Is it true that the chuuk state governor was charged with contempt of a court order?

Is it true that the governor of chuuk was charged with contempt of a court order by interfering with the operation of CPUC? It stems from a case of the chuuk state governor v. chuuk state legislature. This is so embarrassing if indeed the chuuk state governor and chuuk state legislature are going to court.

Ika ke sinei porausan ei chon iwe chona sipwe sinei wenecharan ika men pwuung.

Comments

  • It is true. The case has been going on for a while but a recent executive order establishing a new board for CPUC seems to have been the reason for contempt of court action. More coming as I get the official court document.
  • Oh come on, fellows. Why would it be embarrassing for the Chuuk branches of government to litigate their differences, and is not embarrassing for the FSM, the Pohnpei and Kosrae governments to litigate their differences? Try look at these cases: showing branches of governments litigating serious legal and constitutional issues: Urusemal v. Capelle, 12 FSM Report; Kosrea v. 7th Kosrae State Legislature, 11 FSM Report; the Pohnpei State Legislature v. Pohnpei State Chief Justice and Pohnpei State Legislature v Pohnpei Stat Governor cases. And the Donald Trump v. the Russian election tampering investigations? Let's not try to sensationalize the issues; give the process time to sort the issues out. We still have three levels of appeal to go.
  • Taxi-Womw,

    Can you please elaborate on the contempt of court decision?
  • Turth,

    I am still not clear what the contempt is. I have not seen a copy of the court's order, and I was not in the courtroom when the court issued that contempt order orally. (I had recused myself from the case by that time, and I was subpoenaed to testify, but at the hearing, I told the court and the counsels I could not testify because the information they were asking me were attorney-client and executive privileged information between myself as counsel and the Governor as client). Mr Johnny Meippen and Mr Kembo Mida were the parties' counsels arguing the case. I left the courtroom when they were still arguing.

    Johnny tried to explain to us afterward, and he said the order "was that we were in contempt for violating a previous oral order or written order denying our initial motion for a TRO against the defendant CPUC Board, and to refrain us, the Governor, the Attorney General and Mr Johnny Meippen from further interfering with the CPUC Board and management during the pendency of the case. And that a written order would issue later." As of yesterday, I only heard that some people have copies of a written order, but I have not seen one. I am not sure if because I am recused from the case, they do not think I deserve a written copy of that order. I was only given a copy of Mr Mida's brief on the main case, (whether the Legislature has proper authority under the CPUC law to appoint members of the CPUC Board under the circumstances of the case.") But I have not seen a written copy of that contempt order. At our office yesterday, we tried calling the Court Clerk's office and even the Legislature's LC Office for copies, but we did not get through.

    So like most people, our office is still waiting for a copy--if there is a written version. We will see if we can find one next week to fully understand what the court directed us to do or not to do.
  • edited February 16
    ....
  • O pwata aramas ra fen sinei ei porous me mwen an epwe tori AG taropwe?
  • There could be a mole under the desks. Or some version of russian (chuuk) collusion.
  • Its not that aramas ra fen sinei ei porous me mwen an epwe tori AG taropwe, Its been known for sometime now. It is what it is and truth remains to be seen as the CSL is fixing to do something comes next week. But then again it could all be rumors and nothing but rumors.

    Lets all wait and see what the real reason why the CSL has just finished with their special session as of Friday the 16th of February but the House of Representatives has called for another special session next week starting monday the 18th of February 2018.

    Epwe meta ei a...
  • Ewer, kinisou pwun yesterday, Saturday, uwa kuna copyin an court we contempt order. Mi pwan enet pwe ewe House ika Legislature ra convene ar repwe third special session on Monday, and have heard from members of the House that the contempt order is a potential agenda item for the special session. We would hope the House at least awaits the judicial process to work itself out first, as there are procedures for appeals and or reconsideration first.
  • edited February 25
    O no
  • Pwipwi Taxi-womw,

    There is nothing more agitating to me more than a half baked information that you share with genuine concerned citizens who seek to be informed of the happenings in our great State of Chuuk. It also makes me wonder why it is so difficult to at least be upfront about what is going on and what causes these disagreements between these two branches of government.

    Yes, the disagreement between the Chuuk State Legislature and the Executive Branch is based on expired terms of the sitting members of the Chuuk Public Utility Corporation and the fact that an agreement between this Taiwanese/Chinese business (perhaps the same one that is seeking to invest at Anna's Resort in Tunnuk) and the CPUC Board to purchase some solar systems in the neighborhood of $10s of millions at the disapproval of the CPUC Management. Mr. Mark White had resigned and left Chuuk because of the CPUC Board's overriding of the CPUC Management's disapproval of the deal which I might add was politically motivated and it stands to fill so many politicians pockets and will not be surprised if it also include my brothers Johnny Meipen and Taxi-Womw - but this is just pure speculation.

