Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) says it’s taking legal action to quash rumors questioning the company’s solvency.
On Friday, IPI issued a statement saying “a rumor is circulating on social media about a senior executive of IPI, and the financial status of the company. The rumor is completely baseless and untrue. If in fact IPI had or will be initiating bankruptcy proceedings, an announcement with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange would have been made.”
The statement went on to say that “the rumor of the bankruptcy proceeding is completely false” and the company was taking “legal action against the original online source spreading slanderous fake news.” IPI didn’t specify the identity of these online rumormongers.
IPI’s missive came just days after the company informed the markets that it was seeking to raise $38.3m via a bond placement to fund “general corporate purposes.” That announcement followed IPI’s revelation in August that its profits had plunged 91.3% in the first six months of 2018.
Also in August, IPI’s staff and independent contractors reported that the company was having trouble issuing salaries and payments due to unspecified “transfer issues.” IPI later said that its hourly employees had received their full salaries on their normal schedule, while white-collar staff would be paid with only a minor delay.
IPI has struggled to complete its permanent Saipan gaming venue, the Imperial Pacific Resort, due in part to labor shortages. Last month, the US Department of Labor announced it was investigating whether IPI was in compliance with the H-2B temporary worker visa program. That announcement came shortly after IPI sacked 80 Filipino construction workers it had brought in to speed up the pace of construction but then claimed that “the demand of the construction project” necessitated their dismissal.
Last month also saw IPI welcome back its former chairman Mark Brown to oversee completion of the resort. Brown’s return followed a host of senior management exits, including the company’s chairman, CEO and several directors.