IPI faces possible contempt in sexual harassment case


Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC faces possible contempt for failing to make the necessary court-approved payments to claimants in a sexual harassment case.

In a motion for contempt against IPI, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to find IPI in contempt for failing to comply with provisions of a court-approved consent decree, specifically the provision to pay monetary relief to claimants in a sexual harassment case.

According to EEOC representative Eric Yau, it is beyond doubt that IPI violated a specific and definite order of the court when it failed to fully comply with its obligations concerning monetary relief outlined in the decree. “Specifically, pursuant to Section VIII of the decree, Imperial Pacific was obligated to pay a total of $105,000 to claimants. To date, defendants have only paid $60,000, and have been delinquent with the monthly payment of $15,000 for August and September,” Yau stated.

In addition, Yau said IPI has yet to provide EEOC with the fully recorded secured instrument for the Flame Tree Terrace, as required under the decree.

“Given the serious nature of the violations in this matter, EEOC respectfully requests that the court grant the EEOC’s motion for contempt,” he said.

Aside from being held in contempt, Yau requested the court also require IPI to wire the remaining $45,000, plus applicable penalty and interest, to the claimants within 15 days; pay any attorney fees or other fees that the EEOC incurred in bringing this motion; and to pay any other monetary and/or non-monetary sanction as determined appropriate by the court.

According to court documents, EEOC sued IPI for sexual harassment and unfair employment practices on Sept. 24, 2019, on behalf of a former VIP hostess, and other similarly aggrieved female employees.

EEOC named as defendants IPI, Best Sunshine International, and IPI Holdings Limited and unnamed individuals. EEOC alleged that IPI subjected the claimants to unwelcome physical and verbal sexual harassment by male patrons. IPI denied all the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

In April 2021, IPI agreed to settle the claims and resolve the lawsuit. IPI and EEOC entered into a consent decree that Chief Judge Ramona Manglona approved on April 27, 2021. The consent decree was signed by IPI chief executive officer Ray Yumul, attorney Stephen Nutting, who represented IPI in the lawsuit, and EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park.

According to the consent decree, IPI secured a settlement amounting to 16 parcels of its Flame Tree Terrace apartments in As Mahetog as collateral. However, instead of complying fully with the various obligations of the decree, the defendants have, to date, only made the first three monthly monetary payments and have been delinquent in making the August and September payments.

Yau said the defendants’ counsel only circulated a draft mortgage of the Flame Tree Terrace to the EEOC recently when the fully recorded secured instrument with respect to the Flame Tree Terrace, which is to be used as a collateral, should have been provided to the EEOC within 20 days of the decree.

Yau said he tried to contact IPI’s attorney on numerous occasions, both in writing and telephonically, to resolve the continued non-compliance without the court’s intervention, to no avail.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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