Posted on: July 21, 2021, 1:02 a.m.
Last update on: July 21, 2021, 02:18 p.m.
The United States Marshals Service has been instructed by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands to seize the assets of the closed Imperial Palace Saipan casino complex.
Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific International (IPI), the developer of the $ 3.9 billion integrated complex, has faced numerous lawsuits and regulatory fines.
In May, Chief Justice of the Mariana Islands District Court, Ramona Manglona, ruled in favor of seven former construction workers who claimed the IPI had violated numerous clauses in their employment contracts, including some resulted in serious injury.
The court verdict demanded that IPI pay the seven plaintiffs a combined amount of $ 5.43 million, or approximately $ 775,000 each. Imperial Pacific filed appeals, which Manglona rejected.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Northern Mariana Islands came under American sovereignty on November 4, 1986.
Computers, gaming machines grab
IPI, considered financially insolvent, failed to pay license fees of $ 15.5 million and regulatory fees of $ 3.1 million for 2021.
The company has also failed to honor its annual pledges of $ 20 million to the Island’s Community Benefit Fund, which was part of the IPI’s license approval, since 2017. The courts have held that also agreed to construction companies who claim they owe $ 14 million in return.
With shares of Imperial Pacific International trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at less than a US cent, Manglona orders the US Marshals to seize the available assets of the Imperial Palace Saipan to deliver some sort of reward to the seven workers.
Manglona says federal agents should seize all computers, furniture and equipment, motor vehicles and casino gaming machines. In addition, the marshals must take two large crystal dragons hanging in the hotel lobby.
The Marshals Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States. The office is part of the US Department of Justice.
The primary responsibility of the Marshals Service is to protect federal judges and politicians. But the agency also manages the arrests of fugitives, the management of criminal assets, the federal witness protection program and the execution of federal arrest warrants.
The casino remains closed
Saipan Imperial Palace closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. The casino, hotel and resort all remain closed.
In April, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Casino Commission ordered the indefinite suspension of Imperial Palace’s casino license. The decision was the result of the company’s non-payment of the associated annual dues, as previously mentioned, as well as its non-compliance with court rulings.
Imperial Pacific International reported a loss of $ 367 million in 2020 on revenue of just $ 3.6 million. Despite the dismal performance, the company told investors the future was bright.
Our group remains committed to our mission of improving Saipan tourism ”, a note to investors said. “Once the travel restrictions in Saipan are lifted, the Saipan Imperial Palace Casino will resume operations. “
The Casinos Control Commission, however, said the casino will not welcome players again until these outstanding licensing and regulatory fees are corrected.