U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona yesterday ordered that, for the lien amount of $2.89 million, a former contractor of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC shall have a mechanic’s lien to attach upon the improvements of IPI’s hotel-casino complex in Garapan.
Manglona ordered that U.S.A. Fanter Corp. Ltd. shall also have a mechanic’s lien to attach upon IPI’s real property interest in a Garapan lot measuring 1.567 hectares. The fee simple owner of the lot is the Commonwealth Investment Company LLC. IPI has a lease on the land.
A mechanic’s lien refers to a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property.
In a notice yesterday to IPI and others, Manglona said that she made a probable cause finding last March 27 in favor of U.S.A. Fanter for the issuance and attachment of a mechanic’s lien, that U.S.A. Fanter was able to establish probable cause to attach a lien on IPI’s interest in the improvements and real property in Garapan known as the Imperial Pacific Resort.
The judge said U.S.A. Fanter, a CNMI licensed construction contractor, incorporated materials and provided labor for the landscaping builder works contract at the Imperial Pacific Resort hotel-casino complex. Manglona said that included construction of retaining walls, stairways, sidewalks, as well as excavation and backfilling. Manglona said U.S.A. Fanter established by probable cause that IPI owes it $2,089,000 as the price agreed to be paid for the construction work performed.
After finding probable cause during the March 27 hearing, Manglona set a bench trial for June 24, 2020, at 9am.
U.S.A. Fanter, through counsel Colin Thompson, is suing IPI for breach of construction contract and unjust enrichment for allegedly refusing to pay $2,089,345 over landscaping improvements for IPI’s hotel-casino project. U.S.A. Fanter asked the court to hold IPI liable to pay $2.08 million in contract damages. The company also sought payment for interest and attorney’s fees. The plaintiff asked the court to attach a mechanic’s lien to IPI’s interests in the real property on the project.
IPI, through counsel Joseph Horey, asked the court to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, suspend the proceedings pending mediation. Horey argued that U.S.A. Fanter has not complied with the mandatory mediation clause of their contract.
U.S.A. Fanter and IPI executed the construction contract for the project on June 18, 2019.
Thompson said the contractor repeatedly demanded that IPI pay all amounts due and owing for work performed, but IPI has failed to do so. U.S.A. Fanter demanded to mediate their claims last Dec. 29 but IPI refused, Thompson said.
Another former IPI contractor, Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, also filed an application for a mechanic’s lien on IPI’s hotel-casino project and on the land that it sits on. Thompson is also counsel for that contractor. The court consolidated Pacific Rim’s lawsuit and its application for a mechanic’s lien. The suit and the mechanic’s lien application are pending.