Millionaires in GovGuam nearly double

REPORTS: The number of elected and appointed government of Guam officials with a net worth of at least $1 million nearly doubled during the pandemic, according to filings with the Guam Election Commission. The GEC is awaiting 21 more officials to file their 2020 financial disclosure reports by the Oct. 19 deadline. The GEC's new office at Oka Building in Tamuning is shown in this Oct. 18 photograph. Haidee Eugenio Gilbert/The Guam Daily Post

(This story was updated to reflect some public officials' amended financial reports)

More of Guam's public officials have become, by some measures, richer during the pandemic, based on a review of their latest financial disclosure statements filed with the Guam Election Commission.

The number of elected and appointed government of Guam officials with at least $1 million in estimated net worth, which is the sum of what they owned versus what they owed, increased during the pandemic - from about 17 in 2019 to 28 in 2020.

Not only did the millionaires' club expand, but many of the island's public officials who already filed their 2020 financial reports saw their net worth increase during the pandemic, even if they were well below the $1 million mark.

Those numbers could increase. 

GEC is waiting for about 21 public officials to file their 2020 financial report by today's deadline, according to acting GEC Executive Director Elizabeth Santos.

Senators, agency directors, mayors, judges and a justice are among those that have up to today to file theirs, based on a review of GEC data.

University of Guam President Thomas Krise's estimated net worth reached $9.5 million-plus in 2020, higher than his 2019's $9.38 million-plus and remains at the top of the list. He filed his 2020 report on Friday.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero holds the second spot, with $4.46 million in estimated net worth in 2020, a 4% increase from $4.28 million in 2019, based on her April filings.

At least five public officials have estimated net worth in the $3 million range, including Guam Education Board Elected Member Robert Crisostomo, Guam Visitors Bureau President Carl Gutierrez, Consolidated Commission on Utilities Commissioner Michael Limtiaco, Guam Community College President Mary Okada, and CCU Commissioner Joseph Duenas.

At least six are in the $2 million range. Data also shows at least 16 officials were in the $1 million range in 2020, an increase from nine in 2019.

There were also a handful in the $800,000 to $900,000 range in 2019 added to the list of those with at least $1 million to their name, according to the most recent filings.

Net worth 

This trend of increased net worth is not unique to Guam's elected and appointed government officials. Across the United States, the pandemic has been a boom time for America's richest, and a large number of Americans, according to data reported by Forbes Magazine, The Guardian, Forbes, NPR and other national organizations. In March this year, Reuters reported that in 2020, the richest Americans became 40% richer during the pandemic.

Guam law requires GovGuam's elected and appointed public officials to disclose personal finances as a way for the public to evaluate potential conflicts of interest, deter corruption, and increase public confidence in government.

The reported net worth includes real estate investments, cash, net assets of corporations, partnerships, cash value of life insurance, and present value of future interests, among other things, beyond their annual earnings, such as their salaries as GovGuam officials.

The initial deadline to file the 2020 financial disclosure statements was in April, but many asked for a six-month extension that ends today.

Some just got elected or appointed this year, so they filed their financial reports for the first time with GEC. 

Here's a partial list of GovGuam officials with the highest estimated net worth in 2020, based on filings with GEC as of Oct. 18:

  1. UOG President Thomas Krise: $9.50M - up from 2019's $9.38M.
  2. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero: $4.46 million - up from 2019's $4.28M.
  3. GEB elected member Robert Crisostomo: $3.82M, elected in 2020.
  4. GVB President Carl Gutierrez: $3.43M - appointed in 2020
  5. CCU Commissioner Michael Limtiaco: $3.36M - up from 2019's $1.03M.
  6. GCC President Mary Okada and husband: $3.20M - up from 2019's $2.83M.
  7. CCU Commissioner Joseph Duenas: $3.01M - up from 2019's $2.99M.
  8. CCU Commissioner Simon Sanchez: $2.64M - up from $2019's $2.42M.
  9. Supreme Court Justice Robert Torres and wife Sen. Mary Torres: $2.55M - up from 2019's $2.30M.
  10. Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido: $2.43M - up from 2019's $2.32M.
  11. Guam Ancestral Lands Commission Executive Director John Burch: $2.17M - up from 2019's $1.85M.
  12. A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority Executive Manager John Quinata: $2.14M, appointed 2020
  13. Administrator of the Courts Kristina Baird: $2.05M - up from 2019's $1.66M.
  14. Guam Solid Waste Authority General Manager Larry Gast: $1.84M - up from 2019's $1.4M.
  15. Guam Contractors Licensing Board Executive Director Cecil Orsini: $1.84 million.
  16. PBS Guam General Manager Ina Marie Carillo: $1.67M - up from 2019's $1.55M.
  17. Sen. Telo Taitague: $1.58M - down from 2019's $1.64M.
  18. Guam Memorial Hospital Administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas: $1.56M.
  19. Superior Court Judge Benjamin Sison: $1.5M
  20. Guam Education Board elected member Peter Alecxis Ada, $1.49 million, elected in 2020.
  21. Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena III: $1.33M - down from 2019's $1.38M
  22. Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola: $1.29M, up from 2019's $890,022.
  23. CCU Commissioner Pedro Martinez: $1.23M.
  24. Department of Administration Director Edward Birn: $1.17 million - down from $1.18M 
  25. Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola, retired: $1.43M.
  26. Superior Court Judge Dana Gutierrez: $1.18M
  27. Bureau of Statistics and Plans Director Tyrone Taitano: $1.06M - up from $1.05M.
  28. Yigo Vice Mayor Loreto Leones: $1.03M, elected for the first time in 2020.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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