IPI negotiating with former senator Yumul for CEO job

CCC board chair Deleon Guerrero says IPI must first pay casino license fee

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has reached a verbal agreement with former Saipan senator Ray N. Yumul to be their new chief executive officer, Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Andrew Yeom disclosed yesterday.

Yumul, who attended the CCC board meeting at CCC’s conference room at the Springs Plaza in Gualo Rai yesterday, merely watched the proceedings and did not speak.

When asked if he has already accepted the position, Yumul only said that negotiations are still ongoing.

Ray Yumul’s brother, House of the Representatives floor leader Rep. Ralph N. Yumul (R-Saipan), was chairman of the House Committee on Gaming in the previous 21st Legislature.

Ray Yumul was a senator when he served as a running mate for Heinz S. Hofschneider, who ran as an independent candidate for governor during the 2014 general elections. The election led to a run-off contest, in which Eloy S. Inos and his running mate, Ralph DLG Torres, were elected as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

At the CCC board meeting yesterday, Yeom revealed he learned during his meeting with IPI Tuesday that IPI has reached a verbal agreement with Ray Yumul to be their CEO.

Yeom said they informed Yumul that he must apply for a casino key employee license immediately, so the CCC can approve or not his role as CEO.

When asked about this, CCC board chair Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said they do not envision giving a license to any IPI employee, including a new CEO (Yumul), unless IPI pays its casino license fee. He pointed out that IPI is required by the casino regulations to pay the casino license fee.

IPI has so far been unable to pay the $15.5 million annual casino license fee for 2020 that was due last Aug. 12, and the $3.1 million annual regulatory fee that was due last Oct. 1.

Ray N. Yumul

Deleon Guerrero said the last CEO, Donald R. Browne, did submit an application to move from IPI’s vice president for Security and Surveillance to CEO. Deleon Guerrero said Browne still has an active CKE license for the VP position and he submitted an application to be the CEO as required by the regulation.

“We actually completed our diligence review, but we could not proceed because the license fee that is required to be paid has not been paid by IPI,” he said.

Deleon Guerrero also pointed out that they never did license him to be the CEO, but allowed him to speak before CCC meetings because he is a licensed IPI senior vice president of Security and Surveillance and the highest person representing IPI on island. He said they allowed Browne to speak for the purpose of making things from IPI move along.

The chairman said he understands that since Browne’s resignation, IPI has been talking to Yumul about appointing him as the new CEO.

Deleon Guerrero remains noncommittal about the subject, though, saying he has not heard from Yumul or IPI, and that he does not want to preempt the matter. But whoever IPI decides to appoint as a CEO, he or she must fully understand the laws surrounding CNMI gaming, Deleon Guerrero said.

“This new CEO must demand that IPI fully understands those duties and obligations,” he said, adding that the CEO must understand casino regulations, the casino minimum internal control standards, and the casino license agreement.

“All of those have deliverables and you cannot have the CEO say, ‘I’m sorry I’m new, I don’t understand.’ You are required to understand,” Deleon Guerrero pointed out.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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