OAG withdraws motion to enter IPI financial info as evidence

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Posted on Jul 11 2019

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The Office of the Attorney General that is representing the Commonwealth Casino Commission has decided against entering the audited Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC financial report for 2018 as evidence in the ongoing preliminary injunction hearing.

Assistant attorney general Michael Ernest informed the court in a hearing yesterday that he is withdrawing the Ernest & Young audited financial report from being entered as evidence.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo granted Ernest’s request but said the audited financial report would not be released to the commission or the OAG.

In an interview with IPI lawyer Viola Alepuyo, she said the fact that CCC tried to enter the audited report it obtained from the Legislature into evidence was offensive.

“I’m going to go back to my medical records example. Medical records are absolutely private. It’s protected by federal and local laws and so are tax information. If somebody who works at the hospital takes my medical records and they go to the Legislature and they submit it, does that mean that it is not confidential anymore? You cannot use the Legislature as your tool to try to make a confidential document no longer confidential. One person’s wrongdoing should not be the basis of trying to circumvent rules and laws,” she said.

When asked why they are still fighting to keep the 2018 audited financial report confidential despite it already being leaked on social media and being in the records of the Legislature, Alepuyo said it is to ensure that it does not happen for future audited reports.

“Please, don’t just think about this as ‘this time.’ What are we going to do about 2019, 2020, 2021? And it’s not just about IPI. It’s about other companies as well and their confidential information,” she said.

Ernest withdrew entering the audited financial report into evidence following revelation yesterday that CCC itself could have given the report to the Legislature, which then made it public.

Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) said in a previous interview that Gaming Committee chair Rep. Ralph Yumul (R-Saipan) gave him the report.
The hearing continues today.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.

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