The Commonwealth Casino Commission asked the court yesterday to dissolve the temporary restraining order it gave Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, saying IPI is not likely to succeed on the merits of the case.
According to CCC’s motion, they believe the court should dissolve the TRO because IPI has “no likelihood” to succeed on the merits of the case, among other reasons.
“[IPI] has no likelihood of success on the merits. [CCC] suffers greater harm due to the existence of the restraining order; the public interest strongly militates toward the release and the inspection of the information which [IPI] seeks to keep confidential,” CCC said in its motion.
CCC is represented by Office of Attorney General’s Michael Ernest and Benjamin Petersburg. The case is being handled by Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo.
According to CCC, IPI is not entitled to a TRO, preliminary injunction, or even a permanent injunction because they ultimately will not succeed in preventing CCC from allowing public inspection of the information it has collected.
CCC explains that IPI will not succeed in prohibiting the disclosure of their tax information for many reasons, including the fact that Commonwealth law requires the commission to obtain and make public the information that IPI wants to keep confidential, that IPI has no privacy rights because it is not a person, and because the matter is time-barred, according to Commonwealth law.
CCC also argues that CCC suffers greater harm because of the potential criminal penalties that could be imposed on the commission for violating the Commonwealth’s gaming laws.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, IPI is suing CCC to prevent it from making public confidential tax information pursuant to an Open Government Act request; it has already obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the release of the information.
IPI is suing CCC for their plans to disclose IPI tax return information that they claim is protected under a provision of the CNMI Constitution.
IPI, as an exclusive casino license holder, is subject to reporting requirements with CCC which include, but are not limited to, the monthly reporting of information relating to its Business Gross Revenue Tax returns.