Judge extends TRO anew


District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona has extended once more the temporary restraining order against the Commonwealth Casino Commission that prohibits it from releasing the audited financial statements of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC.

During the continuance of the hearing for a preliminary injunction yesterday, Manglona heard the arguments of IPI, its subsidiaries, and CCC and, after over two hours, she said she would have to extend the TRO.

The TRO was set to expire today at 11:59pm.

Manglona explained that she was extending the TRO because she was unsure if she would be able to come up with a decision on the preliminary injunction by the TRO’s deadline, since there was a lot of material she had to look over and take advisement of.

Manglona extended the TRO to Aug. 8; it is set to expire at exactly 11:59pm.

She said this will give her enough time to come out with an order and allow the parties to discuss the order once it is released.

During the hearing yesterday, assistant attorney general Benjamin Petersburg, arguing for the CCC, emphasized that there would be no irreparable damage, as IPI claims, if a preliminary injunction is not granted because the information has already been leaked to the public and because witness testimony did say that the damage can be remediated.

He reiterated this point during his closing arguments, pointing out that IPI’s financial reports are already out in public after it was entered in the Legislature and leaked on various social media platforms.

Petersburg also referenced the testimony of Shen Yan, president of the global capital market for Imperial Pacific International LLC in Hong Kong, who earlier testified that investors would be negatively affected, yes, but Yan also mentioned that it would make his job, to raise funds for IPI and entice investors, merely harder and not impossible. “So, if there were any damage, it is repairable,” Petersburg said.

Saipan Tribune archives show that Yan testified that the release of information like audited financial reports would cause negative impact on investors because there’s the issue with confidentiality as well as interpretation that could be false and cause questions about IPI’s financial stability to arise.

IPI lawyer Viola Alepuyo she said she felt the testimony was fair and effectively proved what they needed proven.

“What IPI needed to show was when confidential information is released, there’s a harm and we showed that harm,” she said.

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

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