CCC seeks to revoke IPI license
Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Andrew Yeom has filed four complaints against Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, each of them seeking the immediate revocation of IPI’s exclusive Saipan casino license, for alleged unwillingness to comply with CCC’s final order in four enforcement actions that were entered over five months ago.
Yeom, through assistant attorney general Keisha Blaise, filed before the CCC two complaints last Sept. 17 and two others last Sept. 28.
The complaints arose from IPI’s alleged failure to pay the $3.1 million casino regulatory fee on Oct. 1, 2020, and subsequently on March 3, 2021, and its failure to pay the $15.5 million annual exclusive casino license fee on Aug. 12, 2020, and subsequently on Aug. 12, 2021.
As of press time yesterday, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from IPI.
At the CCC board meeting yesterday at the Springs Plaza in Gualo Rai, Yeom said the first two complaints are over the two enforcement actions for non-payment of annual license fee for 2020, and non-compliance with working capital for three months of payroll. Yeom said IPI has been given 15 days or until Oct. 2, 2021, to respond to the two complaints.
He said the two other complaints are over the two other enforcement actions for non-payment of regulatory fee for 2020, and for non-payment of the license fee that was due on Aug. 12, 2021. Yeom said IPI has been given 15 days or until Oct. 13, 2021, to respond to the two complaints.
Yeom said it’s been over five months since CCC issued the final order suspending IPI’s license for numerous violations related to the two cases that consolidated the four enforcement actions.
“Unfortunately, the very violations that triggered the suspension are still mounting while IPI has done nothing to indicate any willingness to come into compliance with the aforementioned final order,” Yeom said.
Last April 22, the CCC board ordered the indefinite suspension of IPI’s gaming license. The same order directed IPI to pay $6.6 million in total penalty within six months, and pay immediately $15.5 million and $3.1 million in annual casino exclusive license fee and annual casino regulatory fee, respectively. IPI is appealing the order before the Superior Court.
Yeom said yesterday that all of IPI’s violations are major in nature, therefore the four complaints are seeking revocation of the casino license.
Unless IPI comes into compliance, Yeom said, there will be a few more critical enforcement actions to be filed this October, all of which are major violations in nature.
“To this point, we have taken each careful step to give IPI the full due process in accordance with our law, hoping for IPI to come into compliance, but to no avail,” he said.
Therefore, the executive director said, it is time that CCC moves forward with these final steps carefully but swiftly as possible.
In the four complaints, Blaise asked the CCC board to declare that IPI committed the violations alleged in the complaints and that IPI did not immediately self-report to the CCC the facts that gave rise to the violations prior to being contacted by the CCC’s enforcement staff.
Blaise requested the CCC board to declare that the violations committed by IPI are major offenses pursuant to CCC regulation.
She asked the board to declare that IPI’s failure to pay the annual license fee and annual casino regulatory fee in full when due amounts to an unsuitable method of operation, and requiring IPI to pay the fees immediately upon the effective date of the CCC’s order.
Blaise asked the board to declare that IPI’s license to conduct gaming operations on Saipan be immediately revoked and terminated as disciplinary action in accordance with the CCC regulations.
She asked the board to order IPI to pay a fine of $50,000 per violation per day the annual license fee and annual casino regulatory fee went unpaid for the major violations.