GUAM OFFICIALS PLEAD NOT GUILTY OF MALFEASANCE

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By Theresa Merto

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Apr. 1) – Two former high-ranking government officials accused of conspiring to use government equipment and personnel at former Gov. Carl Gutierrez's scenic Urunao ranch pleaded innocent yesterday to the charges.

Gutierrez's former chief of staff, Gil Shinohara, and former airport Executive Manager Gerald Yingling appeared in the Superior Court of Guam for an arraignment hearing after their initial hearing was continued to give them time to look for attorneys. Gutierrez already has entered an innocent plea.

Shinohara, Yingling and Gutierrez were indicted March 5 on numerous charges, ranging from theft of property to official misconduct and illegal expenditures, Pacific Daily News files state. The indictment said the defendants agreed to use government materials that were intended for Tutujan Park, also known as Triangle Park, in Agana Heights, and services of GovGuam employees at the former governor's Urunao ranch.

Yingling has said he would like the court to appoint an attorney for him, but the Public Defender's Office determined that he is not eligible. It was disclosed in court yesterday that Yingling earns about $2,000 a month.

Superior Court Judge Katherine Maraman allowed the Public Defender's Office to withdraw from the case.

The former airport executive manager, whose salary was once $89,000, however, said yesterday he is in debt and recently borrowed $35,000, partly to pay for his legal counsel in a separate criminal case. Yingling was indicted last year after he allegedly charged more than $12,000 in personal expenses to a government credit card, files state.

Maraman appointed Associated Defense Advocates to defend Yingling, pending another financial review. ADA is a group of publicly funded defense attorneys separate from the Public Defender's office. If an indigent defendant cannot be represented by the Public Defender's office for any reason, the defendant is represented by an attorney from Associated Defense Advocates.

Meanwhile, Shinohara said he has not been able to obtain counsel because of conflicts, although he did not give details. He said he is currently in contact with an off-island attorney, who is expected to represent him in a federal case.

Shinohara was indicted Feb. 18 in federal court on charges he fraudulently obtained a $3 million loan from the Bank of Guam and accepted bribes and submitted false documents to federal agencies for government projects, files state.

Shinohara did not name the attorney in court yesterday, but Hawaii-based Attorney Michael Green is expected to represent Shinohara in the federal case, files state. Shinohara said he plans to meet with the attorney later this month.

Shinohara and Yingling pleaded innocent and asserted their right to a speedy trial. Jury selection for the defendants has been scheduled for April 20.

Meanwhile, Takahisa Goto, co-defendant in the federal case involving Shinohara, is scheduled to enter a plea next week in the U.S. District Court of Guam. Goto was scheduled to appear in court yesterday to enter the plea, but it was postponed to 4 p.m. April 5.

It has been disclosed in court that Goto has signed a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, but details of the agreement have not been released.

April 1, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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