IPI officials dodge jail time

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Casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC averted jail time for its officials by finally making payments toward federal court-imposed sanctions in the lawsuit filed by a former IPI employee alleging discrimination.

Following a hearing yesterday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona discharged IPI of its contempt in the lawsuit filed by its former employee, Joshua Gray.

Gray’s lawyer, William Fitzgerald, notified the court that, as of yesterday, IPI fully paid off Gray’s attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $19,616.25, purging itself of contempt.

In a notice filed by IPI counsel Stephen Nutting, payment was made in advance of the deadline. IPI made its first payment following the show cause hearing back on Oct. 7, when the court initially found it in contempt anew.

IPI’s first payment totaled $6,616.25. IPI’s second payment, which was issued on Oct. 11, amounted to $13,000, Nutting said, fully paying off the sanction imposed by the court to lift the contempt order against his client.

In the suit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding a former employee who claimed sexual harassment, Fitzgerald updated and apprised the court that IPI was in substantial compliance as only some amount was paid but not the full amount.

Nutting told the court that funds should be available by next week and his client, IPI would be able to pay off what is owed under the judgment in the EEOC case.

According to a previous article on the Saipan Tribune, Manglona entered last Friday findings of contempt anew against IPI for failure to pay the sanctions ordered in favor of Gray, and for failure to comply with discovery orders.

Manglona ordered IPI to pay, in full, the $19,616.25 ordered by the court in a previous sanction no later than Oct. 14. If IPI failed to comply with the order, its officials, including, but not limited to, chief executive officer Ray Yumul and vice president for Public Affairs Tao Xing, faced possible jail time.

Meanwhile in the sexual harassment suit, Manglona found IPI in contempt for failure to pay the monthly payments for August and September 2021 as stated in the consent decree between IPI and the EEOC.

Manglona also ordered IPI Holdings, Ltd., mother company of IPI CNMI, to pay the balance no later than Friday, Oct. 29, for the balance outstanding including daily per diem and interest pursuant to the consent decree. Payments must also be made directly to the claimants or EEOC.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista 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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