Michael Dotts, an attorney for Imperial Pacific International (IPI), has confirmed what the rest of the world already suspected. The embattled casino operator behind the long-delayed Imperial Palace in Saipan doesn’t have the money required to satisfy a judgment against it and wants to be able to work out some type of payment plan. IPI is on the hook for almost $3 million through an order pushed through the courts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as millions more to other government and private entities, and has thrown itself on the mercy of the court in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as it seeks leniency. Based on recent assertions by the court, however, leniency might be off the table.
CNMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has already found IPI, as well as its chair, Cui Li Jie, to be in contempt of court for not making good on its financial obligations. Last week, she suggested that, should the company not come up with the outstanding money, she might put it in receivership, selling IPI’s assets to pay everyone off. Dotts informed the court that “IPI lacks funds to make the deposit that the U.S. Department of Labor has requested” and hopes that an installment plan can be worked out.
IPI was to pay $788,022.54 in outstanding wages to its employees, as well as $1.3 million in salary and overtime pay dating back to 2016 and 2017. It was also ordered to set aside $800,000, to be put in an escrow account, to cover employee wages should it default once again. Some of the wages have already been paid, but Dotts explained that one payroll, meant to be covered on January 29, was still outstanding. If IPI can’t come up with the funds to make good on a single pay period, it isn’t clear how it intends to stay up to date with future payrolls while making installment payments to pay off its debt.
In addition to fights over money with the DOJ and CNMI gaming regulators, who are still owed several million dollars, IPI has a new battle to deal with. Xerox wants the court to issue a default judgment against the company for not taking care of its debt. It is looking for just over $182,905 in damages, late fees and interest, which it contends are covered in the service agreement signed by the two companies in 2016.
Xerox tried to put pressure on IPI last December, serving it with a complaint and an official summons. However, according to the company, no one ever responded to it and no legal motion was filed in accordance with legal procedures. Xerox wants IPI to return all of the equipment it provided and pay its attorney’s fees and related costs.