Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Best Sunshine International, Ltd. have discussed an early release of the casino license mandated “community chest fund” of $20 million, Saipan Tribune learned.
Per the 2014 licensing agreement, Best Sunshine has to release the $20 million to the CNMI government within 60 days after they start work on “Phase 1” of their project.
Some think that’s the Grand Mariana Casino Resort currently undergoing construction in Garapan, but that project, is BSI’s “initial gaming facility” per its license, and the community chest fund will be released on the “next building,” eyed in Marpi, for “an end of 2018 payment,” according to CEO Mark Brown.
“If there is monies needed in advance, are we open to discuss that? Absolutely. And that’s what the conversation was about,” Brown said, when asked about the casino’s discussions with the Torres.
Brown said they have had close discussion on how they can continue to help the community, noting community needs and assistance to get the island back on track after Typhoon Soudelor last year.
On advancing the chest fund money early, Brown said this was “one piece of the conversation among multiple pieces.”
“Would you ever give the $20 million sooner? If you need it. Would you ever do this, would you build us this? Yes. We’ve had many discussions, whether it’s on schools, public buildings, or on whether it’s giving the chest fund earlier. It was part of a conversation with many different components.”