$1.38M seized from IPI ordered released to contractor


U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona directed yesterday the court’s clerk to release Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s $1,383,869 received from Bank of Saipan to IPI’s former contractor, Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, from the court’s Treasury Registry Fund.

Manglona said to date, IPI has not requested a hearing or filed any request regarding the court’s June 9, 2020 writ of execution that ordered the U.S. Marshal Service to seize IPI’s money from the Bank of Saipan.

Manglona said that on that same day, June 9, the clerk issued a writ of execution informing IPI that it must demand a prompt hearing to claim any exemptions or assert any other rights to protect its property.

She said the U.S. Marshal Service executed the writ, the Bank of Saipan tendered a check to the court, and the U.S. Treasury completed the processing of those funds.

Manglona, however, denied Pacific Rim’s motion for an order authorizing the release of funds held pursuant to writs of execution issued on Pacific American Title Inc. and Security Title Inc.

The clerk issued those writs last June 15. The clerk issued a second notice to IPI regarding its rights.

To date, Manglona said, IPI has not requested a hearing or filed any other requests regarding these writs.

The judge said Pacific American Title tendered $100 to the court, however, the U.S. Treasury has not yet completed the processing of these funds.

She said Security Title has not tendered any funds to the court.

Therefore, Manglona said she denies without prejudice Pacific Rim’s motion for an order authorizing the release of those funds as premature.

In its motion filed last week, Pacific Rim, through counsel Colin M. Thompson, disclosed that based on his information, the money seized from Bank of Saipan, Pacific American Title Inc. and Security Title Inc. is currently in the U.S. District Court for the NMI’s registry.

Thompson moved the court to issue an order authorizing the release to Pacific Rim of all funds received and/or held pursuant to the writ of execution of the accounts of IPI from the Bank of Saipan and writ of execution of money held by Pacific American and Security Title for IPI, toward satisfaction of the court’s $6.9-million judgment against IPI.

Last April 27, Manglona entered a judgment in favor of Pacific Rim in the amount of $5.65 million against IPI for breach of promissory note.

Last May 26, Manglona amended the judgment to incorporate pre-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees. The clerk then on May 28 entered an amended judgment in the amount of $6.9 million plus post judgment interest.

In Pacific Rim’s motion filed Thursday, Thompson said that last May 27, his client filed its first application for writ of execution requesting the court to order the U.S. Marshal to seize money belonging to IPI held in various banks within the district.

Last week, Manglona denied Pacific Rim’s two other requests to seize IPI’s money from Bank of Saipan and personal property.

Manglona set the motion for an order in aid of judgment for a hearing on July 23, 2020 to determine IPI’s ability to pay and the fastest manner in which it can reasonably pay the balance of the $6.9-million judgment.

The judge said Pacific Rim may reapply, but it must demonstrate good cause why the court should issue a writ.

Manglona said Pacific Rim does not explain why an additional writ of the Bank of Saipan should issue in this matter.

Hundreds of IPI workers recently held protests in front of the District Court after they failed to get their two paychecks allegedly because of the court’s writ of execution that resulted in the seizure and closure of IPI’s payroll account with the Bank of Saipan.

Pacific Rim is suing IPI and five unnamed alleged co-conspirators for breach of contract (construction and promissory note) and unjust enrichment.

Pacific Rim claimed to have substantially completed or completed the agreed upon construction work on Sept. 30, 2018.

IPI brought counterclaims against Pacific Rim for promissory fraud, fraud in the inducement as to the promissory note, violation of Consumer Protection Act, and breach of contract.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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