What is this alia doing in this cage?

photo: Ti’otala

This alia floated into the Pago Pago Community Center (bingo hall) during the tsunami of September 29, 2009.

It remains there today, amidst the destruction.

As for the Center itself, it is property of the Pago Pago Village Council, but the land on which the Center sits belongs to the government and the Council’s lease with ASG has expired. The village has been unable to get a new long-term lease on the land.

The Center was insured when it was destroyed, but it wasn’t insured against the damage caused by an earthquake-generated tsunami, so the Village Council received no insurance proceeds, nor any FEMA proceeds.

The Village Council borrowed money from ANZ bank to purchase the building (formerly the bowling alley) in the late 1990s, and then it refinanced the loan in 2006 to renovate and expand the Center. When the building was destroyed, the Council lost the ability to repay the loan. ANZ is suing the Council and the Council chiefs who signed the loan papers for the $400,000 unpaid balance from the $559,000 refinancing loan.

The case has not yet reached the courts, but a trial is scheduled for January 8, 2013.

Meanwhile, the remains of the building are an eyesore and a threat to public health. But they make for an arresting photograph.


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