San Nicolas, Respicio trade barbs over Guam Congress BuildingWritten by Janela Carrera
Guam - A fiery exchange filled the airwaves this morning on News Talk K57 between former Senator Rory Respicio and Senator Mike San Nicolas as the two duked it out over the handling of change orders for the newly restored Guam Congress building. The former is the previous Committee on Rules chairman and the latter is the current chairman on Rules.
The two collided this morning as the former rules chairman and current rules chairman traded barbs over the discovery of $1.2 million in change orders for the newly restored Guam Congress building.
Yesterday, San Nicolas held a press conference to announce that he will conduct an investigation into these change orders that include $430,000 for furniture, $250,000 for an audio/visual system and $130,000 for landscaping. During his press conference, San Nicolas point out that the change orders were ordered by the previous rules chairman, Respicio.
"When I spoke to the Historic Preservation Trust folks, they told me that they would not have given the occupancy permit if they didn’t feel that they were being pressured to do so and that behavior is also what’s worrying me about procuring these items. I’m worried that these things might have been ordered under a pressure environment that was outside the procurement process and I’m not gonna sign off on something that was not done properly," lamented San Nicolas.
Respicio replied: "Really? So you’re gonna keep making allegations?"
"I want to make sure that things are done properly," San Nicolas said.
"That’s the legacy you’ve left for our community. You’re constantly bringing things up, throwing things out and then walking away from it," responded Respicio.
Respicio lashed at San Nicolas for what he called spreading misinformation. But San Nicolas defended his action, noting that he’s simply calling for an investigation into these change orders.
"That’s my problem with you. You’re impugning the integrity and the character of people who are working at this. You’re issue is with the preservation trust, they pressured to get an occupancy permit, so now you’re saying that [Department of Public Works] issued occupancy permits under pressure. Every time you talk you bring someone down. Why don’t you bring people up? All you do is bring people down," argued Repicio.
"You rushed us in there because you’re on your way out the door, Rory and that kind of fast track behavior is exactly what I’m trying to make sure we’re not going to make our people suffer from. When it comes to the procurement of the furniture, fixtures and equipment for the building--" said San Nicolas.
"Rushed us out of there because the lease was ending at the end of the legislature I didn’t think that we should be in that building another day after the inauguration ... Mike, I just don’t like how you throw things out there. You impugn the integrity and the character of the people, myself included, and then you say, ‘Oh, I’m not alleging anything, I just want an investigation,'" Respicio fired back.
"If you feel impugned, Rory, that’s, on you. But all I’m saying is these are the facts: $430,000 in furniture in the change order is not something that looks good on a spreadsheet and I’m going to investigate it," San Nicolas answered.
Joe Quinata, Chief Program Officer for the Guam Preservation Trust, which is tasked with the restoration of the old congress building, later clarified that all of the items listed in the change orders are within the scope of what is needed for the new Guam Congress Building.