Jim Lyon with then-newly elected FSM President Peter Christian wearing Lyon company t-shirts at Cliff Rainbow Hotel, Pohnpei, 2015.
by Andrew Walden
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Congress will convene May 11, 2023, to select the next FSM President.
Will China pick up where Lyon Associates left off?
The fourteen member FSM Congress will select one of four at-large Senators as President and another as Vice President. Special elections will then be set to fill the two vacant Senate seats.
The president and vice president will be chosen from at-large Senators:
- former President Joseph Urusemal,
- outgoing Speaker Wesley W. Simina,
- former President Peter M. Christian, and
- outgoing Vice-president Aren B. Palik.
Akamai readers will remember Peter Christian from the Lyon Associates bribery scandal. His son in law, Master Halbert, also known as “Inmate 11167-122” was released from US federal custody October 30, 2020. In addition to his 18 month sentence for soliciting and accepting bribes from Hawaii-based Lyon Associates, Halbert is also due to serve three years federal probation.
Christian’s son, Christopher Ivan Christian, is General Manager of the Cliff Rainbow Hotel. According to his LinkedIn page, he was also an ‘Administrator’ for GMP Hawaii from May 2005 - Sep 2014. GMP Hawaii owner Wagdy Guirguis was convicted of tax evasion in November, 2018. A 2015 email from Lyon Associates co-owner, James Lyon, indicates that Christopher Ivan Christian, was also offered a “retainer” --$5K per month by Lyon with a plan to increase to $10K.
Micronesia does have an alternative.
In a bombshell letter written after recent FSM Congressional elections, outgoing FSM President David Panuelo describes FSM officials at all levels accepting Chinese bribes.
He also describes one official who refused a bribe:
Shortly after Vice President Palik took office in his former capacity as a Senator, he was invited to the Chinese Embassy for a dinner with other Members of Congress. The Vice President was asked by Ambassador Huang if he could sit up front, with other Senators, and also to accept an envelope filled with money; Vice President Palik refused, telling the Ambassador to never offer him a bribe again, and upon doing so was advised by Ambassador Huang something close to the effect of "You could be President someday" as the rationale for the special treatment.
Lyon had friends in high places in Hawaii. In 2015 Esther Kia’aina and Andy Winer warned Jim Lyon about the investigation. Winer 'resigned' as Schatz Chief-of-Staff in 2019, just as the emails detailing his involvement were exposed by Hawai'i Free Press.
Has Hawaii’s corruption of FSM opened the doors to China’s corruption of FSM? We will soon see.
- Aug 1, 2019: Lyon Corruption: Master Halbert gets 18 Months
- July 9, 2019: Lyon Corruption: Ex-Schatz, Winer New Gig at Strategies360
- July 4, 2019: Lyon Corruption: While Son in Law Rots in Federal Detention, President Christian Returns to FSM Senate
- May 21, 2019: Micronesia: What a Difference an Election Makes
- May 13, 2019: Source: Esther Kia’aina and Andy Winer Warned Jim Lyon About Investigation
- Mar 7, 2019: Lyon Bribery: Election Results--FSM President Loses Seat
- Feb 24, 2019: Double Trouble: Lyon Also Offered Cash to Son of FSM President
- Feb 19, 2019: Halbert-Lyon Indictments: Timeline of Corruption in FSM
- Feb 12, 2019: Lyon Bribery Micronesia: Arrests Start at the Top
- Feb 9, 2019: Lyon Bribe: DHHL Releases Suspect Contract Docs
- Feb 4, 2019: Lyon Bribery: $240K to Buy DHHL Contract?
- Jan 30, 2019: Lyon Bribes: Caldwell Appoints Crook to Zoning Board After Receiving $16.5K
- Jan 27, 2019: FSM Government Responds to Lyon Bribery Charge