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TRO vs CCC extended anew

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The temporary restraining order in place against the Commonwealth Casino Commission has been extended again to give the Superior Court more time to decide whether the preliminary injunction that Imperial Pacific (CNMI) LLC asked for is necessary or not.

The TRO, which prevents the commission from releasing certain information about IPI’s financial statements that it insists are confidential, was supposed to lapse last Friday.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo swas also supposed to issue an order on the matter last Friday.

However, in an order on Friday, Govendo said that extending the TRO is necessary to appropriately decide on the preliminary injunction. He extended the TRO to July 25.

Compared to a TRO, a preliminary injunction is considered a more long-term solution to prohibiting the release of certain information while the lawsuit is ongoing.

IPI is suing CCC to prohibit the commission from releasing information contained in their audited financial reports that they insist is confidential, arguing that the audit also contains information about two other sister-companies of IPI that do not operate on Saipan and are not the casino licensee and are therefore out of the commission’s purview.

Govendo issued a temporary restraining order against CCC and held a three-day hearing on IPI’s motion for preliminary injunction. After completing the three-day hearing, Govendo placed the matter under advisement, while encouraging them to sit down and resolve the matter, considering that IPI’s tax information is no longer the only issue being argued, but other information included in IPI’s audited financial statements that was not divulged in court.

Last week, CCC’s five members unanimously rejected IPI’s proposal for CCC to agree to what essentially is another preliminary injunction that will give IPI 120 days to push an amendment of the law to resolve their legal dispute.

CCC members agreed to just wait for Govendo to release an order on the dispute.

To resolve the ongoing dispute, CCC made an offer to IPI for IPI to withdraw the lawsuit and work on having the law amended.

IPI’s counter-offer was to be given 120 days to work on having the law amended but the CCC refused.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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