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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Initial probe finds possible ethics violations by Bordallo

The House Ethics Committee has extended its investigation into possible ethics violations involving Guam’s delegate to Congress Madeleine Bordallo, who is accused of gaining personal profits from the Japanese government, accepting free gifts and lodging from a hotel owned by her relatives, and using congressional funds for unauthorized purposes.

“In order to gather additional information necessary to complete its review, the Committee will review the matter pursuant to Committee,” the ethics panel said in a statement released on Wednesday along with the preliminary investigation report.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the committee said.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed with the ethics committee on June 12, alleging that Bordallo violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law. Serving her 10th term as Guam delegate, Bordallo has been representing Guam in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003.

According to the initial report, the ethics board determined “there is substantial reason” to believe that Bordallo received profit from the Japanese government when she rented out her private home in Tamuning to the Japanese consulate. Bordallo is believed to have received approximately $800,000 in rental profit from Japan since March 11, 2008.

Bordallo acquired a residential property in Guam in 1990 and initiated a rental agreement with the Consul General of Japan in 1993, the report said.

“Since 2003, Del. Bordallo has disclosed her income from this rental property on her annual financial disclosure statements with the House of Representatives,” the report said. “Although the financial disclosure rules require a Member to report the amount of rental income generated from real property, there is no requirement to disclose the source of the rental payments, and thus no requirement to report the name of the tenant.”

The ethics panel will also take a further look into allegations that Bordallo received free lodging, meals, and amenities at the Outrigger Guam Beach Resort during her stay on Guam.

“Although Del. Bordallo started regularly staying at the Resort in 2003 during her first term in Congress, the (office of committee on ethics)

only reviewed Del. Bordallo’s accommodations at the Resort since March 11, 2008,” the report said.”

Outrigger Resort is owned by a series of corporate entities and trusts that are ultimately controlled by Bordallo’s nephew, nieces and was founded by her late brother-in-law Alfred Ysrael who was married to her sister Dianne.

Based on the board’s estimates applying government rate, Bordallo may have received $362,077.56 in free lodging, meals and other amenities during the total of 663 nights she has stayed at the Outrigger Resort.

“The board carefully considered the family relationships, the relevant corporate ownership structure, and applicable gift rule exceptions in this review,” the report said.

The ethics board, at the same time, recommends that the committee further review the allegation that Bordallo used official funds to pay for her lodging and meals at the Resort because there is substantial reason to believe that Bordallo used official funds for unauthorized purposes.

The board , however, recommended the dismissal of the allegations that Bordallo used her congressional staff to perform personal services related to maintaining her rental property in Guam and assisting a Guam-based beauty pageant, saying it found no substantial reason to support these claims.

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