    Now, this disagreement and the sudden departure of Mr. Mark White ignited the interest of the Chuuk State Legislature where further scrutiny of the matter revealed that the term for the entire members of the CPUC Board of Directors had expired and therefore invalidate any decision that is approved by those members on behalf of the corporation. To cut the story short, the Governor signed some executive order reappointing the same members of the CPUC Board to avoid the proper advice and consent of the Chuuk State Legislature and so the gist of this problem and how it has made its way to the Chuuk State Supreme Court. To make matters more complicating, the Chuuk State Legislature appointed a temporary Board which makes coon-heads like myself wonder where did that authority come from.

    My point of confusion - A Taiwanese/Chinese Company wants to invest in Chuuk State, yet wants to sell solar systems to the State of Chuuk for $10's of millions, along with some $750,000 to pay off Anna's Resort... Man this is just getting even more and more complex for coconut heads like mine. Does anyone else smell something fishy here, or is it just me and my limited mindedness.



  • He he he, well my coconut head brother, this is indeed an already complicated case for Chuuk State, and we still have a lot of moving pieces to the whole picture, so we will try to limit our comments in fear of causing prejudice to some of the issues and parties. (i.e (1) the Executive Branch has just filed a Motion for reconsideration and setting aside of the Contempt Order; and (2) the principals have authorized settlement negotiation to dismiss the underlying "nomination case.")

    Two points to clarify:
    1. We are talking about two different Taiwanese companies here: (1) the one trying to match up with the AWM Resort in our Village of Tunnuk is fronted by a Guam attorney and PI consultants and Taiwanese investors; (2) the one proposing to supply solar power to the CPUC is fronted by a Palau congressman and a Taiwanese consultant (and Mr Waite once said in one of his related communications that they are on behalf of a Cayman Island company. I don't know).
  • Also, is true that the Legislature is trying to impeach the Governor? What are the allegations and what is the status of the impeachment resolution? Please keep us update on this interesting issue.

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    The Pacific
    Court holds Chuuk Governor Elimo and his attorney in contempt of court
    February 27, 2018

    |

    By Bill Jaynes




    Weno, Chuuk (The Kaselehlie Press) —On Feb. 14, the Chuuk State Supreme Court issued an order holding Chuuk Governor Johnson Elimo and his attorney Johnny Meippen in contempt of court for an executive order the governor issued to establish an interim Board of Directors for the Chuuk Public Utilities Corporation.



    The executive order, it said, violated a verbal court order issued on Dec. 22, 2017 barring the Governor from interfering with the business activities of CPUC. The court also voided the governor’s executive order along with any actions the “interim board” might have attempted to take on behalf of CPUC.



    Last year, Governor Elimo sued the Chuuk State House of Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the CPUC Board of Directors. He sought a Temporary Restraining Order and summary judgement against appointments to the CPUC board that the House of Representatives had made.



    The court denied the motion for the TRO pending further hearings.



    At issue was whether or not the House of the Representatives had the right to appoint two new members to the CPUC board after the terms of two previous members had expired.



    The Governor has argued that the legislative action usurps his right to appoint CPUC board members with advice and consent of the legislative bodies.



    The plaintiffs have argued that according to the law establishing CPUC, the Governor has 45 days to fill any vacancy on the CPUC Board of Directors. If he doesn’t then the House of Representatives is authorized the fill the positions.



    The two board positions the Speaker acted to fill on Oct. 20, 2017 were those of Elissues Akapito whose term expired on Oct. 4, 2016, and Rocky Inek whose three year terms had expired on Aug. 30, 2015. They argued that the Governor’s 45 days to nominate or renew a Board member for CPUC had long expired with no action.



    The House nominated Inos Urumai and Keeper Lippwe to fill the vacancies left by Akapito and Inek and the Board members were confirmed by the House of the Senate.



    The court also has to decide whether the imperfectly worded law that established CPUC includes an expired term of a board member as a vacancy on the Board that the House could act upon if the Governor does not make a nomination within 45 days. It also has to decide if the decision of the new board members the legislature appointed would have effect.



    After the Chuuk State Legislative bodies confirmed the two nominees for the CPUC board, on Oct. 26, 2017, Governor Elimo filed suit for an emergency TRO and Petition for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief to bar the newly constituted CPUC board from meeting on Oct. 27, 2017.



    The court denied the TRO. The issue of declaratory relief and injunction is still being decided. The latest hearing on that matter was held Feb. 21.



