GMH seeks waiver of penalties and interest

MISMANAGED: Guam Memorial Hospital has asked the Department of Revenue and taxation to waive $3.1 million in penalties and interest on $5.6 million in withholding taxes the hospital failed to pay on behalf of its employees over the past 5 years. Post file photo

Benita Manglona has stepped down as the chief financial officer of Guam Memorial Hospital following revelations that the public hospital failed to pay employee withholding taxes to the Department of Revenue and Taxation.

GMH Administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas confirmed that she spoke with Manglona on Tuesday and asked for her resignation. Manglona agreed to step down effective immediately.

“She is no longer with us,” said Perez-Posadas in a telephone interview with The Guam Daily Post. “I basically told her that I need to take control and manage this situation. She was cooperative.”

In a text message to the Post, Manglona stated - “Happy for the opportunity to make a difference at the hospital. My heart will always be with the hospital and it’s wonderful and dedicated staff.“

GMH Deputy Chief Financial Officer Yuka Hechanova has taken over as acting CFO at the hospital.

Perez-Posadas said the payment demand letter she received from DRT seeks a total of $8.7 million in unpaid taxes. That includes interest and penalty charges.

According to the letter, the failure to make the required payroll deduction payments to Rev and Tax began in the final quarter of 2014, and continued through the first, second and third quarters of 2015.

All payroll taxes were paid in 2016.

However, the payment failure resumed again in the final quarter of 2017 and continued throughout all of 2018 when no payroll tax deduction payments were made.

When asked what explanation Manglona provided for her failure to make these legally required payments, Perez-Posadas said, “I don’t want to dwell on that. Going forward is what I want to focus on.”

However, she noted that last year, during the Calvo administration, Manglona was faced with the threat of payless paydays at GMH.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero told the Post that she has spoken with Perez-Posadas about the Rev and Tax letter.

“We are addressing it,” said the governor following remarks at the Guam Contractors Association meeting at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Wednesday.

She noted that the payment failure occurred under the prior administration and that all payroll deduction taxes have been paid since her administration took office at the start of this year.

Perez-Posadas said the governor has assured her that she is looking for a funding source to pay the debt.

“We’re going to try and see how we can come up with a payment plan,” said Perez-Posadas, adding she’d like to start making installment payments as soon as possible.

“My biggest concern (is) I don’t want DRT to put a lien on our accounts, on our assets (or) on our receivables because that could ultimately end ... in not making payroll.”

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