Public Lands Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo called for a press conference last Wednesday to give an account of what had happened prior to the closure of the Mariana Resort & Spa that also resulted in the shutdown of the other properties leased by Kan Pacific Saipan Ltd.
Concepcion-Teregeyo said that DPL had issued a request for proposal for the 55,000-square meter property that was previously leased by Kan Pacific in 2015.
“In 2016 the RFP closed. It took about a year. It was sent out and even outside the CNMI in the hopes of attracting a [foreign] investor.”
“We did not get other [responses to the] RFP outside of IPI. The bid closed and IPI was the only one that submitted a package. In March 2016, [DPL] issued a notice to award to Mark Brown, who at the time was IPI’s chief executive officer. The intent to award listed a couple of things that IPI needs to satisfy.”
Two years later, DPL had yet to issue a lease as DPL was still negotiating with IPI—the lone investor that submitted a bid. “Although, IPI submitted a bid, we were still trying to come to terms with the package. We have vetted it, we have met with them, and we have told them that there are a couple of things that needed to be cleared.”
She pointed out that it would be the Legislature that would approve the land lease agreement—not DPL. “In the end, when that submission is satisfactoty to DPL we will then submit a package to the Legislature.”
“Only the Legislature can approve the Marpi properties…not DPL and not the governor but the Legislature.”
Concepcion-Teregeyo added that they acted at once after realizing in 2017 that they might not have an agreement with IPI in place. “It is likely that we may not have a lease in place by April 2018, which was Kan Pacific’s last day.”
“That’s why, last summer, DPL published [invitations to bid] for security to protect the entire area should we have no lease [and] lawn care, with Saipan having a tropical climate and vegetation growing fast, so we have to protect that.”
She said they needed to make sure that backup plans were in place. “In order to keep the property value up, we needed to make sure we maintain the property. We needed to have backup plans should we not have a lease in place. April 30 came along, and still no lease agreement but there’s a reason for that.”
Concepcion-Teregeyo acknowledged that her department was criticized for allegedly not doing its job. “We’re doing our jobs, we’re making sure that we just don’t award it to IPI or to anybody.”