Wise Owl Animal Hospital is a Deadbeat Tenant

Consolidated Unlawful Detainer Hearing - 8 April 2016

In July 2015, Tri-Mani LLC bought the building that Wise Owl leases. The old owner sold it as he was tired of dealing with Dr Joel Joseph's nonsense and non-payment of rent. The new owner hasn't fared any better and hasn't been paid July through December's rent. The rent at $3500/month (43 cents/ft2) is hardly exorbitant. It's a bargain given its highly visible location in Tamuning. On the other hand, not paying any rent at all will nicely finance the airfare and registration for Wise Owl's staff to attend the World Small Animal Veterinary Conference every year.

Only since suit has been filed has Dr Joseph paid anything. The first trial date was cancelled when Dr Joseph claimed that the envelope given to him by the process server was empty.


Trial was held in Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III courtroom on the second floor. The owner sued both for back rent and the eviction of Wise Owl Animal Hospital from the building as Dr Joseph was in default of the lease terms. On 4 August 2016 came the decision - CV0949-15;CV1182-15 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (PDF) - evicting Wise Owl Animal Hospital from the premises within 30 days. At least this will end the nonsense of having the building deemed a Rabies Quarantine Facility, moreso since his spear carrier in the Legislature, Rory Respicio, lost his seat.

Status Hearing - 29 August 2016

Plaintiffs (Tri-Mani LLC) asked for Dr Joseph to at least vacate the residential portion of the premises by the 4 September deadline. Dr Joseph's attorney, Todd Thompson, objected as Dr Joseph will be off-island until 8 September. Plaintiffs agreed to a one-month extension on both residential and commercial portions provided the fair market rent of $6200 was paid. Atty Thompson also argued that closure on 4 September would place an undue hardship both on his client and "that 80% of the animals that receive veterinary care are Dr Joseph's clients." Without an audit of each clinic's appointment calendar, that's a very hard claim to prove or disprove. Health Certificates (HC), on the other hand, required before an animal can be transported off island, are a mainstay of every clinic's business. The relative number of HCs issued by each clinic is a fair approximation of their client numbers. A Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Agriculture is in process to obtain a six month statistical summary of HC filings.

As to being off-island until 8 September, Agriculture Department records list HCs signed by Dr Joel Joseph on 31 August, two days after the hearing. No doubt Dr Joel Joseph misrepresented to his attorney that he was off-island. Otherwise Todd Thompson would be party to perpetrating a fraud upon the court.

New Facility Shadiness

After the newspapers announced that Wise Owl was being evicted, Dr Joel Joseph went into damage control mode to reassure clients that Wise Owl would still be able to take care of their pets. He announced that a renovated facility at a new location - long in the works - would be open for business before the 4 September deadline. It's at 705 S Marine Corps Dr, Tamuning, in the former SWCA building next to Century 21 and across the street from Megabyte Computers.

The building is indeed being renovated (right interior, left interior, rear exterior)*. Unfortunately it's not being done legally. Dr Joel Joseph failed to submit renovation plans to the Department of Public Works (DPW) and obtain a building permit. Anyone who rails against GovGuam corruption as much as Dr Joseph does should at least appear to obey the law themselves. One of his main contractors, David Diggs, lacks a contractor's license. David's also facing charges from an 15 July 2016 incident:

"David Ray Diggs, 50, was charged with terrorizing as a third-degree felony with special allegation of possession and use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, and disorderly conduct as a petty misdemeanor."

A DPW inspector went to job site on Wednesday 31 August, found no building permit posted or applied for, and issued a Stop Work order. A second inspection found work in progress despite that order. Two weeks later Dr Joseph finally submitted the required paperwork and work resumed. The penalty for renovations without a permit and resuming work with a Stop Work order in place? DPW doubled the filing fee.

Since the August 2015 status hearing, Dr Joel Joseph has been granted monthly extensions by Tri-Mani LLC while the new building is readied. Wise Owl must be hemorrhaging cash as both the old and new buidings have large rent payments ($6200 a month alone for the old), the new building required an expensive renovation, and, most tellingly, he's been late on payroll a few times.

Parking (Or The Lack Of)

Guam Code Annotated (GCA) has specific parking requirements for commercial buildings:

21 GCA, Chapter 61
61531. Automobile Parking Space.

(g) For professional and business offices, and public administration offices, one (1) parking space for each four hundred (400) square feet or portion thereof of floor area;
(h) For offices and clinics of healing arts, at least five (5) spaces for each practitioner;
(i) For hospitals and nursing homes, at least one (1) space for each two (2) beds;
(j) Three (3) spaces for every four (4) employees;
(k) To the extent practicable, each of the Subsections (a) through (j) shall provide at least one (1) marked parking space for use by bicycles equipped with a motor and motorcycles;
(l) Total parking requirements will be a total of all applicable elements in Subsections (a) through (k);
According to their web site, Wise Owl employs 2 veterinarians and 32 receptionists, technicians, and kennel assistants. Allowing for 3/4 of the 32 non-veterinarian employees to be half-time (20 FTE total), the requirements above call for a minimum of 25 parking spaces. One look at the frontage shows that the building has room for perhaps 8 spaces. A complaint has been filed with DPW urging that they withhold the Occupancy Permit until a conformant parking plan has been implemented.
* Permission to use these images for any purpose is granted provided a link to this web page is included in the caption.

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