Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is no longer operating a casino in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands(CNMI), at least temporarily. The company has spent several years building the Imperial Palace in Saipan. However, it has spent a significant amount of time facing lawsuits, federal investigations, allegations of misconduct, and other issues. The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has issued a warning to IPI, and the casino operator’s casino license has been suspended indefinitely.
Many Questions, But Few Answers
The FBI, the Department of Labor (DOL), CNMI gaming regulators, and others have all conducted investigations into IPI over the years. The CCC has had enough and has ordered the operator’s license to be suspended as of May 10th. CCC Executive Director Andrew Yeom knows how poorly the company has been running. He pointed out some of IPI’s more serious transgressions
According to Yeom, recent financial issues include failing to pay a $15.5 million annual license fee due in August, failure to miss its $3.1-million regulatory fee in October, and failing to make its required $20 million contributions to the CNMI community benefit fund for 2018 and 2019, and many others.
A Way Out, But No Assurance
As a result, CCC Chairman Edward DeLeon Guerrero ordered the operator’s license to be suspended “indefinitely” until IPI complies with the CCC’s new order. According to the order, the company has six months to raise funds to cover the $15.5 million casino license fee. And it must also cover the $3.1 million regulatory fees and a $6.6 million fine. No one, however, is optimistic about this happening.
Even if it raised funds, IPI would still be behind on its other obligations. The company has made numerous excuses for its inability to meet its obligations.
IPI was on the verge of going into receivership a month ago but saved at the last minute. The DOL sued the company after it fell behind on employee pay. It forced many of its employees to live in squalor with no running water or electricity. They were unable to leave because they lacked the financial means to do so. IPI reached an agreement with the DOL and received an extension; however, the pattern of incompetence continues.
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