Sometime in 2011. Archbishop Apuron is directed by Giuseppe Gennarini and Pius to convey title to The Property to RMS. (1)
Because of the value of The Property, Canon Law requires the consent of the archdiocesan finance council (as well as the college of consultors and the Holy See), Apuron submits his request to convey title to The Property to the AFC. (2)
September 7, 2011. The AFC places the matter on its agenda for September 7, 2011. (3)
According to the meeting agenda, Apuron is fully aware that he does not have the same "ultimate powers" over RMS as he does over the archdiocese and that a transfer or conveyance of title would mean that he "relinquishes ultimate control of the asset."
He is also aware that his legal counsel, Atty. Ed Terlaje, has advised that should there be a transfer of title, RMS Articles and By-laws would need to be amended in order to keep The Property an archdiocesan asset.
According to the agenda, Apuron, ignoring the advice of his counsel, refused to amend the RMS Articles and By-laws, and required that "the assets be deeded to RMS without modification."
Four of the five members of the AFC vote not to convey title to The Property to RMS.
September 8, 2011. Richard Untalan, then-president of the AFC, writes the rector of RMS the following day, advising him of the AFC's decision. (4)
It is important to note that it was the AFC which notified the RMS rector of the denial of their request and not the archbishop. If the AFC's role was merely consultative - as the Vicar General later alleged - then it would have been the archbishop's responsibility to inform the rector. However, because the AFC's role in this particular matter - as per Can. 1292 - is determinative, then it was appropriate for the AFC president to inform the rector.
November 16, 2011. Archbishop Apuron writes Richard Untalan informing him that the matter...
...is not clearly "alienation" but an assigning of 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. (5)
In short, Apuron attempts to make the case that both the archdiocese ("one public juridic person") and RMS ("another public juridic person") are both equally subject to him. Apuron attempts to make this distinction because as long as the matter can be considered "alienation", he cannot move forward without the consent of the AFC.
Apuron also knows that what he states is not true. As per the Sept 7 agenda Apuron's legal counsel made it perfectly clear to him that as regards his control of RMS he was only "one of six votes," which is why his Counsel advised that the Articles and By-laws be amended if he wished to retain control of The Property.
Apparently Apuron knew his attempt to play fast and loose with legal language would be challenged so he decided not to send the letter until after he had already transferred title to the property.
November 21, 2011. A day that will live in Infamy. Archbishop Apuron signs the deed conveying title to The Property to RMS. The deed is recorded at Land Management the next day. (6)
November 25, 2011. Apuron has his letter delivered to Richard Untalan and does not tell Untalan that he has already recorded the deed.
Richard Untalan assumes that Apuron wants the AFC to revisit the issue so he calls a meeting for December 6, 2011.
December 6, 2011. For placing the matter on the agenda, Untalan is accused by the Vicar General of a "vulnus" towards the archbishop, of disrespecting his person, and harming "the dignity of the Ordinary." Apuron himself accuses Untalan of creating "nonsense." (7)
It was obvious why the Vicar General and Apuron went ballistic. They had already recorded the deed and they both knew they had done wrong. We know that because if they hadn't done wrong they would have happily informed the AFC and the rest of the diocese of what they had done. But they did not.
January 12, 2012. Apuron subsequently terminates the membership of the four members of the AFC who voted against the transfer. (8)
The matter remains a secret until...
January 5, 2015. The deed conveying title to The Property is discovered at Land Management, cleverly disguised only as a deed restricting the use of the property to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
However, in the language of the deed, operative words such as transfer, convey, and deed, are used. These are words used to transfer title to real property.
Because the consent of the Holy See was required to transfer title (alienate) property of that value, Apuron knows he is in trouble now with Rome.
January 29, 2015. To cover himself he sends a letter to the representative of the donor who, in 2003, gave the archdiocese two million dollars to pay off the note on the property. Apuron includes a self-addressed letter stating that the donation was for the specific purpose of purchasing the property for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the Blessed Diego institute.
February 2, 2015. The donor wrote Apuron back stating that she had never heard of either institution and refused to sign stating that what Apuron wanted her to sign was "not true." (9)
April 2015. Desperate, Apuron is set up (probably by Gennarini) with a Denver law firm, which we are told opines in Apuron's favor. However, if this were true, Apuron would have published the report in the U Matuna or at least posted it to his website. He did neither. In fact, Attorney Bronze, who is the only person we know who was able to view the report, writes:
The Archdiocese through its “Civil Law Report” which no church member can get a copy of, but can only stand and read a 19-page document... (10)
And, after Bronze viewed the Report, Apuron had it withdrawn completely from public view.
Why, if the report exonerates him, did he do this?
It's rather simple:
- Knowing that it was not licensed to practice law in Guam, the firm most likely wrote the opinion on the condition that Apuron would not publish it or present it as an authentic legal opinion. And, given what we know of the report, it appears it was written only to convince Roman authorities that Apuron had not violated Canon Law.
- However, Apuron, anxious to redeem himself at home, opted to publish a portion of the report in the U Matuna, and then to give it credence, pretended to make the full report available at the chancery, not thinking anyone would dare come and look.
- However, the CCOG had Attorney Bronze take a look. Upon his first visit he was told to come back. Apparently they weren't ready for him. Upon his second visit he was made to stand at a counter and read the entire 19 page document in the presence of a chancery watchdog, and was not allowed to make copies, take pictures, or even write notes.
- The report was then withdrawn from public view 1) because making the report public probably violated the original terms of the Denver law firm - creating a huge potential liability for them; and 2) because the report did not exonerate Apuron as he has intimated.
May-June 2015. The Denver opinion was Apuron's last available move, which explains why "the Dianas" are clinging to it. The Bronze opinion is simply "checkmate". It
- demonstrates the deed to be an "absolute conveyance" of title
- demonstrates that Apuron does not control RMS (which we will see soon)
- demonstrates that the transaction is not just a church matter and is not exempt from civil law
However, even though it is checkmate, the game isn't over until the checkmated king is taken off the board. How that happens will be Apuron's choice. He can leave now under his own free will, or he will be made to leave - if not by Church authority, then by what will happen after a civil suit.
(1) "The Property" is the former Accion Hotel property currently occupied by the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
(2) Canon 1292
(4) Letter from Mr. Richard Untalan, president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Agana, to Fr. Pablo Ponce Rodriguez, Rector, Redemptoris Mater House of Formation.
(8) Untalan fired
(10) The Bronze opinion will be published in full soon.