Seizure of IPI’s money OK’d

Contractor wants to include 2 title companies
Posted on Jun 10 2020


A contractor who obtained a writ of execution from the federal court that directs the U.S. Marshal Service to seize at least $6.9 million of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s money in four banks on Saipan asked the court yesterday to also seize IPI’s money from two other institutions.

In its second application for a writ of execution, Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, through counsel Colin M. Thompson, informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI that IPI maintains cash accounts in the CNMI at title companies, including Security Title Inc. and Pacific American Title Inc. and asked the court to issue a second writ of execution to transfer money owned or controlled by IPI from Security Title Inc. and Pacific American Title Inc.

Thompson asked the court to hold IPI’s money in the court’s registry or account until after hearing on exemptions, if any.

The lawyer requested the court to set a hearing on the return of the writ and to provide IPI with the opportunity to advance any applicable exemptions.

Thompson said IPI has not posted a bond and has not obtained an order staying or suspending execution of the $6.9-million judgment.

He said the automatic stay expired last May 27 and accordingly, Pacific Rim requests that the writs of execution take effect and be served by the U.S. Marshal today, June 10.

The lawyer said the judgment remains unsatisfied in its entirety as IPI has not paid any sum.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Pacific Rim’s first application for writ of execution last Monday, deeming the application to have met the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Commonwealth statute.

Manglona ordered a writ of execution on the full amount of $6,909,333 on bank accounts of IPI identified in Pacific Rim’s application for the writ. She ordered that IPI be given a notice of its rights.

Following Manglona’s order, District Court clerk Heather Kennedy issued Monday the writ of execution directing the U.S. Marshal to seize IPI’s money not exceeding $6.9 million from the First Hawaiian Bank, City Trust Bank, Bank of Saipan, and Bank of Guam, and to deposit the seized money into the court’s registry or account where it will remain until IPI has had an opportunity for an exemptions hearing.

Last April 27, Manglona entered a judgment in favor of Pacific Rim in the amount of $5.65 million against IPI for breach of promissory note. She later amended the judgment to incorporate pre-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees. The clerk then entered an amended judgment in the amount of $6.9 million plus post-judgment interest.

IPI appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse Manglona’s April 27 judgment for IPI to pay Pacific Rim $6.9 million, including the principal amount of $5.65 million for breach of the promissory note.

Pacific Rim, which IPI had contracted to build IPI’s resort in Garapan, is suing IPI and five unnamed alleged co-conspirators, saying it has completed the agreed-upon construction work yet remains unpaid.

IPI counsel Michael Dotts said denying stay pending appeal will not just force IPI to close its doors, but it will also leave 1,066 people on Saipan jobless.

According to court records, Pacific Rim and IPI entered into a construction contract on Feb. 13, 2018 for Pacific Rim to build a hotel-casino complex in Garapan. Pacific Rim eventually stopped because IPI did not pay it the amounts owed under the contract.

IPI recently filed counterclaims against Pacific Rim for promissory fraud, fraud in the inducement as to the promissory note, violation of Consumer Protection Act, and breach of contract.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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