined to say more because it is a personnel matter. The review of Perez, when completed, would remain confidential, he said.

The allegations against Perez are being made by John Welton, a 100% disabled veteran who is retired from the Air Force and living in North Carolina.

Welton made the allegations about Perez’s absentee record in an email he sent to the Guam media and to the airport. He also alleges nepotism in the hiring of Perez, who is his brother-in-law.

Jean Arriola, who is Frank Arriola's wife, is the GIAA airport services manager.

Nepotistic hiring, abuse of medical leave

“You can use my name in your story,” John Welton said in an email exchange with The Guam Daily Post.

Welton alleges “Joe (Perez) got his job simply by a phone call from Calvo’s chief of staff Franklin Arriola to his wife,” Jean Arriola. 

When contacted for comment, Frank Arriola said, “I have been out of government for 5 years now and I decline to comment.”

Welton also said that Perez “abused medical leave” on a number of occasions and he alleges Jean Arriola helped cover for him.

“He took thousands (of dollars) of sick leave pay illegally,” John Welton said.

Welton also said he contacted the Guam attorney general’s office last year to file a complaint but was told the allegations were “small and not worth the time.”

“I tried to bring it to light because it was a crime!” said Welton in one of his emails explaining why he made his allegations public. “With Guam’s budget problems I thought they should know what he did.”

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