The Commonwealth Casino Commission, in opposing the lawsuit filed against it by sister companies Best Sunshine International Ltd. and Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, confirms that IPI has yet to receive its promised investment and is uncertain whether an investment is forthcoming at all.
Over the weekend, CCC filed its opposition to IPI’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court for the NMI after the parties in this case failed to execute a settlement agreement by July 18.
It its 24-page opposition, the two lawyers for the CCC, assistant attorneys general Keisha Blaise and Alison Nelson, told the court that nearly two months has passed since IPI filed its motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction to stay the revocation of their exclusive casino license, promising that a $150-million investment was forthcoming to satisfy its debts. However, to date, there is no evidence that this is true, CCC says.
“Plaintiffs allege that a total of $150 million will be infused into IPI ‘in the coming weeks for the purposes of satisfying its creditors, including the CCC, and completing the casino project.’ However, nearly two months has passed since plaintiffs filed their motion [and] there is no evidence that the purported investment expected by plaintiffs has been made, and it is uncertain when it will be made—or whether it will be made at all,” the lawyers stated.
In addition, the CCC informed the District Court for the NMI that plaintiffs have not provided sufficient evidence to establish how even an additional $150 million will save IPI from revocation.
“Enforcement Actions 20-001 (consolidated) and 20-003 (consolidated) determined that IPI failed to pay $18.65 million for the Casino Regulatory Fee and Annual License Fee due for 2020 and assessed penalties in the amount of $6.6 million. Moreover, the current enforcement actions seek a determination that IPI failed to pay another $18.65 million for the Casino Regulatory Fee and Annual License Fee due for 2021 and will seek additional penalties.
Similar amounts for 2022 are due in the coming months,” they said.
“Plaintiffs do not identify how and when the funds will be used to satisfy its obligations to the commission, and do not suggest that the funds will be used to fully satisfy those obligations. Any funding would also need to fund IPI’s remaining construction obligations and to satisfy IPI’s numerous judgments in state and federal court. While revocation of the CLA could admittedly put this funding at risk, plaintiffs have presented no evidence to support a finding that this funding alone will make IPI financially suitable to operate a casino gaming business in the Commonwealth,” the defense added.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, BSI and IPI filed their motion for preliminary injunction eight months after CCC executive director Andrew Yeom filed five enforcement actions against IPI and over a year after the commission ordered, after two evidentiary hearings, that IPI’s license be suspended indefinitely.
A settlement agreement has been in the works for over a month. In a previous hearing before the court, IPI, BSI, and CCC informed the court that a settlement agreement was to finalized and executed by July 18, but, as of press time, no settlement has been executed.