Imperial Pacific International, the operator of Saipan, has been issued with a notice to pay license fees on time in 2020, at a time the company is not able to issue gamblers a refund.
This past week, Imperial Pacific’s former contractor, Pacific Rim Land development, pleaded with a federal court to give it time to claim about $688,000 that it claims is in imperial Pacific’s palace resort. Last April, a court ruling in favor of Pacific Rim in a $5.6 million case again Imperial Pacific for what it claimed to be unpaid construction work at the resort.
The issue here is that Pacific Rim is just one of the many aggrieved former contractors, and Imperial Pacific has no money to meet its obligations. Legislators of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands (CNMI) also claim that the imperial Pacific is about $37 million behind in terms of payments to Community development fund, money the firm is required to remit to hold and maintain its operation license.
This past Wednesday, local media quoted the Imperial Pacific’s legal counsel Michael Dotts in court, stating that the firm was not able to release the money it holds in casino cage to the Pacific Rim because it belongs to its customers.
To elaborate this point further, Dotts stated that one of the firm’s customers had asked to withdraw close to $850,000 in winnings on the 7th of July, a request that the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) blocked it had insufficient funds.
The Imperial Pacific has many other substantial financial issues in terms of its $15.5 million yearly fees. The sum is due on the 12th of August. Still, there is a lot of skepticism that the imperial Pacific, which missed the license fee deadline for 2019 by close to two weeks, will meet this year’s license fee deadline.
Last Wednesday, the CCC’s chairperson Edward Deleon Guerrero warned the current CEO at Imperial Pacific, Donald Brown, that late payment of license fees this year is non-negotiable.
However, that remains to be seen, especially since the Imperial Pacific proposed a few amendments to the CNMI Commission, which includes cutting back on its annual license fees by half. Not everyone likes the idea.
CNMI Senator Paul Manglona inquired from the office of the attorney general whether the Commission had the power to agree to such terms. He noted that such a financial amendment would change the consideration upon which the Commission issued operating licenses.