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Their majesties's $26K Hawaii Gold first-class trip to D.C.

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

By Nancy I. Maanao


(Tumon, Guam) Gov. Ralph Torres and his wife, Diann, were scheduled to fly to Kona, Hawaii on December 9, 2018, for a junket with the Western Governors Association. The first class airline seats from Saipan to Guam to Honolulu and back cost the Commonwealth's taxpayers $12,278.50.


Travel documents leaked to Kandit News, however, reveal that while on another trip in Japan on December 4, 2018, Mr. and Ms. Torres had their itinerary changed to divert to Washington, D.C., doubling the cost taxpayers forked out for their first class travel and luxurious hotel and car accommodations.


The total pricetag, including the penalties for the last-minute change that was not authorized until after the trip happened?: $25,653.33!


The gubernatorial couple each flew 16 separate times throughout that trip on premium class fare - first class on the bigger planes, and business class on the planes that didn't have first class seats. Under CNMI law, this is illegal; the Torres's and anyone who was involved in authorizing their travel and reimbursements for their expenses are liable to the CNMI taxpayers for $32,000 in fines.


The authorizing official? Lt. Governor Arnold Palacios. And while the travel authorizations bear the printed name of director of finance and accounting Bernadita Palacios, the signature above her name belongs to Secretary of Finace David Atalig.


The first family's pre-Christmas tour took them from Haneda to Chicago, Washington, D.C, San Francisco, Honolulu, Kona, Guam and then back to Saipan by December 15.


During the trip, they stayed at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel in Kona, the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, the five-star Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, and the Hotel Santa Fe in Guam.


The couple received a daily $250 in per diem from the taxpayers, which means that Gov. Torres received $125 per day and his wife - a non-elected citizen who is not even a government employee - also received a $125 per diem (each day).


Their hotel accommodations were paid separately, as was the $829.83 spent for their car rental and valet parking services. In addition, they were paid a $1551.31 travel advance, and were reimbursed $1,391.97 in overages from fine dining, Macy's shopping, alcohol purchases, and other personal expenses conducted during the travel period.


The travel authorization amendment was submitted and approved by Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios this year in March, just as the governor began a propaganda campaign to implement his austerity program that had threatened the jobs of 524 CNMI government employees.



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fishsauce- Check out today's Variety article. They can't even figure out the name of the company they're talking about. First it's InteliSecure then it becomes InteliSource. Wonder what the monorail scam is here. http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/117468-us-cyber-security-firm-to-open-operation-center-on-saipan

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fishsauce- Century Travel is a garment-era Tan company. They're good at "working with" the CNMI government. Without any specific knowledge, purely speculating, it's likely that they give kickbacks (maybe free travel) to the people doing the booking through them. Expedia and Orbitz do the same thing, giving incentives to travel bookers (even if not traveling themselves), just in a more transparent way.

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To the commenter fuckme, don't even waste your breath talking about the Marianas Variety as a newspaper. It could be best described as something to wrap fish in or use as taki wipe.

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The Royal Orchid in Kona is where Nancy Pelosi usually stays around Christmas time and that hotel is a high end hotel. What I would like to know is who is the relative or connection at Century Travel? Why not have Angel earn his pay (for once) and book the reservations directly with the airlines and the hotels & the rental car companies. Or use the MVA's travel connections and save some money. This whole Sir Ralph & Princess Diann mentality is sickening to say the least, especially considering how the average person on island has to struggle to make ends meet.

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Like the people who rob a store and take all the Twinkies and Thunderbird, Ralphie is showing his trashiness with what hotels he chooses to spend his ill-gotten gains. The Ala Moana? The Santa Fe? Half the rooms in those places are rented out by pimps. And that Marriott in DC is nowhere near a five-star. It's a convention hotel, which means Ralph was "attending a conference" without even getting out of bed to sweep off the Cheeto crumbs.

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