Heuter files new complaint over misuse of COVID-19 funding
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Over the weekend, local resident, Steven Jay Pincus Hueter filed another official complaint through the U.S. government’s online complaint portal, this time with the US Interior’s Office of Inspector General.
Dated, Saturday, July 25, 2020 — broadly it alleges misuse of taxpayer funds and violations of civil and constitutional rights by Gov. Lolo M. Moliga and the American Samoa Government including members of the admin — the Lt. Governor, Chief of Staff, chairman of the Coronavirus Task Force — and the Judiciary of American Samoa and “(Possibly) Chief Justice of the High Court – F. Michael Kruse.”
In addition to naming himself as a victim, Hueter also names as victims the U.S. Department of the Treasury CARES Act COVID-19 funds, and “all individuals discriminated against and deprived Constitutional rights, civil rights, statutory rights, civil liberties, within the borders of coronavirus free American Samoa – with the exception of the priviliged [sic] group of individuals exempt from the restrictions that are associated with the company Starkist and its documented business affiliates.”
The complaint says after March 17, 2020, the governor and the listed officials “Potentially improperly” gave $500,000 in CARES Act Covid-19 public health emergency funds to the High Court of American Samoa and “possibly to the Chief Justice of the High Court – F.Michael Kruse,” who on July 10, 2020, verbally ordered plaintiff Steven Jay Pincus Hueter “do not go to church after 9PM and before 5AM.”
Hueter alleges this violated his rights to freedom of religious expression and the right to peacefully and peaceable assemble publicly as well as to equal Protection under the law — as Plaintiff is not one of the privileged group of individuals exempt from the restrictions.
He writes in the complaint, the governor, by giving $500,000 to the Judiciary of American Samoa, has violated the laws of the United States as well as violating the American Samoa Bar Association’s judicial code of conduct.
The document alleges the governor ‘gave’ the funds to the Judiciary, the Judiciary “has not received a grant,” and in doing this “the Judiciary, including the High Court of American Samoa, has possibly not avoided either impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in accepting $500,000 from the Governor, and not immediately returning it, and potentially violated the requirements of impartiality and at least the appearance of impartiality of the Judiciary as required by the American Bar Association Judicial Code of Conduct.”
Also in the complaint, Heuter writes that his earlier complaint made through the U.S. Treasury Office of Inspector General’s online portal elicited a response from Richard Delmar, Deputy Inspector General who wrote a letter on July 14, 2020, to the Government of American Samoa, ruling that all the funds given to the American Samoa House and Senate for “offices” had to be returned.
Heuter names the Senate of American Samoa, Senate President, Gaoteote Palaie Tofau Gaoteote, and members of the local media as other individuals who “might be aware of the wrongdoing,” that he says come from openly admitted statements of fact by Governor Lolo to the press and via letter to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
He mentions "funds to the Judiciary for which no amount was named and the governor also noted complaints and lawsuits by local residents are pending over current COVID-19 restrictions to protect American Samoa. The letter was written on July 20, 2020, prior to Deputy IG Delmer’s ruling that the funds entrusted to lawmakers for offices must be returned to Treasury.
Heuter told Samoa News via email that on Friday, July 24 he sent a similar complaint to the FBI “tip line” and included all documents referenced in this report.
In all of his complaints and filings, Heuter bases his claims on the fact that American Samoa has never had within its borders any coronavirus or COVID-19 and therefore the COVID-19 declarations violate the Constitutional Rights, Civil Rights, Statutory Rights, Civil Liberties, and threatened the rights of Habeas Corpus by the following:
a) The First Amendment of The Constitution of the United States - Right To Freedom Of Religious Expression and Rights To Peaceful and peaceable public assembly
b) The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States - Due Process, Rights and Privileges Of Habeas Corpus
c) The Fourteenth Amendment of Constitution of the United States - Due Process
d) Article IV of the Constitution of the United States - Equal Protection Under The Law