Media allegations have called Saipan casino regulators corrupt. However, the regulators are fighting back stating they are not unfair, and it is uncalled for from the media. Thursday, February 22, 2018, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands regulators told the public that they had been unfairly treated by the press, particularly Bloomberg’s article. The article stated that millions of dollars had been made to the regulators, in which appear to be sketchy transactions. These payments apparently come from Imperial Pacific International Holdings. It is the only casino operator in Saipan.
Imperial Pacific International Holdings said they are going to sue Bloomberg. Their charge will be defamation. Marianas Variety quoted the casino commission’s director, Edward Guerrero, who said he is looking into the article and will seek legal counsel to provide an appropriate response.
The local media station said the Commonwealth Casino Commission had a meeting Thursday with Juan Sablan, who said nothing was ever received from Imperial Pacific International Holdings that was of any value. He is asking the public to show evidence of misdeeds, including regulatory malfeasance. The statement was stern that the regulators and casino are not going to tolerate such reported allegations without the proper proof.
Commonwealth Casino Commission Inexperienced
Joseph Reyes, the vice chair, said the commission is inexperienced, but they are according to him, quick to learn and are doing the best job they can. Reyes said he is not corrupt, and he wishes the Bloomberg writer to prove his evidence of such corruption because no one on the commission is corrupt.
It was said in the article by Bloomberg that payments made from Imperial Pacific Holdings when to a family member of Saipan Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres. Edward Deleon Guerrero, the director of the commission, is the governor’s uncle. Guerrero further told media that it was misleading to say the family has any stake in Imperial Pacific International’s success. Everyone wants the casino to succeed, including the people who go to the location. Anyone in the Commonwealth would want the jobs to remain, money to be made, and revenue to go to the government via takes as it benefits the economy of Saipan. It does not mean there is corruption.
Bloomberg believes there is a story due to the VIP turnover that the casino reported, which the commission said they verified and found the numbers to be correct when they conducted an audit.