CNMI lawmaker demands US$37 million payment from IPI

Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature lawmaker Tina Sablan is seeking more information about Imperial Pacific International, as well as further revenue from the company.

IPI was required by Section 16 of its Casino License Agreement to pay out US$20 million in 2018 and another US$20 million on or before October 1, 2019, for the Community Benefit Fund, related to programs in healthcare, education, scholarships, infrastructure, and employee retirement benefits.

Sablan told the local media, “Given the economic crisis we face, the projected revenue shortfall of more than US$40 million this fiscal year, and the disruptions to essential public services that we expect, it should be an urgent priority of this administration to collect on that US$37 million, not to mention the many millions in taxes still owed by IPI. The audited financial statement as of December 31, 2018, indicates IPI has only paid out US$3 million, and we want to know who has benefited from these funds, and what actions the governor has taken to enforce this part of the license agreement.”

Sablan has filed an Open Government Act request to the Office of the Governor requesting access to inspect all records related to the IPI and the Community Benefit Fund.

“If the administration cannot or will not take action to hold IPI accountable to the license or the tax laws of the Commonwealth, we need to know that, and we need to know why,” Sablan said.