At this point, Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is all but washed up in Saipan. The casino operator has bungled its Imperial Palace casino from the start and has never shown that it was willing to make even the tiniest effort to get on the right track. Things are going from bad to worse, with a judge now greenlighting the removal of physical assets in Imperial Palace in order to cover IPI’s outstanding debt to workers who sued the company for mistreatment and abuse. Soon, there won’t be anything left except for, perhaps, a few light fixtures and trash cans. This is the second asset forfeiture order issued in two weeks.
Too Much Debt, No Way to Pay
This past May, Federal Judge Ramona Manglona of the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), someone who has spent more time dealing with IPI than she would have probably liked, ruled in favor of seven former IPI employees who had sued over slave-like labor conditions. There were times, according to previous reports, that employees were forced to live without electricity and water, and Judge Manglona told IPI to cough up $5.4 million to settle the employees’ claims. Payment has not been made in accordance with the court order, and the judge has now approved an asset seizure to settle the claim.
Judge Manglona has given the US Marshals the authority to confiscate IPI property “including but not limited to: (1) all computer hardware, furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, and casino gaming machines identified in the ‘List of Assets’ filed by IPI’s attorney on March 3, 2021, and (2) the two crystal dragons hanging in the IPI casino that are identified in IPI’s March 8, 2021, filing in a different civil lawsuit that involved IPI.” The crystal dragons are amazing pieces of art and would look great in any living room, provided it’s big enough.
Imperial Palace a Shell of its Former Self
Just over a week ago, IPI was ordered – also by Judge Manglona – to give up other assets. That was the result of the company’s non-payment of at least $2 million owed to a construction company, and IPI lost gaming machines, vehicles and more as a result. The company reportedly still owes another construction company, Pacific Rim, several million dollars and, unless something drastic happens soon, more assets could likely be seized to cover that debt, as well.
The millions of dollars being covered through the asset seizure doesn’t include the millions IPI owes the CNMI government. It hasn’t made its required license payments and is behind on other community support obligations, and it doesn’t appear that it is close to receiving a multimillion-dollar injection of funds. IPI has already had its Imperial Palace license suspended and the casino has been closed since March of last year because of COVID-19. At this point, anyone interested in operating a casino in Saipan can ready the checkbook for when the entire property is finally, after years of being an embarrassment to the CNMI, is put on the auction block.