DPL, HS Lee, Best Sunshine resolve land dispute


The Department of Public Lands has agreed to reserve 446 square meters out of 1,950 square meters of public land in Garapan to H.S. Lee Construction Co. Inc., which is planning to build parking spaces for its commercial building.

DPL also agreed to reserve the remainder of the land (Lot 104 D 01) located in front of I Love Saipan building for casino developer Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, better known as Best Sunshine International, Ltd., for its casino-hotel project.

H.S. Lee Construction Co. Inc., Imperial Pacific, and Triple J. Enterprises Inc. agreed with DPL’s decision.

At a press briefing yesterday at DPL’s office, DPL Secretary Pedro A. Tenorio disclosed that this agreement prompted H.S. Lee Construction Co. to move to dismiss on Tuesday its lawsuit against him and DPL.

Tenorio said the parties reached the agreement as a result of their meeting last Feb. 24.

“Everybody was happy. We’re back in business. Best Sunshine was satisfied with the settlement. We don’t want to go to court and waste our time,” Tenorio said.

He said DPL agrees to reserve the land for H.S. Lee Construction and Imperial Pacific, subject to an agreement on mutually acceptable lease terms.

Tenorio added that DPL further agrees to proceed with the lease of all other legally available public land within the old Samoan Housing Tract in Garapan to Imperial Pacific.

Following H.S. Lee Construction Co.’s request, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman dismissed Wednesday the temporary restraining order and canceled the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for that day.

Wiseman issued the TRO last Feb. 20 at the request of H.S. Lee Construction to prevent DPL from conveying any part of the 1,950 square meters of public land it wanted to lease.

Under the parties’ agreement, Triple J Enterprises Inc. and its chairman and chief executive officer Robert H. Jones agree that they have no right, title, or interest in or to any portion of Lot 104 D 01 and will make not claims against DPL or Imperial Pacific.

Triple J. Enterprises Inc. is leasing the ground floor of the four-story commercial building that H.S. Lee Construction is currently building. Triple J. will be bringing to Saipan an international restaurant chain.

The parties agreed that immediately after execution of the agreement, H.S. Lee shall dismiss its lawsuit with prejudice.

Aside from Tenorio, the other signatories of the agreement were H.S. Lee Construction Co. Inc. corporate secretary Sung Soo Kim, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC representative and Best Sunshine chief executive officer Mark Brown, and Jones, Triple J. Enterprises Inc. chairman and CEO.

Attorney General Edward Manibusan approved the agreement as to form.

In H.S. Lee’s lawsuit, the company alleged that DPL first agreed to reserve 1,950 square meters for the 68 parking spaces of H.S. Lee’s building but it later claimed the land will be needed for the casino project. H.S. Lee counsel William Fitzgerald stated in the complaint that they compromised for 1,000 square meters instead of the initial 1,950.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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