Docs sought on Community Chest Fund


A private citizen has asked Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to provide records on how the Community Chest Fund, created by casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, was spent.

Jason Fitial, in the document sent by Orrin Pharmin through email, made an Open Government Act request with Torres to ask for the public records on how the Community Chest Fund, which supposedly has $60 million, was disbursed.

Fitial cited law to demand the records by Nov. 12, Monday next week.

Fitial questioned why the fund, which is controlled by Torres, is not being made available to help the victims of Super Typhoon Yutu in the CNMI.

Press secretary Kevin Babauta said that the Office of the Governor’s legal counsel and the Office of the Attorney General is handling the OGA request.

Fitial is requesting for public records that details, verifies, and accounts for the salaries paid, expenses, and other financial consideration provided from the annual $20 million CCF that was promised by IPI.

Fitial said in his request that he is concerned about Torres’ failure to have a backup plan in case the casino fails.

“Before Typhoon Yutu devastated the CNMI community, I expressed public concern at your failure to possess any known Plan B if—as many have expected and predicted—the casino operated by IPI/Best Sunshine imminently fails economically or, alternatively, files for bankruptcy in the CNMI or Hong Kong.”

“With similar concerns, former governor Juan N. Babauta submitted to you, before Typhoon Yutu, on Oct. 23, an OGA request that you publicly disclose and provide public documents detailing exactly how you and your designees/subordinates directed to be spent and use the so-called CCF amounting to $20 million each year, which CCF monies IPI/BS has been obligated to provide to the CNMI government for public use/benefit over the past three years—those obligations, over that three-year span, totaling $60 million.”

The Office of the Governor received Babauta’s letter on Oct. 23. Fitial said Nov. 2 was the response deadline. “But you [Torres] have apparently been unwilling to respond…”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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