Posted on: March 17, 2022, 08:04h.
Last updated on: March 17, 2022, 08:04h.
Imperial Pacific International attempted to convince the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island to return its casino license. The attempt failed and the company is running out of options.
Imperial Pacific International (IPI) painted itself into a corner and can’t get out. Years of mismanagement, abhorrent working conditions and unpaid bills have left the future of its Imperial Palace casino resort in Saipan in the air.
IPI lost its license to run the resort last year over unpaid bills. It pleaded with the courts to reverse the decision and the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) handed down its decision yesterday. There’s no casino license coming to IPI anytime soon.
IPI Pleas Ring Hollow
The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) pulled IPI’s license after the operator fail behind in its financial commitments. It owes at least $26 million for unpaid license fees, community contributions and more. Year after year, it has fallen further behind in its obligations.
After it lost its license, which also brought additional fines, IPI tried to appeal the decision. However, it has lost at every turn. The last stop was the Superior Court, which won’t show it any mercy due to its track record.
[The] Casino Commission’s decision was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or, not in accordance with law,” said Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan.
IPI hoped that it could convince the court that the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Imperial Palace to close, was a catalyst for its financial situation. It presented its argument to the court, but it rang as hollow as all of its previous excuses for its lack of business competence.
The court stated that the CCC acted within the scope of its responsibilities when it suspended the license. In addition, it said, the suspension is the result of repeated violations and the COVID-19 situation had no bearing on the decision.
Financial Woes Continue
In addition to its problems with the government, the company faces a number of litigious actions from private companies over unpaid bills. The situation was so out of control that IPI’s assets were placed into receivership to be sold at auction.
After stalling and not paying down any of its outstanding debt, IPI suddenly found some money just as the auctions were going to begin. It paid its debt to USA Fanter Corp. as ordered by the court. However, that was only a small portion of what it owes.
It hasn’t been able to repeat its magic act, though. The company notified employees last month that their pay for the period February 7 to 20 wouldn’t arrive. The delay impacted around 40 individuals.
New issues may soon surface, as well. The Saipan Tribune explains that IPI has dutifully been collecting obligatory Social Security withholdings from employees. However, if one employee’s assertion is correct, the Social Security Administration (SSA) never received that money.
The employee took his concerns to former IPI CEO Ray Yumul in January. However, the media outlet didn’t detail what response the executive, who has since left the company, gave the employee at the time.
Yumul responded to the Saipan Tribune this past weekend when it asked him for information. He explained that affected employees can submit a copy of their W2 and driver’s license to the local SSA office. There, SSA personnel can resolve the situation.
The CCC is now looking into the discrepancy to determine if any wrongdoing took place.