Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Friday that if Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC cannot pay its arrears, then the Commonwealth has to take the “next step.”
“I hope that IPI can take care of their pending issues,” said Torres in response to a question during a radio news briefing if he has ideas of IPI’s future and if anybody else were to take over, and if he and then the commission were likely to approve that.
The governor noted that, although he didn’t thoroughly read it in the news, there was a federal court judgment that awarded millions of dollars to IPI’s former employees in a labor case.
“I hope that they can pay their arrears in order for them to move forward, or us for that matter,” Torres said.
The judgment that Torres was referring to was a $5.91-million default judgment that U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued in favor of seven Chinese construction workers, who had sued IPI for allegedly subjecting them to forced labor while working then on IPI’s casino/resort project in Garapan.
Torres said a lot of issues involving IPI are before the courts. He said if IPI cannot move forward with the casino industry, whoever is next in line, the government will make that decision with the Legislature when it comes.
“But as of now I hope that they can take care of their arrears and continue to do business here. But if not, then we have to take the next step and we move on,” the governor said.
Last April 22, the Commonwealth Casino Commission board ordered the indefinite suspension of IPI’s gaming license and 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.