Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

3 Guam Assistant Attorney Generals Reportedly Sacked
One allegedly linked to tax settlement case information leak

By Geraldine Castillo

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Dec. 11, 2012) – An apparent shakeup at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) led to three prosecutors getting their walking papers last Friday, Variety learned yesterday.

AGO spokesperson Carlina Charfauros confirmed that Frances Dececco, Christina Lum and Devorah Covington "are no longer employed" as assistant attorneys general. She declined to give the reason for the three prosecutors’ departure from the AGO.

[PIR editor's note dated 08/07/2013: It was revealed in May by the Marianas Variety Guam, but never reported by the Pacific Islands Report, that Dececco and Lum left the Guam Attorney General's Office for reasons unrelated to Covington's dismissal. Charfauros said "one was dismissed and another resigned."]

Sources said Covington was dismissed as a result of an apparent witch hunt at the AGO. She was accused of leaking information related to a tax settlement case in federal court.

Covington was suspected of leaking information to the Variety, specifically that the Governor’s Office "is inclined" to take an amount of between $100,000 and $300,000 to settle the government’s claim against couple Dennis G. and Asuncion S. Rodriguez, who allegedly owe nearly $3 million in unpaid taxes and penalties spanning five years.

Covington could not be reached for comment as of press time. Variety reserves the right not to reveal its source.

$2.7M liability

According to District Court documents, the Rodriguezes did not file their income tax returns for years 1996 through 2001 and as a result, the Department of Revenue and Taxation determined that the couple’s liability – with interests and penalties – is approximately $2.7 million.

Earlier in the case, the AGO sought to foreclose on the Rodriguezes’ property. However, the AGO in September withdrew as the government’s counsel after being unable to agree with the current administration on a course of action in the case. The Governor’s Office is now handling the tax settlement.

Subsequent to Variety obtaining information regarding the alleged settlement amount, an investigating officer at the AGO began contacting individuals for an interview. Sources claim the investigation may be linked to the controversial Rodriguez tax settlement story. Charfauros previously had stated she can neither confirm nor deny the investigation, as it is a personnel matter.

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