Ray Naraja Yumul has resigned from his position as chief executive officer of the controversial Saipan exclusive casino licensee, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC.
The IPI board of directors informed their employees and stakeholders yesterday that after serving a one-year term with IPI as CEO, Yumul resigned effective Tuesday, Feb. 1.
“We are grateful for the contributions he had made during his tenure and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said the IPI board in a memorandum.
As of press time yesterday, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from Yumul.
At the Commonwealth Casino Commission’s monthly board meeting last Thursday, Yumul lost his temper about the removal of the tower cranes at IPI’s casino/resort project site in western Garapan, telling CCC board chair Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero that he can “go to hell” in reaction to a comment the chairman made about the cranes.
Yumul, however, later apologized to the board.
Yumul later told Saipan Tribune in an interview after the meeting that so many local politicians benefitted from IPI and now he’s cleaning up their mess. He demanded that CCC look into political influence committed by local politicians to coerce from IPI sweetheart contracts, land leases, and “interesting contributions.”
“Yes, I do know exactly what the Federal Bureau of Investigation had confiscated,” said Yumul without elaborating it.
In November 2019, the FBI executed several search warrants on Saipan, including the office of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. As of yesterday, no one has been charged in connection with those searches.
In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry yesterday, CCC executive director Andrew Yeom said the CCC never granted IPI’s application for Yumul to be its CEO.
Yeom said they allowed Yumul to speak during last Thursday’s board meeting about IPI’s tower cranes removal as a member of the public. He said Yumul “over-exercised” that option to talk “as if he is the licensed CEO of IPI,” which was not the case.
The executive director said Yumul clearly crossed his boundaries during the meeting and in fact later apologized to the board.
“He was never licensed as a CEO and still is not,” Yeom said.
Yumul, who is a former Saipan senator, accepted the position of CEO of IPI in January 2021. He then stated that he is considering the job because he wants the casino industry to succeed and resolve the many issues that IPI is facing.