Saturday, October 24, 2015
A "FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE"??
Towards the end of 2010, Senator B.J. Cruz introduced a bill to lift the statute of limitations on child sex crimes for a period of two years permitting victims of child sexual abuse to file suit against their abusers. I was intimately involved in the fight against the bill because I believed that it had been introduced out of vengeance for the Church's opposition to Cruz' domestic partnership bill.
It was during this time - as I previously related - that I was called to the chancery and given a statement to read intended to discredit SNAP - which was visiting the island looking for victims of clergy sex abuse. As noted earlier, I had innocently asked if there was anything we had to hide. I was met with silence and I walked out.
The legislative term (30th) expired at the end of 2010 and so did the bill. However, as one of his first orders of business in the 31st Guam Legislature, Senator Cruz re-introduced the legilsation as Bill 34-31. I continued my fight against it because I believed it unfairly targeted the church and particularly church assets. Dioceses in the states have had to liquidate millions of dollars in church property to pay damages to victims of child sex abuse after similar bills had passed.
Bill 34-31 was eventually modified to limit the liability for payment of damages to just the offender and excluded the institutions or organizational entities to which the offender might have been attached. I had been fighting to achieve exactly this and so I thought I had won. However, in hindsight, and as per the above comments, I can see that I missed something.
Due to the personal nature of a corporation sole, the limitation protecting institutions and organizational entities may not have been applicable to a corporation sole. While a corporation or a government department might be protected, a corporation sole might not be since technically everything in the corporation "belongs" to the person incorporated - in this case the Archbishop of Agana.
Should the Archbishop be sued, church property could possibly still be at risk. And since the Yona property was the archdiocese's most valuable single asset, and probably the only asset of significant value that could be liquidated (you can't really sell a church or school), it was probably seen as a wise move to remove it from the corporation sole to protect it (though this is illegal).
Remember now, Pius has already told us that the initial plan was to transfer the actual TITLE to the property. The only reason the TITLE wasn't transferred is because the consent of the finance council could not be obtained and Apuron had to find a back door way of doing it, which he did later with the Deed Restriction.
Knowledgable friends who studied the deed have told me that at first it looked like someone messed up - that the authors of the deed had mistakenly used words in the deed restriction that instead of just restricting the use of the property, they, in effect, gave it away entirely. However, upon further study, and especially upon review of the Bronze Opinion, it appears that whoever composed the deed knew EXACTLY what they were doing: they were transferring the TITLE.
The plan to transfer the TITLE first surfaces on paper with the finance council agenda dated September 7, 2011. But the plan to transfer the TITLE had begun several months previously. According to those close to the discussion, the plan to transfer the TITLE was hatched while Apuron was in the states for heart surgery in the early part of 2011. This story from the Pacific News Center dated March 25, 2011 finds Apuron in California for an angiogram.
Senator Cruz's bill was signed into law on March 9, 2011. No one came forward during those two years. It was thought that whatever happened people just wanted to keep it to themselves. But lately another explanation has surfaced: the possibility of victims who had long since left Guam and knew nothing of this window of opportunity. I understand there may be another one.