Court finds IPI in contempt anew

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The U.S. District Court for the NMI has found Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC in contempt anew for noncompliance with the consent decree to pay former employees who claim they were sexually harassed while they were working for the company.

Following a show-cause hearing last week for IPI to explain why they should not be found in contempt again, Chief Judge Ramona Manglona found IPI in contempt for failure to pay the monthly payments for August and September 2021 as stated in the consent decree between IPI and the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Manglona also ordered IPI Holdings, Ltd.—the mother company of IPI CNMI—to pay no later than Friday, Oct. 29, the balance outstanding including daily per diem and interest pursuant to the consent decree. Payments must also be made directly to the claimants or EEOC.

IPI was then ordered to appear at next week’s motion to appoint a receiver on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 2:30pm.

In EEOC’s motion to find IPI in contempt again, it said IPI and IPIH have not complied with the April 27, 2021, consent decree. Specifically, the EEOC alleged that to date, defendants have only made the first three monthly payments and have been delinquent in making the August and September payments.

EEOC further claimed that they have contacted the defendants’ counsel on several occasions, both in writing and telephonically, but has not secured defendants’ compliance with the consent decree.

EEOC counsel Eric Yau said that IPI violated a specific and definite order of the court when it failed to fully comply with its obligations concerning monetary relief required in the decree.

“Specifically, Imperial Pacific was obligated to pay a total of $105,000 to claimants. To date, defendants have only paid $60,000, and have been delinquent with the monthly payment of $15,000 for August and September,” Yau stated.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, the EEOC sued IPI on Sept. 24, 2019, for sexual harassment and unfair employment practices on behalf of a former VIP hostess and other female employees. EEOC alleged that IPI subjected the claimants to unwelcome physical and verbal sexual harassment by male patrons.

IPI denied all the allegations and asked the court to rule in its favor and dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

In April 2021, IPI agreed to settle the claims and resolve the lawsuit. It entered into a consent decree that was approved by the court on April 27, 2021.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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