In today's U Matuna, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Agana, there is a front page article entitled "The truth about the property of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary."
The article attempts to persuade us that the property remains fully in Archbishop Apuron's control and that he did nothing wrong when he restricted the use of the property. It attempts to do this by presenting excerpts from the following:
- The Ownership Report
- The Legal Opinion
- The opinion of the Pontifical Council of Legislative Text
Let's take each one.
The Ownership Report
The article states that the Ownership Report, as completed in 2014 by Pacific American Title, "confirms that the lots on which the seminary sits, identifies the owner as the Archbishop of Agana. Therefore, contrary to rumors, the title deed has always remained in the hands of the Archdiocese."
Yes, the title deed remains in the hands of the Archdiocese, BUT only thanks to the people Archbishop Apuron fired from the previous Archdiocesan Finance Council: Richard Untalan, Joseph Rivera, Msgr. James Benavente, and Sr. Stephen Torres, RSM. Let us recall that in 2011 Archbishop Apuron had initially attempted to convey the title outright to RMS as evidenced by this letter written in September of 2011 advising the rector of RMS of the decision by the AFC to deny the conveyance of title to RMS.
The issue is not who owns the property. We already knew that from doing our own title search which we posted here back on March 27. The issue is not who owns the property but WHO controls it. You can have title to a property, but if you assign control of that property to someone else it no longer has any value as an asset for the duration of the assignment.
The Legal Opinion
The article includes portions of a legal opinion by a Denver law firm assuring us that Archbishop Apuron:
- "retains substantial authority" over RMS
- in restricting use of the property to RMS was an action "consistent with canon law"
So a Denver law firm is practicing law on Guam. That's illegal.
Why didn't Apuron simply get the (probably free) opinion of his own legal counsel? The man who actually put both the deal together to acquire the property and the RMS corporation itself? Well, we know why. Because the legal counsel had already given his opinion and it wasn't the one Apuron wanted.
Apuron only posts portions of the opinion. Really? Space and cost were no object when he was publishing, week after week, all the supposed crimes of Msgr. James. But here we are given the few tidbits that he wants us to read and then tells us if we want to see the rest we have to come to the chancery.
The bottom line issue is whether or not a lending institution would consider the property, given the restriction, an asset of the Archdiocese of Agana. In arguing only for the view that the archbishop retains "substantial authority" over RMS, the report appears to admit that the property has no current value to the Archdiocese of Agana, and would only have value if the Archbishop assigns it back. In short, the patrimony of the Archdiocese of Agana is significantly harmed, which is is why then apostolic delegate, Archbishop Balvo, told Apuron in 2012 that in this matter he is not free to do as he pleases.
The opinion of the Pontifical Council of Legislative Text
The article references a Canon Law Report which supposedly claims that the deed restriction did not alienate the property.
Hmmm. There is no footnote to this report (as there is for the law firm's opinion). Why not publish the "report"?
The "report" references the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and we are told that it is the highest authority for interpreting the laws of the Church. Wonderful. But said Pontifical Council has ZERO authority for interpreting the laws of Guam, which actually govern the legal status of that property (and, by the way, neither does the Denver law firm that Apuron hired). So what a bunch of b.s.
Some other thoughts:
If there was nothing wrong with what the Archbishop did, then why did he hide it? Attached to the Deed Restriction is a Decree of Designation. A Decree is a public announcement. Yet not only did Apuron NEVER announce the designation, he didn't even tell the members of his own finance council. In fact, he didn't tell anyone but his neo buddies. And what's more, after restricting the property he went on to chide, insult, berate, and ultimately fire the members of the finance council who opposed him.
The idea that Archbishop Apuron is in control of anything is a joke. Even if the legal opinion is right and the archbishop "retains substantial authority". It does not account for WHO "retains substantial authority" over him. And this is the root of the problem. Apuron will obey his neo masters. They will tell him NEVER to give back the property to the Archdiocese of Agana and he will obey.
By the way, Archbishop, is this why you have been "raising money"? How much of our money did you use on this very expensive law firm? Or was that Kimchee's (parents') money that you bilked her out of? What did you do, promise her more indulgences? She talks, you know, a lot! The other day she was bragging to a whole table at a hotel restaurant about how much money she gave you. She even said it was for "an American lawyer."
P.S. Tell Wadeson to say he's innocent, not just that the charges were "unfounded."
P.P.S. BTW, Archbishop, do you recognize these words:
"Therefore we cannot sign the letter you drafted because it is not true."
I have the letter. Do you want me to tell people the rest of the story...or will you?