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Apr 23, 2009

When Free is Never Free

Ahhh...the newspapers are feasting on the latest news about the local government's adviser's supposed free legal services to the government when in fact he was reportedly reimbursed and paid for the services amounting to over $100, 000...

Hmmm,,,I guess the man has bills to pay too y'know. Perhaps he has done a tremendous assistance to the government office?

Now I wonder what Rep. Tina Sablan's next move on this....

Read on...


News Skeptic said...

On Saipan said . . .

news about the local government's adviser's supposed free legal services to the government when in fact he was reportedly reimbursed and paid for the services amounting to over $100,000 . . . . (Emphasis added.)

The contract has been posted online. Mr. Willens was paid exactly zero for his services. He is authorized reimbursement for his actual out-of-pocket expenses of up to $12,000 per quarter. Under the Internal Revenue Code, such reimbursements are not considered income.



The incompetence and vindictiveness of our local media are staggering. No wonder our Commonwealth is in such dire straits when so much of public perception is based on utter falsehoods.

One beneficial outcome of federalization will be a higher percentage of reporters who grasp the fundamentals of American law and civics.

News Skeptic said...



bigsoxfan said...

There is a percieved difference between the "letter of the law" and the spirit of the law. What I mean to say is; the payments to Mr. Willens may be legal, but it still smells of spoiled fish and poisoned promises. If the Saipan Government had kept these perception issues in mind when dealing with DC they might not be threatened with losing control of both immigration and labor policies. By playing an upfront, we have the problem in hand, game and declaring all is ok with labor when labor was so obviously dysfunctial, they laid themselves open to questions on whether they were as equally unable to handle scrutiny of immigration policy. This question then led the US to slam down the door on CNMI immigration.
My take on this, but I think I am fairly close to a realistic interpration.

Anonymous said...

Not only is it reported with a poison pen (expected from the likes of ed propst- but certainly not from supposedly credible newpapers) but beyond that they inject this "news" as if it is brand new information. It was disclosed back at the start of Willens' volunteer employment that expenses would be paid. These same newspapers bitched then, and bitch again now as if we are supposed to forget that they already reported this more than two years ago.

the truth hurts said...

He gets a check cut to him every 3 months for $12,000. Is this not correct Greg?

I don't care how you slice it. He gets $4,000 a month.

The even more upsetting thing is we dont even know if this is the full extent. When someone finally gets full access to all documents involved I would venture a guess that millions of Taxpayer dollars have been funneled to Willens and Seimer as well as Jenner & Block and other people.

It was very telling when Brad Huesman stated on the record in court that he could not disclose how much money was in the Governor's Discretionary account because the legislature (that evil bunch :-) ) passed the budget and removed the Governor's ability to reprogram and move funds from other agencies and accounts into his discretionary account. That pretty much IMPLIES, Gregory, that transfers of funds had been made to the Governor's account in the past in order to fund this lawsuit and who knows for what ever reasons.

Get ye to church, old man.

Anonymous said...

BTW the poison pen is owned by Fitial and loaned out to Baka every once in a while when he can pry it from Charles' hand.

Get ye to church!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of never free, the Lieutenant Governor is guilty on all counts.

Will Villagomez resign, be impeached, or hang on until Monday, January 11, 2010 -- collecting his salary in federal prison?

Marianas Pride said...

I call it like I see it News Septic.

As for your comments about me? You do not deserve a response.

The Fitial misadministration needs to figure out what "volunteer" means. If you get paid $4 or $4,000 or $400,000 for work, you are no longer a volunteer!

The spin continues, and I continue to count the days til we elect a new governor.


Anonymous said...

well put MP.

who in the world has redefined the word "volunteer?"

only the cnmi....

and for septic, i need he needs a new set of dictionary. and it's available online too....

Anonymous said...

Pulled from Ben Fitial's DICKtionary:

Volunteer - a person who works for the Fitial administration for free but gets paid $100,000 a year.

Anonymous said...


The contract you described, which was reported before, was before they sneaked a big change order through, which greatly increased the contract.

Just another sweetheart deal by the Fitial racketeers who control the local government.

the teacher said...

As stated previously, if Tina can wade through the filth and pierce the veil of corruption with her Open Government request, the crooks here may start packing their bags.

