Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has informed the Legislature that $8 million of the $15 million casino license fee that Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC paid to the CNMI government two years ago is available for appropriation.
In a letter Monday to Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and House of Representatives Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), Torres said the $8 million—which is part of the sixth-year casino license fee that IPI paid the government—will be divvied up as follows: $1 million is available for appropriation to the First Senatorial District or Rota, $1 million to the Second Senatorial District or Tinian and Aguiguan, and $6 million to the Third Senatorial District or Saipan and Northern Islands.
The governor said that, in coordination with the certification of funding by the Department of Finance and in accordance with Public Law 21-10, the appropriation of $6 million for Saipan will be allocated as follows: $2 million for Sugar Dock construction and repair, $1 million for the Northern Marianas College, $750,000 for Precinct 1, $750 for Precinct 3, $750,000 for Precinct 4, and $750,000 for Precinct 5.
“It is my hope that these funds will be used for the purposes of enhancing the missions and goals of the Northern Marianas College as part of our Commonwealth’s efforts to build our local workforce,” Torres said.
The governor said he hopes that the funds given to each precinct and senatorial district will be utilized in the best interests of the community by implementing programs and projects that target and address specific needs of people.
That was the last time IPI was able to pay the casino license fee. The company failed to pay $15.5 million casino license fee that was due on Aug. 12, 2020, and subsequently on Aug. 12, 2021. IPI has also failed to pay the $3.1 million casino regulatory fee on Oct. 1, 2020, and subsequently on March 3, 2021.
Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Andrew Yeom recently filed four complaints against IPI, each of them seeking the immediate revocation of IPI’s exclusive casino license, for alleged unwillingness to comply with CCC’s final order, including non-payments of the annual exclusive casino license fee and annual casino regulatory fee, in four enforcement actions that were entered over five months ago.
IPI’s casino has been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In April 2021, the CCC board ordered the indefinite suspension of IPI’s gaming license for numerous violations.