Date: September 19, 2023, 07:42h.
Last updated on: September 19, 2023, 07:42h.
The management of Imperial Pacific International (IPI) doesn’t seem to care about court orders. The company behind the failed Imperial Palace casino in Saipan has multiple judgments against it, and two claims indicate its ability to pay them.
IPI has a notorious track record of incompetence in its attempt to establish the Imperial Palace as a destination for high-end gamblers worldwide. It encountered several regulatory and criminal investigations as soon as it began the casino expansion project years ago.
Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t improved. IPI has failed to pay its debts to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and even its legal teams. It has also disregarded a court judgment involving the US Department of Labor (DOL), which has sought the court’s intervention once again.
IPI Neglects DOL Payments
IPI faced criticism in April 2019 for, among other things, not paying its employees. When payments were made, many workers received less than the legal minimum wage or weren’t adequately compensated based on their job titles or skills.
This led to a CNMI court judge ordering IPI to settle the case for $2.19 million. This sum covers back wages of slightly over $1 million, damages of a similar amount, and additional fines of $174,893.
Almost two years later, after falling behind on payments, IPI was held in contempt of court. It then managed to negotiate a new deal in its favor, a pattern that has been repeated in CNMI courtrooms.
As per the agreement, IPI was expected to fulfill its obligations starting from January 2022. However, just like clockwork, it has fallen behind once more, failing to pay approximately $498,000 due in August and September.
Due to non-payment, the DOL has returned to court to file a default claim. In the declaration, Charles Song, the government agency’s attorney, demands that IPI fully settle the outstanding amount according to the terms of the previous judgment.
IPI has a 15-day deadline to pay the outstanding bills. Failure to comply, according to Song, will result in the DOL selling assets that IPI had put up as collateral for the judgment. This includes Hopwood Middle School, which IPI owns through its Green Estate Holdings affiliate and serves approximately 900 students.
Song stated that the outstanding balance is $1.53 million, excluding interest fees and other costs associated with the judgment. He did not indicate what the DOL plans to do with the school.
Kan Still Awaits Payment
In another long-standing case related to the Imperial Palace, IPI still owes Kan Pacific Saipan, the company it ousted to take over Saipan’s gaming industry.
Kan Pacific has filed a breach of contract complaint against IPI for non-payment, despite a court-ordered judgment against the company, as reported by the Saipan Tribune.
Under the agreement, when IPI took control of Saipan, it reached a deal with Kan Pacific that involved the latter exiting the local gaming space in exchange for monetary compensation. However, IPI has repeatedly failed to make the annual payments of $400,000.
Last December, a CNMI court ordered IPI to pay Kan Pacific $697,801.30, along with interest. However, IPI did not fulfill this obligation and also missed the annual payment due in June.
Kan Pacific has attempted to be part of the ongoing receivership, which involves using Imperial Palace assets to pay off debts. Although IPI rejected their attempt, it may actually be for the best, considering the long line of creditors and the possibility that there won’t be any assets remaining once IPI settles its outstanding debts.