The District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands has lifted a stay on the sale of electronic gaming machines owned by Imperial Pacific International, operator of shuttered Saipan casino Imperial Palace‧Saipan.
The order had been in place since last year, with the court putting a hold a series of auctions that had been due to take place after Clear Management Ltd, a company headed by veteran gaming industry figure Tim Shepherd, was appointed as receiver.
Clear Management had been planning to run one auction per month for six months after taking a number of remote bids on IPI’s gaming equipment, with the auctions aimed at repaying some of the US$2.1 million IPI had been ordered to pay USA Fanter Corporation for construction work at Imperial Palace‧Saipan in 2019. Legal action was launched in January 2020 after IPI failed to pay.
While IPI was previously successful in having such action delayed, Chief Judge Ramona V Manglona this week granted the request of seven workers to lift the stay in order to satisfy the judgement in USA Fanter’s case against IPI, according to local media outlet Marianas Variety.
Manglona has given IPI two weeks to lodge any objections around which items are re-listed on Clear Management’s website for auction, while any such sale remains subject to the court’s approval.
The potential sale of its gaming equipment comes with IPI also fighting to save its casino license. The company currently owes almost US$100 million in unpaid fees to the CNMI government as it awaits a long-promised capital injection from an investor.
Korea’s IH Group is planning is reportedly ready to take over the operations of the casino and luxury villas at Imperial Palace · Saipan with a US$150 payment said to be on its way to settle IPI’s obligations, however such payment has not yet been forthcoming with the Commonwealth Casino Commission recently confirming that license revocation remains on the table.