SAN JOSE, Tinian—There are still 20 former Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino employees that are still staying inside the company’s housing dormitory and enduring deplorable conditions in the barracks.
All of them are holding on to hope that they would get their salaries and other benefits after the hotel completely closed down in March this year.
The casino was the first to shut down in August 2015, followed by the hotel early this year. Operations of the offices continued until Aug. 5, 2016—the last working day for all remaining employees.
The remaining employees are from Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand. They asked that their identities be withheld for fear of a backlash from Dynasty’s former and new owners. Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd. previously owned the Dynasty but it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.
The former employees are living in the hotel’s housing barracks without food, water, and electricity. The building has a generator but it still needs diesel for it to be operational. The generator had a supply for gasoline for the wastewater but it had already stopped and the remaining employees are chipping in to buy fuel.
“We use the generator at night if there’s gas but if there’s none, we use candles. We want to get our back wages, that’s why we are waiting here, enduring this conditions. We’re going to wait until the owners settled everything,” said one of the teary-eyed employees.
The employees—jobless, with no salaries, and no work papers—now rely on donations and other basic goods given by Good Samaritans and other kind-hearted individuals.
“We are left in the dark. We don’t know what will happen to us or if we will ever get paid. Our employers made a violation, but what’s next for us after that?” asked another former Dynasty employee.
“What happened to us had a domino effect. We can’t support our families back home. Our sons and daughters stopped studying. We also don’t know what will happen to us if we go back to each of our countries,” said the other employee in between sobs.
“We just support each other, we try to stay strong, and we need to survive. But once I’m inside my room, I can’t help but cry with what has happened to me.”
Mega Stars Overseas Limited took over the hotel, buying the facility from HKE in a multi-million dollar deal with plans of injecting $600 million to re-open the Dynasty and invest on new facilities on Tinian.
A huge number of former Dynasty employees have also decided to go home to their respective countries without the assurance of getting paid, while residents and U.S. citizens who were former employees have already found work in other companies, either on Saipan or in the mainland. Former employees were sent home in several batches.
Saipan Tribune reported that Mega Stars had already paid close to $3 million in back wages since it took over the Dynasty in 2013. They had also paid $1.1 million in business gross receipts tax through Dynasty, another $349,000 in withholding tax, and $1.777 million in gaming tax.