A Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the release of Imperial Pacific International’s financial information by the local regulator amid allegations the company owes more than US$70 million.
The restraining order follows a request by the Commonwealth Casino Commission earlier this month seeking IPI’s audited financial statements, including tax payments, which it planned to release publicly this week.
While release of the information has now been delayed until a 9 July hearing, Rep Edwin Propst told a House Committee on Tuesday that the 27-page audit report reveals IPI still owes US$33 million in corporate income tax from 2017, US$5 million in business gross receipt tax from 2018 and another US$35 to vendors, according to Marianas Variety.
Propst said he was concerned that “at the time we are cutting salaries and work hours we have a casino that is failing to pay its fair share of taxes” and that while the CNMI is struggling to raise public funds, “there is a casino that is supposed to bring money to the CNMI but is not delivering.”
In a statement, IPI Chairman Mark Brown reportedly told Marianas Variety the company “is put between a rock and a hard place. We want a good working relationship with our regulator, the CCC, [and] as is expected of IPI, we must follow all laws, like everyone else.
“All we are doing is asking the court to enforce the laws that say that a person has a protected right to privacy with their tax and other sensitive company information.”