CPA, 2 companies reach settlement

YACHTS: The Grand Mariana 4 and Grand Mariana 5 are seen docked at Delta Dock of the Port of Saipan in Puerto Rico on March 3, 2023. Emmanuel T. Erediano/For The Guam Daily Post

SAIPAN - The Commonwealth Ports Authority has reached a settlement with two companies it sued for failing to keep up with their lease payments.

CPA filed a lawsuit against Phoenix Services Inc. and Pride Keen Limited in Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Superior Court for breach of contract. CPA said the two companies brought in five yachts to the CNMI pursuant to a business agreement with Imperial Pacific International LLC, but failed to make the lease payments for the use of the CNMI’s commercial docks.

Phoenix Services and Pride Keen, represented by attorneys Stephen Nutting and Michael Chen, removed the lawsuit from the local court and filed it in the District Court for the NMI.

The defendants denied any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, the parties informed Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy of the District Court for the NMI that they had reached a settlement.

CPA representatives Skye Hofschneider and Joy Tenorio appeared at the settlement conference with CPA’s legal counsel, Robert T. Torres.

Phoenix Services Inc. representatives Shang Ming Zuo and Howyo Chi were present with attorneys Nutting and Chen.

Judge Kennedy vacated all hearing dates in the case, and instructed the parties to file a stipulated motion to dismiss on or before Monday, May 22.

According to the lawsuit, Phoenix Services owed CPA over $91,000 in delinquent fees.

Phoenix Services procured the yachts from Pride Keen and signed a lease agreement with CPA for the use of Saipan’s commercial docks, according to CPA's lawsuit.

As for Pride Keen, although it has no involvement in the lease agreements, it has been unjustly enriched as it owns the two vessels that have been docked on Saipan’s commercial docks for years for free, CPA added in the lawsuit.

CPA sued the companies for breach of contract (promissory note, monthly permit fees, home port fees for the Grand Mariana 4 and Grand Mariana 5 yachts) breach of covenant and good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment.