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reporters@samoanews.com

FEDERAL CASE AGAINST ASG FINALLY CLOSED IN MARISCO LAWSUIT

The federal court in Honolulu officially closed early this week the civil suit by Marisco Ltd., against the American Samoa Government over non-payment of past invoices for services provided by the Honolulu-based shipyard for ASG.

Services included the purchase of tugboats and supplies and this project had been allocated $3.2 million under the ASG $20 million loan from the ASG Employees Retirement Fund. ASG says it has already paid Marisco $2.18 million for work performed and equipment/materials provided.

ASG had counter- sued Marisco and named a third party — Terry Conden — who was ASG’s representative working with Marisco. The case was resolved by federal arbitration and presented to the federal court in Honolulu last month where none of the parties made any further arguments.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi, in a May 2 order, issued the final judgement in the case as reached by federal arbitrator Eric Danoff and the parties in this case.

Kobayashi entered a judgement in favor of Conden and against ASG. Additionally, the judgement is in favor of Marisco and against ASG in the sum of $811,631.87 plus interest on that amount at the rate of .43% per year — not compounded — from Sept. 1, 2009 until paid, and stipulated costs of $12,439.29.

According to the arbitrator’s decision, Conden is entitled to any recoverable costs of the suit, but Conden has since indicated such costs are minimal and he would not be seeking any recovery.

While the case is now closed, the big question at hand is how ASG is going to pay for this judgement, which a local attorney says this should be paid as soon as possible to avoid interest that will continue to increase every year.

TWO CRUISE SHIPS CONFIRMED FOR MAY

American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau executive director David Vaeafe confirmed this week that two cruise ships will be calling into the Port of Pago Pago this month with the first, the Dawn Princess, set to arrive May 10 around 8a.m. from French Polynesia and depart for the Fiji Islands at 5 p.m.

The second one, Nippon Maru, arrives May 26 from the Fiji Islands at 10a.m. and departs for French Polynesia at 5p.m.  Passenger count and crew members on board each cruise ship should be available prior to the arrival of each ship. Both ships have visited the territory in the past.

Meanwhile, Vaeafe said the the Royal Caribbean's ship 'Rhapsody of the Seas' on its maiden voyage to Pago Pago last week Monday returns to the territory on Oct 2 as part of an 18-night Trans Pacific Samoa-Fiji Cruise, which departs Honolulu on Sept. 25 with Pago Pago the first stop before heading to Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, ending in Sydney, Australia.

Vaeafe says the additional visit by the Rhapsody of the Seas in October will bring the total number of cruise ship visits for this year to 20.

DPW FIXES FALENIU/MESEPA VILLAGE FOOTBRIDGE.

Tualauta Reps. Larry Sanitoa and Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr., in an Apr. 30 letter, to Public Works Department director Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, expressed gratitude and appreciation DPW for their role in completing repairs of the Faleniu Footpath bridge, which has deteriorated over the years and was considered a safety hazard.

“This project was executed with DPW’s efforts in the design and expertise in selecting Paramount Builders to expedite the work,” the letter states, noting that the project fruition is largely attributed to funding from ASG Stimulus Office director Pat Galeai.

“Faleniu and Mesepa residents, and especially the students will happily make good use of the bridge, trusting in its stability and sturdiness with the newly completed repairs,” the letter says.

ASBA ELECTS NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD

At the 2012 Annual Meeting held on April 28, the American Samoa Bar Association elected Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei as the new president; Vincent Kruse as vice president; the post of treasurer went to Marian Rapoza and Karen Shelley as secretary.

Uiagalelei, a private attorney, was appointed about three months ago, by the High Court Appointing Division as the new Independent Prosecutor. He is now overseeing cases that were assigned to former Independent Prosecutor Fa’amomoi Masaniai, who is now working off-island.

Kruse, an assistant attorney with the civil division of the Attorney General’s Office is the son of Chief Justice Michael Kruse; while Rapoza is an assistant attorney general with the civil division of the Attorney General’s Office and Shelley is an assistant public defender.



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