Guam Daily Post
March 10, 2021
By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert
Photo Above — APPEAL: The Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica as seen Thursday Feb. 25, 2021 in Hagåtña. The Archdiocese of Agana is appealing a court decision that upholds the Small Business Administration’s denial of their application for the Paycheck Protection Program. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post
The Archdiocese of Agana appealed a federal court ruling denying its efforts to secure a pandemic-era loan through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
The archdiocese, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2019, maintains its eligibility to receive PPP even as the court granted SBA’s motion for summary judgment.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, in her earlier ruling, sided with the SBA, which denied the archdiocese’s PPP application because of its bankruptcy status.
The archdiocese sought bankruptcy protection to settle more than $1 billion in claims from Guam clergy sex abuse claimants, now nearing 300, while also keeping Catholic schools and parishes open.
The COVID-19 pandemic further impacted the archdiocese’s finances so it applied for a PPP loan to keep its payroll.
Archdiocese attorneys Bruce Anderson, Ford Elsaesser and John Terlaje identified three issues on appeal:
- Whether the District Court of Guam, Bankruptcy Division, erred in determining that as a matter of law, the SBA did not exceed its statutory authority when it excluded bankruptcy debtors in the PPP.
- Whether the District Court of Guam, Bankruptcy Division, erred in concluding that as a matter of law, the SBA did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it excluded bankruptcy debtors in the PPP.
- Whether the District Court of Guam, Bankruptcy Division, erred in determining that as a matter of law, the SBA did not violate Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code. This pertains to protection against discriminatory treatment.
The archdiocese said earlier that there are similar appeals pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere.