The head of a company involved in the generator scandal with Commonwealth Utilities Corp. in the Northern Mariana Islands is also linked to a former large-scale developer with nearly $ 2 million in tax liens owed to GovGuam.
In a March 29 article from Marianas Variety, CUC board member Dave Sablan identifies Amelia Toelkes as the president of General Pacific Services Marianas Inc. – the company whose now defunct generator deal has become the subject of of controversy in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands after it was discovered that the president of the CUC was the mother-in-law of the company’s vice president.
But Toelkes is also the major shareholder of General Pacific Services LLC, a company hired to perform guard, maintenance and security work at John F. Kennedy High School. Toelkes’ husband Robert Toelkes was the chairman of the now bankrupt International Bridge Corp., the company originally formed to repair the JFK campus.
After project delays and other issues, the Capital Projects Finance Authority (CapFA) took over to monitor and implement corrective actions, bringing in the design-build company SAIC / Benham. IBC was retained to work on the maintenance aspect of the project, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, the same year GPS was incorporated. IBC now owes $ 1.78 million in trade lien tax to the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The Guam Daily Post could not find certificates of discharge for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017, which would have indicated the payment of privileges.
Approximately $ 5 million in base rent is paid to CapFA each year as part of the sale-leaseback agreement for JFK. Almost $ 2 million more is paid in additional rent. Total payment for this fiscal year is expected to increase by approximately $ 87,000 primarily due to maintenance.
Name the flags raised
Sablan, who also holds titles in Guam’s religious and business circles, said Toelkes’ name raised flags when he appeared in relations with the GPSM. Robert Toelkes had approached him in 2015 when he was president of the CUC to offer him a financial package and returned to the organization in 2016 in the hope of selling a reverse osmosis system. Neither has been successful for Robert Toelkes.
When GPSM was chosen in an emergency purchase for a production unit, CUC management later returned recommending that another bidder, Wartsila, be chosen instead. It had been revealed during negotiations with GPSM that there was no partnership with Fairbanks Morse, as stated in the company’s application package. The offer required the prime contractor to be an operational equipment manufacturer, which is the case with Fairbanks, but because the company was only a provider of GPSM, this made Fairbanks a subcontractor. .
Some members of the CUC were against the recommendations of the management, according to Sablan, who notably recalled the objections of Albert Taitano. It was later revealed by CNMI representative Ed Propst that Albert Taitano was an agent of the GPSM. GPSM President and Vice-President’s stepson Phil Roberto is also a staff member of Guam Senator James Espaldon.
The president had denied knowing that Roberto was involved in the GPSM, but Sablan was skeptical. He recalled a meeting in the summer of 2016 between the president, the governor of the CNMI, Roberto and Espaldon. Since the meeting involved all four people, discussions likely revolved around purchasing the generator, Sablan said.