Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Andrew Yeom has underscored the need for sufficient funding with CEC’s court battles against Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, as well as in an arbitration process.
Yeom in his latest executive report obtained by Saipan Tribune yesterday said the CCC board needs to discuss not so much on legal strategies but purely on funding these crucial legal actions with IPI.
He also disclosed that IPI is fully updated with its payroll to employees as of Aug. 12, 2022, after the company paid the five pay periods that it has been in arrears.
With respect to court action, Yeom said that last Aug. 23, IPI filed an appeal at the CNMI Supreme Court to reverse the Superior Court’s ruling that affirmed CCC’s suspension of IPI’s exclusive casino license.
“Therefore, we are now faced with this suspension appeal while we figure out the next move on current revocation matter as well as to decide and/or possibly go through the arbitration process all in parallel,” Yeom said.
On April 22, 2021, the CCC board ordered the indefinite suspension of IPI’s gaming license for not complying CCC’s many orders. The board directed IPI to pay $6.6 million in total penalty within six months from the order, and pay immediately $15.5 million and $3.1 million in annual casino exclusive license fee and annual casino regulatory fee, respectively.
IPI then filed a court action before the Superior Court to challenge the CCC board’s suspension order.
In September 2021, Yeom filed five complaints against IPI—each one seeking the immediate revocation of its exclusive casino license, after IPI failed comply with the suspension order for not paying the fees.
Last March 16, Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan affirmed CCC’s order suspending IPI’s exclusive casino license as he dismissed IPI’s court action.
In May 2022, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted IPI’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent CCC from holding a hearing on May 24 and 25, 2022 to revoke IPI’s casino license. The TRO was subsequently extended for various reasons, including the parties’ settlement discussions.
Last Aug. 24, Judge Manglona granted IPI’s request for a preliminary injunction against CCC to prohibit the commission from revoking IPI’s exclusive casino license. The judge issued the order to allow IPI to pursue its right to arbitration.
CCC was ordered to participate in the arbitration process.
Arbitration is a procedure wherein two parties agree on one or more arbitrators to make a decision in their dispute in order to resolve a disagreement outside of court proceedings.
Yeom informed the CCC board last week that all these court actions and arbitration will surely require significant time, manpower, effort, and sufficient funding.
Pertaining to IPI’s payroll, Yeom said he is glad to hear that the employees have been fully paid, but that this matter remains to be monitored.