San Nicolas, Alepuyo out as IPI lawyers


Former CNMI attorney general Joey Patrick San Nicolas and Viola Alepuyo are no longer lawyers for casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC.

IPI’s new lawyer, Michael Dotts, confirmed that San Nicolas is no longer IPI’s general counsel.

San Nicolas, who served as CNMI attorney general from 2012 to 2014, started his first day as IPI general counsel last Jan. 6. San Nicolas also served as mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan from January 2015 to January 2019.

When sought for comments, Alepuyo confirmed that she has opened a private law firm and looks forward to private practice. Alepuyo was with IPI as external counsel since 2014, and as an internal counsel since 2015.

Kelley M. Butcher, who is currently in the U.S. mainland, may likely be out as IPI’s counsel when her contract expires at the end of this month, a source said, who added that IPI wants Dotts and his law firm to serve as its new general counsel.

Dotts has been recently seen frequenting the Commonwealth Casino Commission.

IPI general counsel Phillip J. Tydingco had his last day on Dec. 13, 2019.

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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