SAIPAN — Following a stipulation from Mariana E-Land Corp. and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Lands, CNMI Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho has issued a preliminary injunction enjoining DPL from reissuing a request for proposals pending a determination of the merits of E-Land's complaint filed on July 13.
E-land, owner and operator of Kensington Hotel Saipan, Coral Ocean Point and Pacific Islands Club, sued DPL and DPL acting Secretary Sixto Igisomar, in his official capacity, over the cancellation of the Mariana Resort property lease agreement.
At a hearing on Wednesday, E-land, represented by attorney Charity Hodson, and DPL, represented by CNMI Attorney General's Office Civil Division chief John Lowrey and Assistant Attorney General Stephen Anson, told the court they were filing a stipulation the same day agreeing to "freeze" the court proceedings.
E-Land and DPL stipulated that a preliminary injunction should be issued to enjoin DPL from reissuing the request for proposals until the court has ruled on the merits of E-Land's complaint.
In executing this stipulation, the defendants do not make any admission or concession as to the merits of the complaint or the arguments raised by the preliminary injunction, the attorneys stated.
According to the stipulation, DPL may file a response to the preliminary injunction on or before July 26, and may respond to the complaint on or before Aug. 12.
On March 22, DPL issued a notice of award to E-Land.
However, on June 18, E-Land said the acting DPL secretary issued another letter to E-Land, stating that he was rescinding the award and canceling the request for proposals, which he said would be reissued.
According to DPL, the Office of the Attorney General rejected the draft lease agreement with DPL, stating that E-Land's proposal should not have been considered because it was allegedly not compliant with the minimum rental rates set by regulation.
In its lawsuit, E-Land said the DPL secretary "breached his fiduciary duty in rejecting a proposal that was in the best interest of the commonwealth by failing to stand by the original, correct assessment that E-Land's rent fee was actually greater than the rate of 5% fair market value and 1% of revenue."
CNMI taxpayers have therefore been injured by the breach of fiduciary duty because of the loss of a $220 million investment in the CNMI, E-Land stated in its lawsuit.