THE owners of properties now occupied by Layon Landfill will soon receive additional compensation for their land.
On Wednesday, Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena issued an order for the payment of $21,705,683 plus 6 percent interest to the owners of the land occupied by the landfill. The interest was calculated from Jan. 24, 2008, which is the year the area in Malojloj was condemned.
The landowners include Alfred Ysrael and Diane Ysrael, Joaquin C. Arriola, Lee Holmes and Joan Holmes, Calvo’s Insurance Underwriters, and Oxford Properties & Finance Ltd.
The property owners were originally seeking more than $100 million in compensation after GovGuam exercised its eminent domain authority to condemn a total of 1,382,482 square meters of land. The move was in pursuant to the Consent Decree issued by the District Court of Guam.
According to court documents, the property owners estimated the value of their properties at $25 per square meter or between $185 million to $300 million. However, the court found the value estimates too high and determined the “just compensation” at $25,115,683. Some $3.4 million has already been set aside, thus bringing the cost down to $21.7 million plus the 6 percent.
Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz is concerned about the order.
“We set aside from the bond $3.4 million because that’s what we were told it’s going to cost. We didn’t expect the decision from the Superior Court that it was worth $25 million. We had been assured by everybody that it wasn’t going to be, except for those who were opposed to this move from the beginning and telling everybody this was a bad idea,” Cruz said, referring to the choice of Layon as the new landfill.
Cruz stressed the decision to choose Layon as the site of the new landfill was “ill-advised.”
“And now it’s coming into fruition that it’s more costly and I understand fees are going up in servicing the bond,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office was pleased with the outcome of the case.
“We prevailed with all legal arguments presented in court,” stated Carlina Charfauros, spokesperson for the AGO.
Governor’s legal counsel Maria Cenzon said, though, that the Governor’s Office will still have to review the court order before it can decide on a funding resource.
“We have to look whether or not funding is available under the solid waste bond. I’m not sure how much is left in that bond because I know that a lot of it is going obviously to the landfill. Again, we’ll be talking with GEDA and our finance person if that’s the route we want to go in paying out the judgment and not seeking out appeal,” she said.