Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has sought to retrieve a $10-million deposit it made with the Department of Public Lands, Saipan Tribune learned yesterday.
DPL Secretary Marianne Teregeyo confirmed the information yesterday but declined to provide more specifics.
Details about the IPI request were not provided since Teregeyo has yet to meet with DPL lawyers to discuss the extent of the information she could share.
According to Teregeyo, though, the deposit was made in late 2016.
“It is true that they [IPI] are requesting [for the deposit back] and at this point, I have not released it yet,” said Teregeyo.
Saipan Tribune learned that the money was a good-faith advance from IPI to DPL for the lease of the Garapan property where the Imperial Pacific Casino & Resort now sits.
“[IPI] deposited an additional $10 million on DPL and IPI’s agreement. [The money was] deposited because IPI requested additional things from DPL and in order to assume that risk, we required that IPI ups that deposit,” said Teregeyo, declining to provide specifics without the department’s lawyer advising her.
Teregeyo added that she has received letters from IPI and a letter from the DPL legal counsel and is now “processing it.”
The secretary clarified that deposits are not income for DPL. She said that deposits are remitted after an audit at the end of every fiscal year to determine the surplus that would be remitted to the Marianas Public Lands Trust fund.
“We hold [deposits] in a deposit account with the bank,” said Teregeyo. “At the end of next year, the $10 million does not go to MPLT. It’s not income—it’s [a] deposit,” she said, adding that IPI would obtain their $10 million deposit when they satisfy or close a term of a lease.
According to Teregeyo, deposits are being held for “all the lease-holds here, and those are not income.”
CCC is aware
The Commonwealth Casino Commission told Saipan Tribune in a phone interview that they are aware that IPI was requesting DPL to return their $10 million deposit.
CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said, though, that the commission does not have the details. He also specified yesterday that IPI’s agreement with DPL was not part of their regulations, however the department may contact CCC to “assist in enforcement” if “IPI violates policy.”
“We [keep] IPI in full compliance with federal and local regulations,” said Deleon Guerrero.