Members of the Legislature are in a closed-door meeting Monday morning to discuss an ethics complaint against Sen. James Espaldon.
The meeting is being held at an Office of Public Accountability’s conference room at the DNA building in Hagåtña.
Perry Joseph Guerrero, a staffer with Sen. Fernando Esteves, said the meeting is closed, based on the Legislature’s Ethics Committee’s standing rules and the request of Espaldon to keep it private.
The Pacific Daily News asked to attend the meeting, based on the Open Government Law, but the request was denied, citing legislative rules.
The PDN objected to the closure of the meeting and asked the committee to take a recess to consider the newspaper’s request, however, it was told the committee would only accept such an objection later, in writing.
The Legislature’s Ethics Committee decided to conduct a full investigation into an ethics complaint filed against Espaldon and his alleged involvement in a failed government contract in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
“The investigative hearing will be held to provide a meaningful opportunity for Sen. Espaldon to respond to the complaint and to gather any additional evidence in the matter,” the Committee on Ethics and Standards stated in an earlier press release.
According to the release, Espaldon, the minority leader, and his accuser, Saipan Rep. Edwin Propst, were notified of the investigative hearing, which would be held behind closed doors. The committee has maintained its closed-door policy throughout the proceedings.
Propst accused Espaldon, as chief negotiator, of perpetuating a false claim that the company he represented…