IPI hesitates about Tang as receiver

Posted on Mar 04 2021


Even though Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC and its mother company, Imperial Pacific International, Holdings Ltd., aren’t opposed to Joyce Tang being appointed receiver of IPI if it goes into receivership, IPI counsel Michael Dotts feels that Tang cannot serve the dual role of being an IPI receiver while also trustee of the NMI Retirement Fund.

According to Dotts in IPI’s filing on Tang acting as receiver, he believes that Tang, as the trustee of the NMI Retirement Fund, has a duty of loyalty to the retirees’ interest.

With IPI being the main contributor to the Retirement Fund and with Tang’s main duty to the retirees, Dotts said she cannot, at the same time, maintain the duty of strict impartiality required of a receiver over the assets of IPI.

“Although IPI does not object to Tang serving as the receiver for IPI, she should not continue as the trustee of the NMI Retirement Fund and serve as the receiver here,” said Dotts.

In addition, IPI opposes Tang using her own law firm, Civille & Tang PLLC, as her counsel. “No one should be appointed who is in such circumstances or would by the appointment be placed in a dual position that there arise conflicts between her personal interest and her duty as receiver,” said Dotts.

Dotts said that should Tang act as both receiver and have the law firm that she holds an equal interest in act as the attorney for the receivership estate, she will have a dual role, in which she will in effect be both the client and the attorney.

In order to avoid appearance of impropriety, Dotts said that a law firm other than Tang’s law firm should be selected as her counsel.

In a separate filing, attorney Juan T. Lizama, counsel to IPIH chair Cui Lie Jie, said that Cui agrees with any hiring of attorneys from Tang’s own firm.

“In the interest of reducing costs and legal fees, rather than hiring an outside firm, she should be allowed to seek legal assistance from her own firm or from any individual attorney in the firm,” said Lizama. “The goal is to satisfy the judgment and to quickly conclude the receivership.”

However, Lizama said that if the U.S. Department of Labor and the CNMI Retirement Fund have any potential conflict between them, or if there has been in the past, then he could see a possible conflict for Tang in the future.

“I would ask the court to consider not only the day-to-day tasks of Tang in her role as receiver in this case but to Tang’s clients also and whether those clients might have a conflict in the future,” said Lizama.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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