Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is pushing back against the notion that it doesn’t have enough money to pay its staff or contractors.
On Friday, IPI issued a statement saying that the company had been “experiencing transfer issues to fund the company’s payroll for the Aug. 17, 2018 pay period.” IPI claims that despite these issues, it had managed to pay “over 2,000” of its hourly employees on time this week, while salaried employees will receive their wages “within the week.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Edwin Propst used his personal Facebook page to post an IPI internal memo to its staff dated August 16 which first revealed the “partial payroll delay.”
Earlier this month, the Saipan Tribune reported that construction firm GPPC Inc and some other key contractors were asking local politicians to put pressure on IPI to pay its outstanding bills. An IPI rep told the paper that the company was “currently working on the settlement payment with GPPC and other vendors following the completion of its ongoing routine evaluation of all of its service providers.”
The news follows IPI”s announcement earlier this week that its chairman Marco Teng, who assumed the role in January, had resigned in order to “pursue endeavors of his personal interest.”
IPI’s board of directors are scheduled to meet on August 30 to discuss the company’s interim results for the first half of 2018. This month’s developments will have analysts sharply watching one particular financial figure: the amount of outstanding VIP gambling debts.
While IPI has made headlines for its enormous VIP gambling turnover – even before it opened its permanent (albeit unfinished) gaming venue – it has also raised eyebrows for the enormous sums it writes off in bad credit markers, a sum that hit over $500m just last year.
As for that unfinished gaming venue and IPI’s decision to bring in foreign workers to speed up the pace of construction, US Rep. Gregorio Sablan went public this week with his concerns that American workers “have now lost their jobs, replaced by foreign workers.”
Sablan also noted that IPI’s casino license agreement required the company to ensure that Americans made up 65% of the construction workforce, “an objective that has not been met.” Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US Commonwealth.