Browne asks for court-appointed lawyer

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Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC chief executive officer Donald Browne has asked the federal court to appoint a lawyer to represent him as he faces possible incarceration, claiming that he is financially unable to pay for his own attorney.

In a declaration filed with the U.S District Court for the NMI, Browne said that when he took up the position as IPI CEO, the position came with a 30% cut to his salary.

“I took a 30% pay cut when I became CEO. The company is not able to pay its employees or to sustain operations. All employees, including myself, have not been paid since Sept. 25, 2020,” he said.

Because of the pay cut and being furloughed prior to taking up the CEO position, Browne said he has no savings and he has no income and therefore will be unable to pay for a lawyer to represent him.

“As a result of having been on furlough without pay for about four months, and then not having been paid for more than the last two months, I have no savings. I am married but my wife is not employed right now. We have two minor children, a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old. I have no income. Therefore, I am not able to afford to hire an attorney. I request that the court appoint counsel for me as I am facing incarceration,” he said.

Browne said he became CEO at IPI on July 17 for a period of six months ending in January 2021. Prior to becoming CEO, he was IPI’s senior vice president of Security and Surveillance. He has worked for IPI since January 2015 and has worked in the casino industry for 40 years.

Browne claims that his employment as a CEO was a stopgap measure. The last IPI CEO, Mark Brown, resigned his position, as did the chief financial officer, Ed Chen.

“The Commonwealth Casino Commission required that IPI have a CEO, so I was offered the chance to come back from furlough and take the position for a period of six months,” he said.

Browne says IPI has been experiencing financial difficulties since late 2019 and had to close back in March and then eventually furloughed about 545 employees. “I was furloughed myself in April 2020. My employment did not resume until I was hired as the CEO on July 17, 2020,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista | 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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