‘They are delinquent in their payment’
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres confirmed over the weekend that casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC paid only a third of its $15-million annual license renewal fee.
“I was given an update from [the Commonwealth Casino Commission] and the [Office of the Attorney General] that they made…[a] $5-million payment,” he told Saipan Tribune in an interview Saturday afternoon.
“I believe there is a procedure that CCC and the OAG is moving into what…the regulation and law requires and we will be moving in that direction, based on what is allowed [for] us to do,” he added.
With IPI “delinquent in their payment,” Torres noted that his administration is right now in the process of determining a legal and proper response.
“There are procedures that need to be followed and this is [an example of a procedure]; they [IPI] are delinquent in their payment, and so there are going to be procedures that need to be done in order for us to…give them due process,” he noted.
CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero previously told Saipan Tribune that he believes IPI also needs to pay an additional $502,000 on top of the $15 million after factoring in adjustments on the consumer price index as statutorily mandated.
Saipan Tribune learned last week that IPI was delayed in paying for their annual casino license fee renewal payment of $15 million. This payment is on top of the annual $20 million Community Benefit Fund that’s supposed to go to community projects.
Saipan Tribune did reach out to Finance Secretary David Atalig for verification on IPI’s payment but, at that time, he was unable to do so since there is usually a 24-hour to 48-hour delay for international wire transfers.
“DOF is aware a wire transfer has been made by the licensee and will verify once the transfer process is completed. International wire transactions usually take 23-48 hours to process. Once verified, DOF will provide notice to the CCC and the Office of the Attorney General,” he previously told Saipan Tribune in a statement.
IPI’s deadline to pay their annual casino license renewal fee was Aug. 12, 2019.
According to the casino license agreement, delayed, partial, or the non-payment of “…any amount due and payable” within the casino license agreement constitutes a breach in the CLA.
A breach in the CLA can result in a license suspension or even revocation.