U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has ordered the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino to refrain from selling or transferring any of its property or assets, except in the normal course of business.
Manglona issued the order on Thursday afternoon after granting the request from two plane crash survivors, who are claiming that Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd., owner of Tinian Dynasty, owe them at least $1.3 million for breaching their settlement agreements.
After hearing from attorney Richard W. Pierce, counsel for survivors Dr. Jun Takimoto and Tomoyuki Nagata, Manglona granted the survivors’ motion to enforce terms of their settlement agreement and the court’s order.
According to the minutes of the hearing, the judge stated that all the facts represented had been adequately shown by the supporting documents, as well as the affidavits, and HKE’s non-opposition to the motion.
Attorney George Anthony Long, counsel for HKE, filed a non-opposition for the hearing. Long also waived HKE’s right to appear at the hearing.
Pierce informed the court that he had discussed the motion with Long on several occasions and both tried to reach a resolution.
According to Pierce in the motion, as of Feb. 2, 2016, HKE owes the Takimoto family and Nagata $714,612.33 and $547,198.71 in principal debt and interests, respectively.
Takimoto and Nagata moved the court to issue an order prohibiting HKE from the sale or transfer of its personal property, except in the normal course of business, such as in sale of food items to customers.
Pierce said his clients believe that the better way to proceed is through a freeze on sale/transfer and then hearing as soon as possible on how best the judgment may be paid.
By that procedure, the lawyer said, his clients are protected and the least disruption occurs to the operations of the Tinian Dynasty.
Takimoto and Nagata were among the seven passengers of a Piper Cherokee aircraft that crashed on a farm in Upper Dandan en route to Tinian on Aug. 11, 2006.
HKE settled the lawsuits filed by the survivors, including one filed by Takimoto and his family, and Nagata. The court subsequently dismissed the lawsuits in February 2010.
In dismissing the lawsuits, the court ordered that it “shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement should the need arise.”
Pierce said in April 2008, Tinian Dynasty ceased making payments on the agreements and the plaintiffs sued for torts and for breach of contract.
Tinian Dynasty settled the lawsuit and amended the initial settlement agreements.
Pierce said HKE has breached the settlement agreements in multiple ways.
The lawyer pointed out that payments were not made for the months of January and February 2016.
He said second, HKE filed for bankruptcy and third, the U.S. government seized assets from HKE, which assets were subsequently forfeited to the U.S.
Pierce asserted that the debts under the Takimoto and Nagata agreements are therefore accelerated with the entire amount now due and owing.