Lottery Commission yet to meet over IPI request for 5-year extension

IPI says they are waiting for Commonwealth Lottery Commission’s inquiry

Tao Xing, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s senior vice president of Marketing and Public Affairs, answers questions from members of the Commonwealth Casino Commission during a board meeting last week pertaining to IPI’s resubmission last July of its request to the Commonwealth Lottery Commission for a five-year extension on the deadline to finish its Imperial Pacific Resort project in Garapan. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

The Commonwealth Lottery Commission has yet to meet to talk about Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s request last July to be given five more years to finish its Imperial Pacific Resort project in Garapan.

Tao Xing, IPI senior vice president of Marketing and Public Affairs, told the Commonwealth Casino Commission board members during a meeting last week that once CLC starts its inquiry, that’s when IPI will provide evidence on how they are going to have the money necessary to complete this project, whether it’s going to be a loan facility, guarantee, or credit.

“We need to understand what exactly they are looking for,” Xing said.

CCC executive director Andrew Yeom, however, told Xing that CCC board chairman Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero is basically giving him (Xing) hints that CLC wants IPI to do something and not the other way around.

Yeom said CLC is waiting for IPI to provide enough information for them to decide what action to take. “You keep asking they should give you the schedule. It should be the other way,” he said.

The executive director said IPI should come up with the financial funding plan on where they are going to get the money necessary to complete the IPR project. “They’re waiting for such information. At this point, they’re perturbed. They don’t know what to do with you because obviously the information that you provided is insufficient,” Yeom told Xing.

Xing said that once they receive CLC’s inquiry, they will definitely respond.

Yeom said he does not blame Xing because the latter does not plan IPI’s financial funding status. “And you keep referring to Hong Kong (IPI’s mother company) which is true, but please tell them come up with the plan. That’s first and foremost,” Yeom said.

Xing said they had a plan that they already submitted to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and that if CLC has any question or further inquiry, they will respond.

CCC vice chair Rafael Demapan said that, based on what he heard during discussions with Xing, it appears to him that both parties—CLC and IPI—are waiting for each other to initiate “something.” Demapan suggested that Xing follow-up with CLC and request for a hearing.

“So when there is a date, hopefully by that time, you will have those information. That is very important for them to make a sound decision. But someone has to initiate a meeting,” he said.

Xing agreed.

IPI is required by the exclusive casino license agreement to complete IPR’s construction by February 2021.

DeLeon Guerrero said IPI has failed to make that happen, so technically it is in default of the agreement and there should be liquidated damages imposed on IPI. He said IPI’s request for the five-year extension did not provide an attachment to CLC, to Torres, and to the CCC on its financial capability to carry out such a plan.

“And it’s like, are you joking with us? How can you ask us to extend you five years when you have absolutely demonstrated no money at all, not financially suitable,” DeLeon Guerrero said.

He said IPI should prepare a position statement on how it will finish the project if it has the money. He said it is IPI’s obligation since it is the one in default, not the government.

DeLeon Guerrero said CLC does not want to hear IPI say it has the money, but wants to see concrete proof that IPI not only has the money but has the money allocated for the purpose of completing IPR.

The chairman said if they follow Public Law 18-56, IPI is not financially suitable and that’s the whole issue why the company is facing a lot of these sanctions.

Xing said they will talk to their parent company in Hong Kong to see how they can better provide a picture of their finances to complete the project.

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

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