GEC: Law requires secrecy on complaint against delegate

CONFIDENTIAL: Not a word was heard from any member of the Guam Election Commission last night about the complaint filed against Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas by his former chief of staff John Paul Manuel. Post file photo

Guam Del. Michael San Nicolas fired back yesterday at the ongoing allegations made against him by his former chief of staff, John Paul Manuel.

San Nicolas was questioned about allegations that he is having an extramarital affair during an interview on The Point with Ray Gibson on Thursday morning.

He chuckled and said, “There comes a time and place where we are not going to be entertaining things unless there is a legal basis to be entertaining it. So, if anybody thinks that I am having an extramarital affair with a staffer – and that’s against the rules – then file the complaint.”

The U.S. Congress’ ethics rules forbid lawmakers from having sexual relations with staffers.

Delegate: ‘Let’s go through the due process’

San Nicolas said he would not entertain questions about his personal life “unless someone is going to be balls enough to step up to the plate and make an accusation on the record.”

Manuel alleged congressional campaign funds were used to reimburse San Nicolas and the woman allegedly involved when they went to resorts in the Philippines and on Guam.

The delegate said the allegations have no basis and again welcomed anyone to file an official complaint against him.

“These guys think that they are just going to up the ante and pressure me into stepping down and that’s not going to happen. The people of Guam have entrusted me with the responsibility in this office and I’m going to see it through,” he said. “I will deal with that. If they want to make any kind of accusations, then let’s go through the due process.

“This whole thing about trying to raise allegations, but ‘Oh no! I am not going to do this’ or ‘I’m not going to do that.’ Knock it off. Come at me, and let’s face it."

FBI confirms San Nicolas filed complaint

The delegate says the recent allegations stem from local government officials who, according to San Nicolas, “are under an active FBI investigation that was initiated in December 2018 or January.”

Michele Ernst, with the Guam office of the FBI, said she can only confirm that San Nicolas did file a complaint, which the congressman said was done because of a threat.

“I don’t want to further compromise the investigation by giving any kind of position as to where it’s going or who is going to be potentially involved, because they have their methods, and I don’t want to get in the way of their investigation,” San Nicolas said.

Manuel is also calling for the Guam Election Commission to audit San Nicolas’ spending of campaign funds allegedly as part of expenses during trips involving San Nicolas and the woman staffer.

GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said Thursday the election commissioners will meet on Sept. 19 and decide how to proceed with the allegations on campaign funds.

Congressman: Accuser handled campaign’s payments

“JP was the campaign manager of my entire campaign,” San Nicolas said, referring to Manuel. “He was the one organizing the contracts and making sure all the payments went through. So, if anybody wants to be under an investigation by the election commission, they should investigate him and all of the other campaign managers."

Manuel has alleged San Nicolas would reimburse himself using campaign funds and would "bundle receipts into one reimbursement check to make it even more difficult to figure out he was reimbursing himself." Manuel said he was replaced as campaign chairman last year. Campaign filings show San Nicolas' new campaign chairperson is Jennifer Winn, who also is the district director for San Nicolas' Guam congressional office.

“I don’t want to get into talking about him because I am really trying to stay high-road in all of this. But we found a lot of things that needed to be corrected and we worked on correcting them and it was under his watch,” San Nicolas said.

Manuel has named the staffer who is allegedly tied romantically to San Nicolas but the Post isn't naming her at this time.