By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Criminal and administrative complaints this year were filed against convicted criminal Paul Salas, yet he still retains his job at the seaport, and his role in an illegal conspiracy against seven fired port workers has not been reviewed.
Mr. Salas has worked at the seaport's safety office for the past decade. His former boss was former port safety administrator Frank Roberto. We'll get back to Mr. Roberto's part in all this further down.
Ms. Salas used to be a seaport police officer until he was convicted of official misconduct for taking money from prostitutes visiting ships. This earned him the nickname, "The $50 man," because he would take $50 bribes from these women in return for letting them service the ships that would come in through the port.
Two years ago he was arrested for stealing toilet paper from the seaport.
His public employment continues despite these crimes against the people of Guam.
But it's Mr. Salas and Mr. Roberto's part in a conspiracy led by former seaport legal counsel Mike Phillips that truly darkens their criminal records.
Beginning in November 2012, the two seaport safety office employees began to be embroiled in an investigation into a worker's compensation claim made by then-port marketing administrator Bernadette Meno. From then and for years later, the pair conspired with Mr. Phillips and former seaport general manager Joanne Brown to shred legitimate documents and to falsify documents that would be used against Ms. Meno and six of her co-workers through seven years of slander and libel.
This year, Kandit obtained several secret recordings of Mr. Salas and Mr. Roberto taken between 2012 and 2013 that has them implicating themselves in the conspiracy with Mr. Phillips and Mr. Brown. They incriminate themselves several times in these recordings, telling each other - and in one instance in a phone conversation with Mr. Phillips - how they had shred evidence that would reveal that the Port 7 workers were innocent, falsified records in order to implicate the workers, and lied to investigators.
The recordings even shed light into the Attorney General's investigation itself, with Mr. Roberto telling Mr. Salas that he was one of the targets of the investigation.
These recordings were released to the public. They were aired on Kandit. They were even sent to local and federal authorities and to the seaport management.
At the start of Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's term this past January, the governor directed the seaport to investigate the matter because of the public scrutiny that was weary of Mr. Phillips and Ms. Brown's witch hunt.
Seaport general manager Rory Respicio conflicted himself out of the investigation, which then went to his deputy manager, gambling lord Connie Jo Brennan Shinohara.
Ms. Shinohara received the complaints that Kandit and Sen. Mary Torres filed, along with others. To this day, nothing has been done by Ms. Shinohara. The fact that these recordings exonerate the seven fired workers still has not affected the pace or the outcome of this investigation.
Ms. Shinohara actually has stalled efforts to restore justice to the seven workers, conspiring with Mr. Phillips and with seaport board member Anthony Chargualaf, Jr. to oppose the seven workers's long-overdue path to justice.
Mr. Phillips was Ms. Shinohara's attorney, when her actions during the Gutierrez administration were under federal investigation. She has not ever disclosed this conflict, nor has she disclosed the proceedings of her investigation or her communications with Mr. Phillips.
Kandit tried to secure these communications through a Freedom of Information Act demand for information; the seaport denied these communications and cited privilege, even though Mr. Phillips no longer is the seaport's employee.
As for Mr. Salas and his ability to keep his job: Mr. Salas was the Merizo village leader for Ms. Leon Guerrero's campaign and worked directly for Ms. Shinohara, who was the campaign's manager. His wife, Darlene Salas, works at the Governor's Central Files Office as a political appointee of the governor.
You may listen to four of the more serious recordings posted below: