Attorney General Opposes Receivership For NMI Fund

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San Nicolas feels receivership only adds to expenses

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 3, 2013) – Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas said the Northern Marianas government continues to oppose the appointment of a receiver for the NMI Retirement Fund, believing that it will further deplete funds that would otherwise go to the pension program's beneficiaries.

San Nicolas, in five-page document filed on Dec. 27, stated that it has not also been shown how a receiver will benefit the Fund and its members.

For the government, he said, appointing a receiver does nothing more than create an added expense for the agency and the position is not warranted in the case because the legal standard for appointing a receiver is not met.

But should the court decide to appoint a receiver, San Nicolas said the government is recommending Mark Heath to the position, so far the only individual contacted by the government willing to take the position if chosen. The federal court earlier sought from all parties the names of potential receivers for the Fund, the submission of which was due last week.

One lawyer, Timothy Bellas, was earlier recommended by some retirees for the Fund receivership.

Betty Johnson, a plaintiff in an ongoing case in federal court, named her own nominees last week. Her primary recommendation is Hawaii-based lawyer William J. Plum and/or The Plum Law Office ALC, whom the court earlier considered when it first planned to appoint a trustee ad litem.

Johnson's second nominee is Rawlen M.T. Mantanona and/or Cabot Montannona LLP from Guam. Both nominees are reportedly willing to serve the position immediately if selected.

Meantime, the Fund's counsels, Braddock Huesman and Daniel J. Berman, submitted to court a four-page document clarifying the receivership issue. They claimed that the request for a receivership has become a source of confusion in some of the media reports being circulated.

They said the Fund's amended answer and cross claim clarifies that the Fund's "new" request is for a receivership over the CNMI Department of Finance and not over the Fund itself.

"This new Fund claim must be distinguished from the Fund's modest change in position to deny any receivership over the Fund. If a receivership over the Fund will facilitate the issue of remedies as against the debtor CNMI, the trustee ad litem for the Fund would agree to its appointment as the receiver so long as such additional title and office would be at no further expense to the Fund," the Fund's counsels stated in their Dec. 27 filing.

"Because the appointment of any other individuals or entities as the hypothetical receiver would presumably come at the added expense of the Fund, the Fund is unable to concur in the appointment of any other individuals or entities as a receiver. Likewise, the Fund is unable to suggest any other names for the possible position of receiver," they added.

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