Monday, August 11, 2008

255. Too believable!

It's too sad and too believable...allegations that our Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Villagomez, not just in the distant past but right up to late 2007, was cooking up schemes to divert money from CUC into his relatives' pockets, money allegedy not reasonably due.

Good posts on blogs Must Be The Humidity and Beach Boy Brad.

It's funny how the small details upset me. Bad enough if what's alleged is true (that Villagomez's family sold a "scaling agent" rydlyme, to CUC at exorbitant prices on sole source contracts) , but somehow the fact that there's thousands of pounds of the stuff stored in Rota at the time of the latest "purchases" --that's the fact that really upsets me.

Why? Because it's not just that CUC pays too much for stuff to enrich his family, it's that CUC can't even use what it pays for...

And Dave Lujan and Joey P. San Nicolas as attorneys for the accused. I personally don't like their style. I'm wondering if anyone else, besides Tony Guerrero, will cut a deal...

I sincerely hope that, if the matter goes to trial, the jury is not subject to corruption but faces the task of judging honestly.


Lil' Hammerhead said...

I had a hard time believing this actually. Someone whose been involved in politics for so long, who's held the highest offices, who's father and family has played a significant role in the development of this government and many of its agencies.. practicing petty crime. This, in the end, is really just a petty crime. To me.. that's even sadder. These four people probably pulled in somewhere around $200,000 in profit after the purchase price and shipping. What a sad and sordid little scheme.

This isn't a new scheme either. Remember Kumoi's "Heavy Equipment Repair".. well not really Kumoi's, it was registered under another family members name. Only problem was.. the business was repairing primarily CUC equipment!

I am really saddened. As much as I disagree with his politics.. to discover that an elected leader of such status and with such history is no better than a thief, in some way degrades the integrity of our entire community.

But he has not yet been proven guilty.. so I won't delve too deeply into my realm of feelings regarding this.

Saipan Writer said...

Perhaps I'm more jaded than you, Lil.

I tend to think that nepotism and corruption are practiced nearly everywhere in the CNMI, and most often by high-status families in leadership positions.

Every sole source contract sends up a red flag to me. Every government deal made to purchase from a business owned by a family member of an influential politician or the decision-maker himself makes me wonder if it's a good deal for necessary goods or services.

It's a small community and of course there are family ties through and through. It's good that family is strong and important. But it's not good that family takes precedence over public service for those who are in public service. And maybe not even for others...

And in the nearly 24 years I've been here, I've seen that preference for family instead of the public good over and over again. From voting choices made not for the candidate whose policies reflect a voter's belief or whose stand on issues is good for all, but voting for whoever is in your family that will be able to hire you or get you benefits from government agencies; to hiring choices made by the "public servants"-hiring who in the family voted for you and will keep you in office, who will carry out your orders without too many questions, who will scratch your back if you scratch theirs; from government business for profit-politicians pushing for poker machines so they can make a bundle, touting construction contracts with special rules that only their family's company's can meet, opposing sound ideas like the national marine monument because it limits options of family & business associates to be greedy; to misplaced loyalty that results in vindictive, personal sabotage-declaring opponents as persona non grata, writing false and defamatory letters in the newspapers, making decisions in the workplace on personalities, not principles.

I noticed in the newspaper that many of Tim's supporters showed up to "lend support" to him and his family. But who was there to lend support to US, to the community who suffers?

You say this was a petty crime. The pay-off may have been relatively small for those involved, but that doesn't make the crime "small."

Corruption doesn't start and end with one deal. It's a cancer that spreads and corrupts and goes through generations, distorting all institutions and defrauding us of one of the most basic essentials of a decent life-honesty.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

I may have misused "petty". It's a very serious thing.. but I see it as "petty", because it is such a small dirty thing to ruin your life over, and harm your community over. I do agree with you that it is indeed very very serious.

Your piece is right on.

lil bit said...

I have taught on Tinian and Saipan and it is always amazing to me how there is always one student who acutally vocalizes that it doesn't matter that he doesn't do well in school, he will get a "high paying" job in the government from his uncle/dad/god father etc. I have had students tell me that point blank.