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Guam - The first man to ever be sued by the Guam Environmental Protection Agency has given the Pacific News Center an exclusive interview. Joseph Taitano tells PNC that he is being persecuted by the government of Guam because of a land dispute with the Calvo family. Meanwhile he and his wife are expected in court for GEPA lawsuit tomorrow.
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"I'm Josesph S. Taitano and I'm running for candidate for mayor of Yigo,” said Taitano confidently. If Taitano's name sounds familiar it's because he is the same man who is being sued by the Guam Environmental Protection Agency for operating an illegal dump on his property in Yigo. It's the same dump that caught fire a couple of years ago burning for weeks and causing the evacuation of the entire area. He has been issued notices of violation and is now being sued by GEPA but he believes it is all a form of malicious prosecution. "All these directors appointed by the governor look at how many directors now Ivan Quinata, Cruz, and then this one now because I think every time they have a director that doesn't prosecute me they fired them get another one fired them get another one fire them get another one fired them get another fired them get another one that's how the circle is,” said Taitano.
"So why are people doing this to you then?” asked PNC. “Well jealousy is one, two is because I beat Calvo in the supreme court and I'm going to beat Ysrael I want Ysrael out of my property,” said Taitano.
He says this all stems back to a dispute over the property at gun beach. He says his great grandmother Edevize Espinosa Torres and her brothers and sisters owned this entire area on both sides of two lovers point and have deeds dating back to the early 1900's. They never recorded the property with land management and he alleges that back when Governor Eddie Calvo's father Paul Calvo was governor the Calvo family had the property improperly recorded at land management under their names. The property has since been sold and some now belongs to the Ysrael family. Taitano points to a supreme court decision in 2008's Taitano vs. Calvo finance corp. In it the court essentially determined that the land registration decree is "void and can be challenged at any time. Taitano says this decision has placed a cloud on the land title making it impossible for anyone to develop a hotel on the property and this is why the Calvo administration is after him.
"The fact remains that EPA did fine you for having an illegal dump and did fine you for having a fire on the illegal dump,” said PNC to Taitano. “Yes I cleaned that up already I cleaned up every piece of illegal dumping there there's no illegal dumping it's cleaned I cleaned it up," replied Taitano adding, "Why are they still coming after me?"
Guam EPA spokeswoman Tammy Andersen-Taft says they're still going after him because there is still illegally dumped solid waste and hard fill material on the property and he still broke the law. "This case is not closed and we do not consider it closed and we are just at the beginning of this court battle and from our perspective we have a solid case and we hope to take it to a successful conclusion,” said Taft.
This civil law suit is a first of its kind for GovGuam. the Taitanos face $250 thousand in damages, $3.6 million in penalties per person, as well as other clean up costs to remove waste, close the dump site and pay for a future monitoring plan.
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