AT&T leases ancestral lands, will pay $4.8M in back rent

SETTLEMENT: An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 24, 2018. The company has agreed to pay $4.8 million in lease payments to the government of Guam to settle a bigger unpaid land lease amount. GovGuam had previously indicated AT&T owed $5.7 million. Reuters file photo

The final settlement between AT&T and the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission, on lease payments owed to the agency, comes to a little over $4.8 million. 

The leased property sits at Tanguisson Point in Dededo.

AT&T Corp. leased the property from the federal government in 1963, to use as a landing point for its undersea cables. The federal government transferred the property to GALC in October 2002 via quitclaim deed. 

The lease with the federal government then expired, but the communications giant continued to use the land.

According to the settlement, the lands commission sought payment for use of the property from Jan. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2019; and from Oct. 1 moving forward, as part of a new lease agreement.    

The $4.8 million settlement is shy of the $5.7 million in arrears determined by GALC and the Guam Economic Development Authority, which manages the property on behalf of the lands commission, but significantly larger than the $1.7 million initial counteroffer from AT&T.  

Meanwhile, the new lease agreement makes GEDA the manager of the Tanguisson property.

The new lease will initially last five years, from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2024. 

The land leases for a little more than $275,000 per year, bringing in almost $23,000 a month. 

If the lease is extended beyond five years, the rent will be set at a fair market value. Rent will subsequently increase 10% every five years. Every 20 years, the rent will be adjusted to the fair market value of the property using a 10% capitalization rate.

The settlement and lease agreement were signed on Oct. 23 by GALC management.

According to a September GALC resolution, the settlement and lease proceeds are to help the commission fulfill its responsibilities.

The fiscal 2020 budget appropriated $380,416 to map GALC properties; to buy and install infrastructure (including paved access roads) on them and commercially develop them; and to administratively and operationally support those mandates, the resolution stated.  

But the appropriation is not enough, it added.

The settlement from AT&T and future lease payments are to be deposited into the Trust for GALC Survey, Infrastructure, and Development Fund account with Coast 360 Federal Credit Union.

Recommended for you