    The CPUC board met on Oct. 27. One of its actions was to rescind the previous CPUC board’s resolution made on Oct. 16 authorizing CPUC to enter into a relationship with Earth Energy International Company, Limited. The resolution would have allowed EEI to set up a “public-private” business to build alternative power plants and provide that power on a wholesale basis to CPUC.
  • The court also has to decide whether the imperfectly worded law that established CPUC includes an expired term of a Board member as a vacancy on the Board that the House could act upon if the Governor does not make a nomination within 45 days. It also has to decide if the decision of the new board members the legislature appointed would have effect.



    According to court documents, the Governor, Akapito and Chuuk Attorney General Sabino Asor wrote several letters and legal opinions that the newly constituted CPUC board was invalid and that the decisions they had made were invalid. The Governor wrote in a letter to CPUC CEO Mark Waite did not have the right to pick and choose which board he would work with.



    Meanwhile, the Governor claimed CPUC board chair, Akapito allegedly had attempted to execute a bank transaction on behalf of CPUC regarding the EEI agreement despite the fact that the court had not yet ruled on the Governor’s civil action.



    After CPUC filed their first motion for the Governor to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court, the court issued a verbal ruling barring the Governor from impeding the business transactions of PUC.



    Still, on Jan. 8, 2018, “upon advice of his new counsel (Johnny Meippen)” the Governor issued an Executive Order (2018-01) establishing an Interim Board of Directors of CPUC. Two days later, Chuuk Attorney General Sabino Asor withdrew as the Governor’s counsel after he learned of the Executive Order that Meippen had advised and drafted for the Governor.



    The court initially found Asor guilty of contempt but reversed its verbal ruling in the written ruling saying that it could not find “on the preponderance of evidence that the Attorney General failed to communicate the court order to the Governor or that he avoided attempts by present counsel to contact him regarding the history of the case—which resulted in the injunction’s violation.”



    The court found that whether or not Governor Elimo knew about the Dec. 22, 2017 ruling barring him from interfering in the business transactions of CPUC he had clearly gained knowledge at a later date but took no action to adjust his conduct after he learned about it in order to comply with the injunction.



    It ruled that the act was an intentional violation and that disagreeing with a court order is not a legal remedy for violating a court order. In his brief to the Court, Meippen argued that he believed that the Court’s injunction infringes on the right of the executive branch in the fulfillment of its duties. The court ruled that disagreement with a court ruling is not sufficient cause to disobey a court ruling.



    The court ruled that even though Meippen had notice of the injunction intentionally advised his client, the Governor, to violate the injunction. “Even if Mr. Meippen had lacked full knowledge as to the wording of the injunction, he could have inquired from the Attorney General—who would have been required under the rules of ethics to disclose the full nature of the oral order to the new counsel for the Governor.



    However, Meippen proudly stated that he never consults with lawyers previously representing his clients,” the ruling said. “... this was clearly an intentional and wanton disregard for the court’s injunction.”



    The ruling held Governor Elimo in civil and criminal contempt but also said that as a mitigating factor, it was convinced that he would not have issued the order “but for his counsel’s blatant misconduct and poor legal advice.



    As such, the court, in its discretion assigned a fine of $500 for the criminal contempt that must be paid by Feb. 28.



    The court ruled Meippen’s actions to be in Civil Contempt and has scheduled an additional hearing for March 22 for Meippen to show cause for why he should not also be held in criminal contempt.



    The court ruled that Governor Elimo and his counsel Johnny Meippen are “jointly and severally liable” for CPUC’s attorney’s fees for the two “show cause” ...Elimo Continued from front page motions it submitted to the court. It has directed CPUC to submit an itemized list of attorney’s fees and expenses related to pursuing those motions.



    “Mr. Meippen’s actions raise serious questions as to his ability to comply with the Chuuk State Rules of Professional conduct, which leaves this Court no other than to refer this matter for a disciplinary action hearing on the matter of Mr. Meippen’s conduct in this case,” the ruling said.

    Governor and Meippen have filed motions for the court to reconsider the contempt ruling. CPUC, and the legislative bodies have until Monday to the respond to those motions. If the motion to reconsider is denied, Governor and Meippen have the option to file an appeal to the decision. CPUC CEO Mark Waite said that though he has submitted notice of resignation with his last day on March 31, his decision was not at all based on the current turmoil.



    “My decision is not directly related to external interference in CPUC – I have been quite forthright in the defense of CPUC against this,” he wrote in an email. “I have an opportunity to move on that is of long term interest and I have decided it is time to move aside and let someone else pick up the torch.”


    http://www.pacificislandtimes.com/single-post/2018/02/28/Court-holds-Chuuk-Governor-Elimo-and-his-attorney-in-contempt-of-court
  • Interesting! Gillian for Governor.
  • Why is the AG not representing the Governor?I
  • edited March 11
    good question image
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