US Homeland Security can also help us send every pretend investor we have on Saipan that has not paid their US investor minimum(1 million dollars - 550k in rural region) on a one time one way trip home.

the teacher said...

PS It was my previous understanding that Mr. Willens was volunteering his services to the Governor with no mention of free, as free lawyers, consultants, and strategists was the domain of his partner, Ms. Siemer. I imagine she still writes letters for our long dysfunctional Department of Labor, as the other lady, a Ms. Kaipat I believe, apparently went to a law school and still can’t write one.

180 days off island with per diem is laughing at the decent people of the commonwealth. I wonder if the 180 days equaled Lynn K or Dick P.?

bitter times said...

News Skeptic are you retarded or are you just playing dumb to fit in at the Fitial administration?

If Howard The Cryptkeeper Willens is getting reimbursed for his expenses, then he is no longer a volunteer because reimbursemebt is payment you ignoramus.

Sounds like you are a lawyer the way you bend the truth.

Look at the rotten group of people Ben Tan has working for him and tell me if any of them seem like good decent people of the Commonwealth.

Howard Willens, Deanne Semen, John Smiley Face Del Rosario, Ramon Tough Guy Mafnas, Jack Solesource Manglona, Cynthia Kaipat, Charlie Reyes, Richard Garment Whore Pierce, Jerry I'm not Willie Tan, Carmen Fatnastyass, Lynn I'll give you a Knight to remember, Manet Chiba, former Tan scumbag lawyer Matthew Garment Lover Gregory, Barry I love hookers Hirschbein.
To be continued...

The Truth said...

noni above:

You forgot to add

Greg "Mrs D, News Skeptic, The Actor, Dildo, I just want to be respected, I like to pretend to be quiet and humble but it is just that i am to stupid to engage in verbal debate or discussion so i turn to the blog-o-sphere where i can google stuff and rewrite and rewrite till I'm happy with what i have and the spin sounds good and i have corrected all my grammatical mistakes with spell checker and word" Baka

Get ye to the nearest church!

News Skeptic said...

The most recent “big change order . . . , which greatly increased the contract,” is available at Wendy's blog linked above. It is a simple time extension.

The maximum out-of-pocket reimbursement remains $12,000 per quarter (48,000 per year). The total contract term has increased from 9 months to 33 months ($132,000 combined maximum over that 2-3/4 year period), but the out-of-pocket reimbursement rate remains $48,000 per year -- not the $100,000+ levels some have bandied about. Read it for yourself and know the truth.

As far as the IRS is concerned, this reimbursement is not considered taxable “compensation,” and I would trust them far more than Tina's free lawyer with an axe to grind.

There may be many policy reasons to disagree with Howard P. Willens. But at this point, with the facts readily available, anyone who persists in calling him “highly compensated” is flat-out lying.

The Truth said...

Spin spin spin.

Get your spinning ass back to church!


Didn't I already tell you that it doesnt matter how much he gets cut to him each quarter the fact that he gets a check cut at all is the issue.

By the way, do you even know how much Howard has really been paid over the past three years? We the public do not know because all you turned over was a contract but no billing statements and no payment documents.

That being said, we do not know if Ed or anyone else is correct in saying that Howard got $100K. He could have. I guess he did too but that is not the issue. The issue is the spin and the lies. Especially those coming from you and your office.

Thanks for including the footnote on Howard Willens Contract in the Privilege Log. Too funny that it appears there but didnt appear on the cover letter to Tina the day before. Nice try at starting to cover up your illegal practice of concealing what should have been turned over long ago.

Get your covering up ass to church!

The Truth said...

Greg is News Skeptic

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, News Skeptic

Are you saying his $48,000 includes his airline tickets and travel expenses, his rental car reimbursement, and the other expenses and perks he's entitled to? If so, then I agree the media has got this all wrong. But if those items are in addition to the $48,000, then it is you who are not being truthful. I suggest you see if he will accept a few thousand gallons of Rydlyme in compensation for his services, at the rate CUC paid for it, of course. Perhaps its unclogging properties will prove beneficial to him.

Anonymous said...

Rydlyme. It's what's for corruption.

News Skeptic said...

Yes, the $48,000 consists solely of reimbursement for the three categories specified in the contract -- airfare, car rental, and $100 per diem. There is no “additional” money, contrary to what the bald-faced liar masquerading as Truth would have us believe.

