Imperial Pacific International (IPI) comes closer to waving the white flag with each day that passes. The casino operator behind Saipan’s failed Imperial Palace experiment has been as clumsy as a bad episode of The Three Stooges, but without a successful ending. Now, it’s going to lose gaming equipment and vehicles because it hasn’t been able to take care of its public financial responsibilities. That, coupled with its inability to cover taxes and licenses, will likely be enough to push the company over the edge.
IPI Barely Keeps its Head Above Water
Years of bad decisions, poor money management and “incompetent” leaders have brought IPI to where it is today – a massively indebted company with no signs of being able to turn things around. It owes millions of dollars to the government and millions to private companies, and has already proven that it doesn’t have the funds to cover its responsibilities. If there had been any chance of relying on its tangible assets to bring in new funds, those chances have just disappeared, as well.
IPI brought in the services of construction company USA Fanter Corp. Ltd. to help with its Imperial Palace build-out, entering into a contract worth a couple of million dollars. Fanter was paid $300,000 and was given promises of more, but nothing else came. The company did the work in good faith, but is reportedly out a little more than $2.08 million after IPI’s promises to pay were only followed by echoes.
Fanter was wise to create a contract that included the right to put a mechanic’s lien on IPI property in the event it didn’t receive its compensation. It filed court paperwork against that lien earlier this year, and a federal court judge has signed off on its validity. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has ordered IPI to give up vehicles and gaming machines in order to fulfill the debt owed to Fanter. The combined assets are said to be worth around $3.24 million.
More Debt, No More Money
In addition to owing money to Fanter, IPI also owes several million dollars to Pacific Rim, another construction company that has overseen most of the Imperial Palace work. It is still fighting for compensation and, even with liens in place, there’s no guarantee that money will be seen soon. IPI was told to pay seven former employees $5.4 million this past May, although full restitution has still not been made. The Marianas Variety indicates that the workers have requested the court to order IPI to sell “computer hardware, furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, casino gaming machines and crystal dragons” to settle the payment.
IPI doesn’t have any revenue coming in from the Imperial Palace that would allow it to provide restitution to its growing list of entities waiting for payment. An insurance company has sued for alleged breach of contract, arguing that IPI owes it just over $200,000. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the casino to close, and it’s looking more likely that, years after it should have happened, IPI will finally be kicked out of Saipan.