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NEWS: Ill-gotten wealth leads to administrator's resignation

Janine and Joseph Guevara

By Troy Torres

(Tumon, Guam) A husband-wife duo allegedly made a fortune in the last couple years in real estate she marketed and sold as a realtor, for developments he approved as the government official signing off on permits. His boss opened an investigation into the matter, and he resigned his post.

Janine and Joseph Guevara own an oceanview home with a pool in Ipan, Talofofo.

A view of the Pacific Ocean from the pool-side balcony of the Guevaras's Ipan home

There are people who get rich from the blood, sweat, and tears of their honest hard work. And then there are the corporate corrupt, who benefit from the special favors, conflicts of interest, rule-bending, and law-breaking of government officials with regulatory authority.

Agencies like the Department of Public Works that have regulatory oversight of multi-million dollar industries can breed corruption between seedy businesses and regulatory officers, whom the business will pay off to receive special treatment. Sometimes the two interests are joined in marriage, literally.

Such seems to be the case in 2019, when then-DPW Building Inspector and Permit Administrator Joseph D. Guevara was signing off on the development permits for fast-rising residential subdivisions that his wife, Janine P. Guevara, listed, marketed, sold, and made a fortune off of the commission.

In the latest government of Guam staffing pattern, where Mr. Guevara is listed, his most recent annual salary is stated as $67,620. A current search of homes listed in Ipan reveal a sale range between $480,000 and $850,000 for homes in that area.

Ms. Guevara has had work experience over the years as a human resources worker at the University of Guam, an account executive with two media companies, and as a real estate agent. This is according to information she provided to the Guam Legislature for her confirmation to the board of the Department of Parks and Recreation during the Calvo Administration.

She currently is associated with Landmark Realty.

Last year, a whistleblower reported that Mr. Guevara allegedly was fast-tracking inspections and the approval of permits for one developer. The homes would then be listed and marketed by one real estate agent: his wife, Janine. The DPW director, Vincent Arriola, took action.

"In the Fall of 2019, the Department of Public Works (DPW) became aware of potential conflicts of interest involving Joseph Guevara," Mr. Arriola said in a statement to Kandit News. "At that time Mr. Guevara served as DPW's Building Inspection and Permit Administrator. DPW opened an investigation into Joseph Guevara. Mr. Guevara resigned from DPW in December 2019."

Kandit is awaiting DPW's response to our follow up inquiry on whether any findings came from its investigation, whether Mr. Guevara was forced to resign, and whether any recommendations have been made to the Office of the Public Auditor or to the Attorney General's Office.

The law forbids government employees from taking action that will personally benefit and enrich the employee making such decision.

This is the first in a series of stories regarding this seeming scam. Tomorrow we will bring you more regarding Ms. Guevara's association with Landmark Realty.

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