Thursday, July 10, 2014

RMS 104 - THE ASSIGNMENT

The Neo-bosses
Previous installments to this story:
RMS 103 - Article IX

Note: "Subject property" refers to those lots, located in Yona, which once made up the Accion Hotel property, were deeded in 2002 to the Archdiocese of Agana, and are now occupied by the Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS). 

As noted previously, Archbishop Apuron was at first in full agreement with the AFC (Archdiocesan Finance Council) when in September of 2011 four of the five members, in the presence of Archbishop Apuron, decided NOT to transfer the title of the subject property to RMS. However, two months later, something, or someone, made him change his mind. 


In his letter to the AFC of 16 November 2011, he 1) chastised the dissenting members for not understanding Canon Law, and 2) argued that the transfer of title was not the "alienation" of property but simply an "assignment" of the title from himself to himself:
The matter is clearly not “alienation,” but simply an assigning of the title of a property that is transferred and renamed from one public juridic person subject to the Ordinary to another public juridic person subject to the same Ordinary. The Title holder then doesn’t change at all because it remains the same Ordinary…
Aside from the fact (as we previously demonstrated) that this was not true - that indeed RMS due to the powers given to the Board of Guarantors in its Articles of Incorporation was NOT "subject to the same Ordinary", there is the very problematic issue of the attempt to differentiate between "alienation" and "assignment" - which, as per the opinion the archdiocesan legal counsel, are "words of distinction without a difference."  

Had the Archbishop simply told the AFC that he had changed his mind (after agreeing with them two months previously) and that he wanted the AFC to reconsider the request, little suspicion would have been raised as to the source of the Archbishop's sudden "about face".

However, the extraordinary concoction of the proposition that this was simply an "assignment" of title and not an alienation raised large red flags, especially to the financially fluent members of the AFC as well as the Archbishop's legal counsel who stridently stressed:
...alienation and assignment are words of distinction without a difference. Any documents containing these words would place a huge cloud on title to real property which would result in a protracted litigation and prohibitive cost to remove such cloud. Do you really want to risk title to the property conservatively valued at 75 million dollars? 
To clarify, an assignment could be anything. It could be a recorded transfer of title or it could simply be a signed note from the Archbishop giving RMS the property upon his departure from office. 

The difference is a transfer of title would be recorded as a public document with the Government of Guam, while any other form of assignment, or as the legal counsel stated - "Any documents containing these words" - would not necessarily show up as a public record, but could be used to challenge the title in the future. Thus the legal counsel warns of "protracted litigation and prohibitive cost...", meaning the property would be lost in the end. 

Having been foiled on the first go around to grab our multi-million dollar asset, it appears that the New Jersey-based Neocatechumenal bosses got a hold of the Archbishop and gave him his new marching orders. If they couldn't get the property transferred to them outright, they would tie it up in court and make it too painful and costly for us to challenge. The Neo-bosses have their own army of lawyers, so they would all end up with a wad of cash in the end, and then would simply move on to another bishop they could buy.

However, the dissenting members of the AFC continued to resist. And when it became evident that the new ploy was not going to work, the "bosses" sent Apuron new orders: FIRE THEM. And so he did. 

But the AFC members fought on. They wrote an official letter of protest to Archbishop Apuron, NOT for being fired - since they served voluntarily anyway - but to protest the damage that the Archbishop appeared hell-bent on doing to the Archdiocese of Agana and its people. 

So what eventually happened?

The AFC's letter of protest was copied to the then-Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Balvo. It is not known if it was this letter that led to it, but soon thereafter, Rome ordered an audit of the Archdiocese of Agana (which by the way we are still waiting to see). We are guessing that the Neo-bosses (Giuseppe Gennarini, et al.) got spooked at this point because even though two of the four new members of the AFC are also members of the Neocatechumenal Way, the title to the property has not (yet) changed. 

We know this because a transfer of title is a public document recorded at Land Management and I personally examined the title yesterday. However, what we can't know is if there exists an unrecorded document, an "assignment", that will cloud the title once Archbishop Apuron leaves office and result in the damage that the legal counsel warned of. 

The terribly sad part about all this isn't the loss of multi-million dollar asset, but the loss of the Archbishop. 

I'll be back.

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