FORMER GUAM AIRPORT ADMINISTRATOR INDICTED

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By Theresa Merto

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 26) - A visit to a Las
Vegas strip joint, a massage at a Malaysian resort and drinks from a minibar at
a South Korea hotel don't come cheap.

Those personal expenses and other items totaling more than
$12,000 that were charged to a government- issued credit card by former Guam
airport Executive Manager Gerald Yingling could cost Yingling up to 18 years in
prison and $22,000 in fines.

A Superior Court of Guam grand jury yesterday indicted Yingling
on two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card as a third-degree felony; five
counts of fraudulent use of a credit card as a misdemeanor; and seven counts of
official misconduct as a misdemeanor, court documents state. Yingling was not
available for comment yesterday.

The island's elected attorney general announced Yingling's
indictment during a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Attorney General Douglas Moylan also announced a second,
unrelated indictment -- Department of Parks and Recreation assistant recreation
administrator Franklin E. Herrero was indicted on charges he transferred $4,400
of government funds into the employees association account.

Moylan said Superior Court of Guam Judge Katherine Maraman
issued a $20,000 arrest warrant for Yingling shortly after the ex-airport
manager's indictment was announced.

This is the fourth government credit-card-related indictment
this year.

The credit-card abuse and official misconduct charges against
Yingling are "really the tip of the iceberg," said Assistant Attorney
General James Casey. He said investigations into other allegations of government
abuse involving Yingling and the former airport management continue.

"We are looking at Mr. Yingling for Triangle Park, the
exorbitant expenditures with respect to travel and obviously this credit-card
abuse here," Casey said. "I mean I can go on, adding to that. But
there are other matters which I am not at liberty to disclose at this
time."

Moylan said public officials must be held accountable.

"It is important to point out that these are people who
have been put in public trust and that have been entrusted to spend government
money," Moylan said. "Based upon what we've seen, we don't believe
that these people should have been doing what they were doing."

From July 1, 1999, to June 2001, Yingling amassed $10,900.19
worth of charges on the credit card, court documents stated.

Of those expenses, $3,285.91 in charges were for meals,
entertainment, lodging, car rental and phone use. The remaining $7,614.28 were
"unclassified expenses for which not a scintilla of documentation" was
submitted to legitimize the expenditures, documents state.

Also on or around Dec. 3, 1999, Yingling charged $1,214 at the
Club Paradise strip joint in Las Vegas, Nev., "with the knowledge that such
use of the credit card was unrelated to any business purpose" at the
airport, according to court documents. Club Paradise is a topless club for men
that features stage and lap dancing, according to Pacific Daily News files.

"When you look at the second charge -- a strip joint in Las
Vegas, Nevada -- how can you justify that?" Casey asked.

Other credit card expenses include:

· On or around Aug. 11, 1999, Yingling charged $23.02
at the Hotel Intercontinental in Seoul, Korea specifically for the in-room
mini-bar and a movie rental.

· On or about March 30, 2000, Yingling charged $50.53
for a massage at the Pangkor Laut Resort in Kuala Lumpur.

· On or about April 13, 2000, Yingling charged $66.75
for laundry service at the Beverly Hills Hilton in California.

· On or about Oct. 8, 2000, Yingling charged $37.20 at
the Shangri-La Hotel Health Club in Manila. It is not listed in the indictment
what the charge was for.

· On or about Jan. 31, 2001, Yingling charged $130.02 to
pay for the "Fantastic Water Journey" at the Coex Aquarium in Seoul.

Casey said the attorney general's office also is looking into
whether an additional $24,000 in credit card charges were for personal use or
business.

It remains unclear whether Yingling has repaid any of the credit
card charges. Casey said a certain amount was taken out of Yingling's paycheck
before he left the agency in January, but Casey did not know if any of that
money was used to pay for the credit card charges.

"We'll certainly find out down the road," Casey said.

Moylan said there have been "a lot of red flags and
allegations that have been made" at the agency.

"We want to emphasize that in using the credit cards,
management will be held criminally responsible for abusing their spending
authority," Moylan said.

September 26, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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