Girard Sharp Represents Ancestral Landowners in Guam
SAN FRANCISCO, January 20, 2015 — The law firm of Girard Sharp and co-counsel The Law Offices of Ignacio Cruz Aguigui have filed a class action complaint on behalf of Benny Crawford, a native citizen of Guam, and other ancestral landowners of the property now used for the operation of the A.B. Won Pat International Airport in the Tiyan region of Guam.
According to the complaint, during and immediately after World War II, the United States retained substantial amounts of land on Guam for military purposes and the original native landowners were unable to regain their property. The United States has since transferred portions of these lands that it no longer needs to Guam and while Guam has returned some of the lands to their ancestral landowners, the original landowners of the airport property have not had their lands returned and have not received compensation from Guam. By filing this lawsuit, Plaintiff Vicente “Benny” Palacios Crawford seeks an order compelling the Government of Guam, the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission, and the Guam International Airport Authority to implement procedures to ensure class members receive proper compensation for their land.
Benny Crawford is a lifelong resident of Guam. He has served as a representative for ancestral landowners in numerous organizations, including as chairman of Guam Landowners United and the Tiyan Taskforce. “I want the ancestral landowners to be treated fairly and get the compensation they deserve,” said Mr. Crawford.
“The ancestral landowners have waited long enough,” said Daniel C. Girard, managing partner of Girard Sharp. “While the airport generates millions in revenues each year through its use of the ancestral landowners’ properties, Guam has not provided any compensation to the original landowners or their heirs.”
Girard Sharp previously filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Guam residents, challenging the Government of Guam’s failure to pay tax refunds to its taxpayers on time. The lawsuit resulted in a Court ruling the Government of Guam pay income tax refunds in a fair and timely manner going forward.