The US District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands has officially appointed a receiver and set the terms of receivership ahead of Friday afternoon’s deadline for Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC and its owners to comply with a consent judgement.
According to the court order, dated 10 March 2021, IPI, its parent company IPI Holdings and Chairman Cui Li Jie have until 1.30pm this Friday 12 March to pay the balance of the 2019 consent judgement, totaling US$1,182,793, to the US Department of Labor, to deposit another US$800,000 into an escrow account to secure future payment of wages, and to pay any outstanding back wages owed to workers employed after the consent judgement was entered.
Failure to do so will see Joyce Tang of Civille & Tang, PLLC, immediately “vested with the power and authority … to perform all acts deemed necessary to comply with this Order.”
Those powers include the ability to “take possession of the defendants’ property including all buildings, fixtures, improvements and appurtenances thereon, and personal and business property such as vehicles and equipment.” The property in question would primarily be that associated with IPI’s Saipan integrated resort, Imperial Palace · Saipan.
As receiver, Tang will be paid US$350 per hour plus applicable business gross revenue tax, while IPI is prevented from “transferring any interest, ownership or control of any entity in which they presently hold such interest, ownership or control” and from transferring any real estate held by themselves individually or otherwise, or interfering in any way with the subject of the order.
While IPI’s Imperial Palace · Saipan has long been a troubled project, its woes have worsened over the past year with the suspension of casino operations due to COVID-19. The company had since sought to abate its annual US$15.5 million license fee for 2020 and called for a reduction in its regulatory fee, but has also faced constant legal issues related to the payment of workers and contractors. It also missed a series of wage cycles of its own employees.
Most recently it has faced threats of having its casino license suspended and possibly even revoked.