It's all there in black and white, crystal clear.

The Truth said...

Baka (Skeptic),

You are a terrible lawyer. I have never once stated how much Howard has gotten paid or reference how much he was contracted to make. I stated time and time again that the amount he was "reimbursed", "paid", "alloted", etc. is not of any importance to me (and a majority of the people I speak to). What is important is that he did receive money from our government. It is stated in his contract that it should be $4,000 a month payable every three months.

What has he been paid? It is anyones guess.

We don't know because you Baka have not followed the law and when asked and ordered did not release the proper documents that show the true value of what has been handed to him.

In the end it makes no difference how much he took in. What is important is that we were lied to by the governor who pulled a fast one and used a loophole to get Howard cash.

Get ye to the church!

Marianas Pride said...

Time to cash in on volunteerism everybody! Cha ching!

Anonymous said...

From Unheard No More:

Haughty, smug, and arrogant. All words that people have used to describe Howard's partner and wife, Deanne. Yet, in 1994, Deanne Siemer and her firm, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, were hit with a $500,000 legal malpractice judgment, finding that Pillsbury lawyers violated conflict-of-interest rules by siding against their own client, a lobbying firm.

From The Washington Post:

In a harshly worded opinion, Circuit Court Judge Jane Roush asserted that Siemer "willfully ignored" the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, and that the law firm shared the blame for failing to heed the warnings of junior associates that the "dual representation ... was rife with conflicts of interest."

According to trial testimony, when internal tensions erupted at the lobbying firm of Murphy & Demory (a District firm that is incorporated in Virginia), Pillsbury lawyers assisted one partner, retired Adm. Daniel Murphy, in his plans to take control of the small corporation or divert its clients to a new firm, leaving Murphy & Demory to "wither." At the time, Pillsbury lawyers represented Murphy & Demory as a corporation, the judge ruled, and owed their allegiance to the entire firm, rather than to any individual officer.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the lobbying firm and Willard L. Demory, the partner left behind when Murphy resigned to start a competing lobbying firm. In the midst of the feud between Demory and Murphy, Demory fired Pillsbury and hired John Dowd, of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Demory's lobbying firm later sued Murphy for breach of contract and Pillsbury for malpractice. The judge also awarded Demory's firm $1 million on his claims against Murphy.

Siemer, with Pillsbury since 1990 and a onetime partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, also was haunted at trial by her own ethics expertise. She has written a book, "Understanding Modern Ethical Standards," for the National Institute on Trial Advocacy, a nonprofit group that teaches young lawyers how to try cases. Known nationally as a fierce litigator, Siemer is now the institute's chair-elect.

This was not Siemer's first brush with ethical problems. In 1980, she resigned as a top Energy Department aide after an internal investigation concluded that her efforts to get the Energy Department to hire her stepson "appear to violate the federal laws against nepotism."

Attempting to hire her stepson? It is rumored that another child works for Jenner and Block which was selected as the law firm to handle the anti-federalization lawsuit for an estimated $50,000 a month. (I said rumored because this has not been verified, and I have no idea if this is true.)

The malpractice case was so notorious that it was featured in a legal textbook, "Lawyers Crossing Lines, Nine Stories," by James L. Kelley. The book is an ethics/responsibility casebook. The chapter entitled, Breaking Up is Hard to Do features the case with Siemer outlined above, and oddly enough the chapter about Siemer's case is online. From a comment on Amzaon.com where the book is being sold:

It is too easy to think that falling foul of the Bar Disciplinary Committee is the privilege of the solo or small law firm. Kelley shows that even nationally renowned law firms can get themselves in a terrible mess when the partners' eyes are on profits rather than ethics.

Is it ethical to claim you earn no salary and no compensation when you have a contract that says you receive no more than $48,000 annually? I don't think so.

Real Truth said...

Howard P. Willens should be only too happy to pay up to $48,000 per year in airfare, car rental, and food & lodging costs out of his own pocket for the privilege of flying out from Washington four times a year to work for us for free.

We're entitled to it!

The nerve of that guy, not wanting to spend a mere $48K per year for four years to serve us. What greed! What chutzpah!

He's almost 80 years old.

We need his money more than he does.

He owes us big time for the honor of doing Fitial's bidding.

If he wants to work for free, he'd darn well better pay exorbitantly for the right to help our Great Leader.

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