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NEWS: Torres sends stateside campaign t-shirts using public money

By Johnnie Rosario

(Tumon, Guam) Gov. Ralph Torres sent his Washington campaign chairwoman a box of campaign t-shirts using government-paid freight right before the election last year.

On September 7, 2018, Mr. Torres sent Dorothy Sablan a box of t-shirts, which he justified as MVA shirts via FedEx for $51. He applied for the reimbursement of those costs on September 13, 2018, and the reimbursement was approved by then-Secretary of Finance Larissa Larson.

It is illegal to use public funds for political campaign purposes.

Ms. Sablan is no stranger to crime.

According to Pacific Islands Report, she was former Congressman Stanley Torres's office manager and was indicted for receiving five fraudulent payroll checks totaling more than $5,000 for pay periods where she wasn't actually working.

According to Pacific Islands Report:

"Sablan allegedly received the first government check numbered 410066 in the amount of $461.54, between June 15 and 28. She allegedly received government check no. 412493 in the amount of $1,384.63 between June 29 and July 12; check nos. 414911 and 417358 both amounting to $1,538.48, between July 13 and 26 and July 27 and Aug. 9, respectively; and check no. 427140 in the amount of $461.54, between Sept. 7 and 20.
"OPA criminal investigator Richard Lamkin earlier accused Torres of employing Sablan as a ghost employee, who allegedly received CNMI paychecks via direct deposit to the Bank of Guam and the First Hawaiian Bank.
"'Investigation reveals that Dorothy Sablan has been paid for at least 280 hours of work recorded as if she was on-island even though she was off-island without being on administrative, annual or sick leave time,' Lamkin said, adding that Sablan had also unlawfully received government monies pertaining to 16 hours of holiday pay.
"Investigation cited by Lamkin showed that Sablan applied for a refund of her retirement contributions on March 4, 2003. She resigned from her post as Torres' office manager three days later. On March 19, Torres rehired her to work under the same position until Sept. 30. The Retirement Fund had approved and prepared a retirement refund check for Sablan on March 28 in the amount of $8,418.03." - date references to 2003.

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