Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, April 07, 2016
Guam Can't Duck Suit Over Native Land Grab
By Selected News Articles @ 2:24 PM :: 3385 Views :: Land Use, Military

Guam Can't Duck Suit Over Native Land Grab

by Nicholas Fillmore, Courthouse News, April 4, 2016

(CN) - Ancestral landowners in Guam who claim they were never fully compensated for property confiscated during World War II will have their day in court, a federal judge has ruled.

Guam is an unincorporated U.S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean, and is the largest of the Marianas Islands. The Japanese occupied the area before the United States regained control of the islands during World War II.

The U.S. Navy condemned and converted large sections of the island into military bases where the Antonio Won Pat International Airport now sits. The land the airport occupies was appraised at $51.2 million in 2000, making it some of the most valuable property in Guam, according to lead plaintiff Vicente Palacios Crawford.

And in 2012 alone, the Airport Authority reported it received $66.5 million in revenues, $52.5 million from airport operating income, Crawford says in his federal class action . He believes that rather than making money on rent, the Guamanian government should either return the properties to their rightful ancestral owners or properly compensate them.

Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo and the Guam Ancestral Homelands Commission chair Anita Orlino moved to dismiss the class action, arguing that the matter lies outside Federal Court jurisdiction due to Guam's sovereign immunity from contract and unjust enrichment claims and that Crawford's ancestor had already been compensated for his property.

U.S. District Chief Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood rejected both arguments from the bench and in a written ruling issued March 31. As for Guam's sovereign immunity, Tydingco-Gatewood found that the Ancestral Homelands Commission's process allows for judicial involvement when disputes over land cannot be resolved in another way - thus waiving sovereign immunity in this instance.

The judge also found that Crawford has gone as far as he can to exhaust the administrative remedies regarding his civil rights claims, since the commission has never established the necessary rules to make payments for land that has been taken.

And Tydingco-Gatewood rejected Guam's argument that because Crawford's mother had already received payment for the parcel - $8,340 in 1951 by the Naval Government of Guam, and an additional $71,227.22 through a federal claims procedure in 1993 - the issue has already been litigated and resolved.

Later court cases found that ancestral landowners that received payments were paid less than market value. Furthermore, Guamanian law specifically "preserves the rights of landowners to sue for compensation in exchange for their ancestral claim being extinguished," Tydingco-Gatewood wrote in rejecting both the res judicata and statute of limitations arguments.

The issue of payments for ancestral land takings has been an ongoing issue on Guam.

Despite several legislative efforts and the creation of the Tinyan Trust "to set aside all net income derived from Tinyan into a trust for the benefit of the original owners of the property," various lawsuits and court injunctions have prevented the disbursement of any money-except $470,000 to the Guam Economic Development Authority for administering the trust from October 2001-May 2014.

In a previous unsuccessful motion opposing class certification, Attorney General David Highsmith suggested plaintiff Crawford should wait patiently for his share of the trust, and called his suit for a portion of Airport revenues "pie in the sky."

PDF: Court Order


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii