New Records Confirm Ownership of Seminary Land
By Jasmine Stole
Guam Daily Post
March 21, 2016
The Archdiocese of Agana issued a statement on March 18 following the issuance of new certificates of title from the Department of Land Management and church officials said the new certificates “once again” confirm the archbishop owns the Yona land under the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
The statement from the archdiocese contradicts what former Sen. Robert Klitzkie said about the new certificates of title. Klitzkie told the Post that the new titles, now with memorials that state the Declaration of Deed Restriction is in favor of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary as a nonprofit corporation, means that the property belongs to the seminary, not the archbishop. Klitzkie’s letter to Department of Land Management about the erroneous certificates of titles prompted the department to issue new certificates.
The Declaration of Deed Restriction states that the property shall be dedicated, to and for the use, of the seminary, a nonprofit corporation.
The archdiocese’s statement from March 18 said the four former certificates of title for the Yona property were canceled and the canceled certificates of title “did not include the Declaration of Deed Restriction.” However, the canceled titles did include the Declaration of Deed Restriction in the memorials section. The change in certificates is under the “in favor of” column. Department of Land Management changed the certificates in that respect and removed Archbishop Antony Apuron and replaced it with Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
The archdiocese also stated “the Director of Land Management and Registrar of Titles, Michael Borja, determined that the proper way to proceed with this memorialization was to cancel the former Certificates of Title,” as part of a formal process.
DLM issued a statement last week Thursday and said they and the legal counsel for the archbishop concluded the cancellation of the certificates of title and the process was conducted with the direction provided by the Office of the Attorney General.
“The issuance of the new Certificates of Titles did not change the Department of Land Management’s certification of ownership; the Archbishop of Agana is the owner of the property, and the certification is dated March 15, 2016,” the archdiocese statement said.
Matter for the courts?
Klitzkie said the new certificates should have been a matter resolved in open court, and cited Title 21 Guam Code Annotated subsection 29159. Borja wrote a letter to Klitzkie in Jan. 20 that said there was paperwork to file a petition in the Superior Court of Guam, as stated in GCA subsection 29159, regarding the property’s title certificates.
However, OAG Attorney Kristan Finney said the matter was resolved in accordance with 21 GCA subsection 29160.
In a letter to Borja dated March 21, Klitzkie wrote, “It is now clear that you never had the petition and other associated documents that the Attorney General of Guam advised you to file with the Superior Court because they never existed.” Klitzkie received a letter from Borja that said DLM did not have documents Klitzkie sought through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The latest is part of a convoluted dispute between the Archdiocese of Agana top officials and local Catholics who have been unhappy with the leadership of the Archbishop Anthony Apuron, his ties with the Neocatechumenal Way and debated over ownership and control of Yona property.
“The release of these new certificates did not change the ownership of the Seminary Property, but more accurately describes all the pertinent information recorded; the owner of the Seminary property is the Archbishop of Agana, A Corporation Sole; that has not changed since the day the property was acquired for the seminary,” said Vicar General David Quitugua, in the archdiocese statement.
The archdiocese has said other entities including Bishop Arieta of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, and attorneys Lewis Roca Rothgerber and Jacqueline Terlaje have supported their statements that Apuron owns the seminary land.
However, local property attorney Jacques Bronze opined the property was not in control of the archbishop. Bronze was hired by Concerned Catholics of Guam, who have openly displayed dismay with Apuron and called for his resignation.