The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) of the CNMI says it is looking into a potential breach of orders related to Imperial Pacific International’s casino license after the troubled operator was forced to delay paying employees for the fourth week in a row.
IPI CEO Donald Browne told staff via a memorandum that payroll was delayed again while the company sought additional funding, the fourth time since early October that employees have failed to receive their pay.
“IPI is committed to its employees. We are working tirelessly to find the funding needed to get the paychecks in your hands. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this continues to cause you,” Browne said, as reported by Marianas Variety.
However, such a delay flies in the face of an order issued in June that stipulated IPI must ensure it has three weeks’ payroll deposited in a bank account under its own name at all times. The CCC also ordered the appointment of a new CEO, whuch ultimately saw Browne assume the role, and for IPI to meet its financial obligations to both private vendors and the CNMI government.
Should IPI fail to comply with any of them, CCC Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said at the time, then, “I’m sorry to say, we have to revoke the license and the game is over.”
Asked by Marianas Variety for comment on this latest failure to pay, Guerrero said, “We’re looking into it now … that’s on the agenda, for [IPI] to update the commission on the status of [the payroll delay].
“If it does not comply, it could result in the suspension of its license, and if they do not comply with whatever the requirements of that suspension are, it may result in the revocation of that license.”
Browne told Saipan Tribune on Thursday that IPI was still awaiting funds from its parent company in Hong Kong, which had failed to arrive on schedule.
“As you know our business has been closed [due] to the pandemic and we have no income to support payroll and other obligations,” he said.
“Although employees are understanding, this has created a severe hardship.”
IPI is also waiting for permission to resume construction work on its Saipan integrated resort after the Department of Public Works issued a stop work order late last month for failure to submit complete construction documents.