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Crime doesn’t pay but bad behavior does


Tall Tales By Robert Klitzkie  

Two hundred grand is a lot of money. Rory Respicio, general manager of the Port Authority of Guam, will be forking over that sum to Frank “Ko” San Nicolas as the finale of one of the sleaziest sagas we’ve witnessed since the Blue House scandal. 


Ko, who held himself out as a suruhanu, was accused of rape by two women. Two women testified that they trusted Ko as a suruhanu, allowing Ko to take advantage of the community reputation of a historically and culturally significant title in our community.


As at least a prima facie suruhanu, Ko was able to lure the two women to a cave where he had sex with them based on Ko’s providing “spiritual healing” to one woman and the opportunity to “connect with her ancestors” to the other.


According to counsel at trial, “He fooled her, made her believe nothing sexual was going to happen, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the key — there was no consent.” 


The women accused Ko of rape. The cases went to trial. Two additional women testified that Ko had done the same thing to them. Not guilty verdicts were based on a finding that the women had consented to Ko’s having sex with them. The cases were initiated by magistrate complaints where orders were issued barring Ko from carrying a gun and placing him on house arrest. So, as a port police officer, Ko couldn’t carry a gun nor come to work for two years. That is the reason Ko was fired at the Port…not because he was a rapist.  


KUAM reported: “Port General Manager Rory Respicio told the board today San Nicolas was not wrongfully terminated, as his firing was a result of the magistrate complaints, and the court order that he could no longer carry a gun and was placed on house arrest.”  


In short, Ko was fired because he couldn’t come to work. 


Ko appealed his firings to the Civil Service Commission. The port authority could have pursued the matter before the commission proving the court orders that Ko couldn’t come to work and, even if he could, he couldn’t be armed; such proof being arguably sufficient for the port authority to prevail; the “not guilty” verdicts being legally irrelevant to Ko’s termination.  


Had Rory not rushed to throw in the towel, the port authority could have pursued mitigation of damages at the CSC.


Were Ko unable to show that he had made a bona fide attempt to find comparable employment, he would not have been entitled to back pay of $156,764.65. If Ko had mitigated, money earned at any job would have been set off against back pay of $156,764.65. Of course, had the port authority prevailed at the CSC, there’d have been no attorney fees, ca. $40,000, either. 


The port board approved the settlement after Rory reminded them of “the Port Seven.” 


The Guam Daily Post reported, “Respicio added any further action could bring them to court, which he said reminded him of the "Port 7." At Rory’s first Board meeting after his appointment as general manager, he signaled settlement of the pending cases of six of the seven fired Port employees (the Port Seven); ultimately doing exactly that at a cost of hundreds of thousands to us. 


In the final analysis, Ko, who by his conduct besmirched the community reputation of the suruhanus on Guam, saw his sleazy conduct at the cave become a subject of public discussion and didn’t exactly bring honor and glory to the port authority, could have lost at the CSC. But because the port is managed by an apparently settlement-happy Rory Respicio, it appears that Frank “Ko” San Nicolas will walk away with $156,764.65 at our expense, plus another $40,000 in attorneys’ fees. 


Bottom line: Frank “Ko” San Nicolas is the Port police officer who made sleaze pay off, and Rory “Settlement” Respicio made it possible. Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. 


   Bob Klitzkie is a former senator and Superior Court of Guam judge pro tem. He hosts the talk show, “Tall Tales,” on KUSG-FM (93.3 FM) weekday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. Send feedback to klitzkie@hotmail.com.

 



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