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NEWS: Guevara approved incomplete inspections; developers bypassed the law

By Troy Torres

(Tumon, Guam) Former Department of Public Works permit administrator Joseph Guevara approved developments and occupancy permits for multiple construction projects, where several required regulatory bodies were skipped in the permitting process. DPW director Vince Arriola on Thursday released records of developments signed off by Mr. Guevara between 2018 and 2020, which ended up involving his wife, Janine Guevara.

One of the regulatory bodies commonly skipped for inspection and approval of digging was the office of Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Officer. According to DPW officials, these actions were contrary to law, but authorized by the Calvo administration. The practice stopped during the Leon Guerrero administration, under the leadership of DPW director Vince Arriola.

All of the permits and approval checklists were for developments, where Mr. Guevara's wife, real estate agent and Democratic senatorial candidate Janine Guevara, ended up being the sole lister, marketer, and seller of the homes. She and the broker she works for, Landmark Realty, made hefty commissions from the sales.

Another agency frequently skipped in the occupancy permits for these particular developments is the Guam Fire Department, whose Fire Prevention Bureau inspectors are known for their meticulous attention to fire code compliance in developments and in their inspection of other matters.

Also skipped routinely? DPW's highway division, which checks for encroachments of developments on public easements or other people's property.

Ordinarily, DPW's permit office issues a checklist to developers of agencies and regulatory bodies that must sign off on developments prior to final approval for occupancy by DPW. An occupancy permit should not be issued without all of the agencies required by DPW for clearances signing off throughout the process. Mr. Guevara was the final signatory, and was able to issue the permits even when not all of the agencies required signed for clearance.

According to the documents, the developments happened in Barrigada, Yigo, Dededo, Mangilao, and Talofofo.

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