Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International has appointed Donald Browne, its senior vice president having served since 2015, as the new CEO.
According to an internal message from IPI management to its employees, Browne is a well-regarded leader of IPI with decades of gaming experience.
“In his previous role as senior vice president, he proves that his experience and drive will take IPI to the next level of growth and development under a reorganized structure,” added the company.
Last month, the embattled casino operator was ordered by the Commonwealth Casino Commission to appoint a CEO, as well as to maintain three months working capital, and to settle all payable accounts.
Mark Brown was the last CEO of IPI, who resigned from the position last December.
A group of workers from Turkey have filed the latest lawsuit against Imperial Pacific International, this time on accusations that the company lured them to Saipan on various false promises about their working conditions.
The Commonwealth Casino Commission board approved an order that temporarily adjusted a requirement for Imperial Pacific International to maintain $1 million at minimum in its casino cage. The ruling will allow the company to move the estimated $688,000 to $690,000 to a secure place.
Commonwealth Casino Commission Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero raised concern to Imperial Pacific International CEO Donald Browne about the possible impact of Chinese government’s potential blacklisting of cross-border or overseas gambling destinations.
The CNMI Lottery Commission approved Imperial Pacific International’s request to extend for three years the deadline to pay its US$20 million community benefit fund contribution and to defer for five years the payment of the US$36 million that IPI failed to remit in previous years. Meanwhile, construction woes continued with a new lawsuit against IPI and a dispute with the construction engineers.
Imperial Pacific International CEO says that he is being used as a pawn to satisfy the demands of “millionaire” plaintiff lawyers and he is willing to risk jail to pay employees first. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Casino Commission says it is looking into IPI’s failure to pay its employees and the Department of Public Works says it still doesn’t have all the documents it needs to authorize IPI to resume casino hotel construction.
The stakes are getting higher for Imperial Pacific International, particularly after a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs asked the court for Chief Executive Officer Donald Browne to be jailed for contempt of court.
Commonwealth Casino Commission Chair Edward Deleon Guerrero is skeptical about Imperial Pacific International’s claim that an investor that has put up US$5.59 million as a security deposit on behalf of the firm at a time when the mother company in Hong Kong is unwilling to do likewise.
Imperial Pacific International Senior Vice-President for Media and Public Affairs Tao Xing has told the local media that the firm anticipates it will receive permission from the CNMI Department of Public Works to resume hotel-casino construction this week.
Imperial Pacific International CEO Donald Browne has declared that regulators and lawmakers should stop worrying about “minor issues” and instead focus on eliminating the roughly 700 “unregulated and unlawful” gaming machines on Saipan.
Imperial Pacific International is facing additional court action in relation to the firm’s unwillingness or inability to meet its financial obligations. The CNMI Division of Revenue and Taxation collection branch has filed another tax lien notice, and the company is said to have not complied with the federal court order to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees in one of the cases against it.