San Nicolas changes mind, now works as general counsel for IPI


Former CNMI attorney general and Tinian mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas changed his mind and accepted the job as general counsel for casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC.

Saipan Tribune learned that San Nicolas yesterday started his first day as IPI general counsel.

Saipan Tribune asked comments from San Nicolas, but he instead forwarded the questions to IPI.

IPI in a statement said San Nicolas has agreed to assume the position of general counsel of IPI, and that he will work on a part-time basis initially to unwind his law practice to ensure his clients’ needs are attended.

“We welcome his arrival and are confident about his future success with the new role at IPI,” IPI said.

Attorney Phillip J. Tydingco’s last day as IPI general counsel was last Dec. 13.

At a hearing last Dec. 12, Tydingco informed U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona that San Nicolas called him five minutes before the hearing to tell him he is reconsidering accepting the job as IPI general counsel.

Tydingco said that IPI hired San Nicolas as his replacement last Dec. 6 and that San Nicolas would soon be filing his appearance in the cases that he (Tydingco) previously handled.

San Nicolas served as CNMI attorney general from 2012 to 2014. He served as mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan from January 2015 to January 2019.

After his term as mayor expired, San Nicolas opened his law firm on Saipan that focuses on civil law, family law, criminal defense, probate law, and corporate law.

San Nicolas is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota in 2003. He is licensed to practice law in the CNMI Superior and Supreme Courts, U.S. District Court for the NMI, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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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