Imperial Pacific International Resolves Debt Issue While Fighting to Retain License


Posted on: August 1, 2023, 08:04h. 

Last updated on: August 1, 2023, 08:04h.

Imperial Pacific International (IPI) Struggles to Maintain Casino Exclusivity in Saipan Casino Market

The Imperial Palace casino in Saipan as it stood while under construction
The Imperial Palace casino in Saipan as it stood while under construction. The primary construction company on the job has cut a settlement deal for much less than it was owed. (Image: Pacific Island Times)

Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has recently settled part of its outstanding debts to a construction contractor, USA Fanter, as it fights to retain its casino exclusivity in Saipan. The payment settles a longstanding legal dispute between the two parties, but IPI still faces millions of dollars in unpaid bills.

The settlement comes as IPI’s Imperial Palace casino remains non-operational and the company struggles to stay afloat. The once-magnificent property has been stripped of assets through receivership auctions, leaving it in a state of deterioration.

Settlement Reached, but More Challenges Lie Ahead

After years of legal battles, IPI was ordered by a judge to pay USA Fanter over $2 million. However, the company failed to fulfill its payment obligation, leading to the dispute being brought before the court. The recent settlement has resolved the issue, with IPI now liable for a reduced amount of $251,581.

The settlement agreement confirms that all claims by USA Fanter have been satisfied.

Unfortunately for IPI, its financial struggles continue to mount. Additional lawsuits have emerged, resulting in more creditors seeking payment through the receivership process. Former executive Joshua Gray, who won a $5-million discrimination lawsuit against IPI, remains unpaid.

In addition to its debts to various parties, IPI still owes at least $36.6 million in unpaid license fees and obligations to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC).

The ongoing financial turmoil has hindered any progress towards reopening the Imperial Palace casino. The deteriorating state of the property, coupled with outstanding debts, presents significant challenges for IPI in attracting visitors to the establishment.

License Battle and Uncertain Future

IPI’s casino exclusivity in Saipan is at stake as the company faces an ongoing legal battle with the CCC. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has already ruled against IPI, stating that the company violated terms of its contract multiple times, potentially invalidating the exclusivity agreement.

The recent arbitration between IPI and the CCC aimed to find a resolution, but the decision reached is non-binding. However, the court’s ruling holds legal weight, providing grounds for the CCC to revoke IPI’s exclusivity if desired.

Despite the potential consequences, the CCC has yet to make a definitive decision. A meeting to discuss the next steps has been postponed, leaving the future of IPI’s exclusivity uncertain. In the meantime, IPI continues to pursue legal appeals.

While IPI attempts to navigate its legal battles, its outstanding debts to the CCC and the CNMI government continue to grow. With limited financial resources, the company faces an uphill battle to fulfill its financial obligations.

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