IPI on verge of having CNMI accounts seized

Troubled operator Imperial Pacific International appears on the verge of having US$6.9 million seized from its CNMI bank accounts in order to pay damages in a lost lawsuit to former contractor Pacific Rim Land Development.

In late April, Pacific Rim won a judgement against IPI in the amount of US$5.7 million for breach of contract, and this was later amended upward to US$6.9 million accounting for interest and legal fees.

IPI lawyer Michael Dotts is appealing the April judgement, arguing that enforcing it will cause the company to close its doors and put more than a thousand people out of work.

Moreover, some local politicians and regulators believe that IPI failed to properly contribute US$40 million to the Community Benefit Fund, which would be a breach of the Casino License Agreement. Some believe that Governor Ralph Torres has been shielding IPI in this respect, failing to make clear the actual facts of what was paid and when.

IPI lawyer Dotts has effectively admitted that not all of the agreed funds have been paid, but instead asserting that IPI has paid over US$300 million in taxes since starting its business, has been a job creator, and has stimulated tourism growth for the CNMI as a whole.

“Now IPI needs the help of the CNMI,” he declared.