Despite Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino’s bankruptcy filing on Dec. 11 and numerous “willful and repeat violations” of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas remains optimistic that the casino will reopen.
He concedes that the decision of when the casino will reopen is a matter that is beyond his control or scope of authority.
“It is my hope however, that the casino will soon reopen so that it may begin generating much needed revenues that supplement many essential programs and delivery of services for the people of Tinian,” San Nicolas said.
After the casino’s shutdown in September, many employees under the Tinian Mayor’s Office were furloughed as many staffers were paid using revenue collected from the casino.
Remaining upbeat about the casino’s resumption of operation, San Nicolas named five nominees to the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission last month: Antonio SN. Borja, Jose Kiyoshi, Jose Dela Cruz, David Cing, and Charlene Lizama.
“Specifically, the Gaming Act as codified under 10 CMC, Section 2521(b) states that the mayor shall appoint from a list of qualified candidates. This list shall be composed by the Office of the Mayor…[and] include nominees from all Tinian political parties which are registered with the Commonwealth of Board of Elections,” San Nicolas said.
To be eligible, a person must be 25 years old, a domiciliary of Tinian for not less than five years and a qualified voter of Tinian preceding his or her appointment, not convicted of a felony, and of a good moral character.
“As you can see from the language of the Gaming Act, like appointments to other boards and commissions within the CNMI, the appointment of a commissioner is a discretionary function of the sitting mayor,” he said.
Last week, TCGCC executive director Lucy Blanco-Maratita said that the Tinian Dynasty has not met all the conditions the commission set in order for the casino to reopen at what was originally thought to be Dec. 15.
In order for the casino to open, Maratita said that Tinian must have a fully functioning gaming commission, which has yet to happen, adding that other casino license applicants Alter City Group, Bridge Investment Group and the bankruptcy filing of Tinian Dynasty are currently being addressed.