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Lawyer says he repaid Hillbroom Trust over $2 million

GUAM lawyer David J. Lujan said he has repaid $2,003,779 to the Junior Larry Hillbroom Trust.

Lujan is one of two lawyers being sued by Hillbroom for malpractice in the District Court for the NMI.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven heirs of DHL Corp. founder Larry Lee Hillblom who died in a plane crash in 1995 near Saipan, leaving behind an estate estimated at about $600 million.

David J. Lujan

Barry Israel and David Lujan represented Hillbroom when he was a minor in securing $90 million from the Hillblom estate. When he became an adult he sued his former lawyers for malpractice as well as Keith Waibel, trustee of Hillbroom’s trust, for conspiracy.

In Lujan’s declaration in support of the motion for summary judgment filed by Israel, Lujan said at no time did he exert any influence over Naoko Imeong, Hillbroom’s grandmother and his legal guardian until 1999 when Waibel was appointed his guardian.

Lujan said “Imeong was fiercely independent and a strong-willed matriarch of her family.”

As counsel to her in her role as guardian and guardian ad litem for Hillbroom or JLH, Lujan said he “provided her advice and counsel and I was certainly a resource for her from whom she sought counsel for Junior and her family.”

But Lujan said he never used his position of trust to influence or take advantage of Imeong.

“In fact, for as often as she would accept my counsel, she would also challenge my recommendations and make decisions without my advice.”

Lujan said he prepared the document for Imeong’s joinder as co-guardian for JLH. He said he then submitted the joinder with the ex-parte application to approve an amended retainer fee agreement to the Guam Guardianship Court.

Prior to Imeong signing the joinder, Lujan said he met with her to discuss the 56 percent retainer and her joinder. She was satisfied, the lawyer added.

Imeong then “of her own accord willingly and voluntarily signed the joinder in his presence,” Lujan said.

“Had Naoko refused to sign the joinder, that would have been the last word, as I did not have the ability to force, coerce or influence her to do so.”

The lawyer said he knows “of no instance where undue influence was imposed upon Imeong to force or coerce her decision making for Junior, as his grandmother, guardian, and trust protector….”

Rather, he added, as the matriarchal leader of JLH’s family, Imeong would dictate what JLH and the family needed with regard to finances.

He said funds from JLH’s inheritance were not used to influence Imeong, “but any funds from JLH’s inheritance that were provided to Imeong and her husband Marciano were done so at Imeong’s specific request and approved by the Guam Guardianship Court and then by Keith Waibel as trustee.”

Lujan said “at no time was the Guam Guardianship Court bribed to approve the 56 percent retainer.”

He added, “I negotiated the 56 percent retainer while I was on Guam. Once Trustee Waibel, Barry Israel and I agreed on the terms of the 56 percent retainer, I signed Barry Israel’s name to it pursuant to his authorization.”

Regarding the Oct. 18, 2001 trustee’s report to the protectors, Lujan said he had no involvement or input in its drafting or content.

He said as Waibel testified at his deposition, Waibel was the sole drafter of the Oct. 2001 trustee’s report.

“I did not tell or instruct Waibel what to put in this report, nor did Waibel ask me what should be in this report and I am not aware of anyone else instructing or coercing Waibel to put certain content in this report,” Lujan said.

He said he received the Oct. 18, 2001 trustee’s report to the protectors from Waibel at a meeting on Guam.

Lujan said upon receiving the report, he reviewed it. “Its content appeared accurate to me based on my own knowledge of what JLH had received from his father’s estate and what was being done to maximize the value of JHL’s interests in the unliquidated assets from his father’s estate. At the time, I had no reason to believe that the statements and representations in the report were false or intended to deceive the protectors; and I still have no reason to believe the report was not accurate and truthful.”

But “when Waibel asked me to return my copy of the report to him, I refused to do so,” Lujan said.

He resigned as co-counsel for the JLH Trust and as its trustee in the first half of 2002.

According to Lujan, Waibel attempted to implicate him in an investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office into corruption on Guam.

He said the USAO informed his attorney in Hawaii that its investigation on him “found the allegations to be without merit.”

Lujan said he filed a lawsuit against JHL and Waibel in Guam Superior Court for failure to pay attorney’s fees for his representation of JLH’s trust.

According to the lawyer, during the litigation, he obtained bank records through discovery for JLH Trust’s bank account at First Hawaiian Bank.

Lujan said these bank records were offered as exhibit at the deposition of Waibel.

Lujan added that he reviewed the accounting documents that Roger Slater created at JLH and Waibel’s instruction “when they were scheming to file this frivolous lawsuit.”

He said Roger Slater’s accounting documents do not include the $2,003,779 that Lujan repaid to the JLH Trust.

“I presume this is because JLH and Waibel never told Roger Slater of this and did not provide Slater with the documentation showing this repayment.”

Lujan’s declaration did not say why he repaid the JLH Trust.

Hillbroom has alleged that the defendants connived to sell out his interests in his recoveries from his father’s estate by getting the JLH Trust fee agreement approved.

In their motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Lujan and Israel said “rather than appealing in Guam as he was required to do, [the plaintiff] is engaged in untimely forum shopping by asking this court to overrule a multitude of Guam court orders and to take away fees and expense payments expressly approved by the Guam court and made final years ago.”

When the Guam court approved the fee agreement on Sept. 6, 2001, neither JLH nor the guardians appealed, the defendants added.