A member of the CNMI’s House of Representatives has called for Imperial Pacific International’s failed Saipan casino venture to be brought to a spectacular end by destroying its unfinished casino-resort with dynamite.
His comments were made during a meeting of the House Committee on Gaming on Thursday as lawmakers discussed options for the US$600 million Imperial Palace · Saipan should IPI’s casino license be revoked.
According to Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) chair Andrew Yeom, there have already been inquiries from potential bidders for Saipan’s casino license should IPI be given the boot, with acquisition of the company’s seaside development seen as one potential option should a new suitor come onboard.
But that’s not the ideal scenario for Rep. Vicente C. Camacho, who has called for a more explosive solution.
“My plan is to … put dynamites around it and just blow it up into smithereens,” he said, as per a report by local media outlet Marianas Variety.
“Then let us build a memorial for the ancient burial sites and then we can see the ocean again.”
Yeom noted that if a new operator was to purchase Imperial Palace · Saipan, it would almost certainly have to come at a heavily discounted price, to which Camacho replied, “Yeah, I think we should just kill it and dynamite it down. That is what I want done.”
It is looking increasingly likely that IPI, which had its casino license suspended in April, will eventually face a full revocation given its ongoing struggles to cover its debts.
The company has been given six months by the CCC to pay its outstanding US$15.5 million casino license fee and US$3.1 million regulatory fee, as well as a US$6.6 million fine, but has little to no income given its casino had already been closed since March 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
There have also been two separate court orders served this month for IPI’s assets, including gaming machines, vehicles and computer equipment, to be sold off to pay for a US$5.4 million judgement in favor of seven former construction workers and another US$2.1 million judgement in favor of a former contractor.
In a damning indictment of IPI’s current state of affairs, Gaming Committee chairman Edwin Propst told members on Thursday that Imperial Palace · Saipan is now considered to be an abandoned building based on descriptions contained in the building code.
“I worry about IPI’s integrity,” he said.