IPI: CNMI broke agreement on exclusive gaming rights

CASINO RESORT: The Imperial Pacific International casino resort project on Saipan is shown in November 2019. Post file photo

SAIPAN – The funds seized by the U.S. Marshals Service from Imperial Pacific International should be released to Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, which has sued IPI for failing to pay the contractor, according to an attorney in the case.

Pacific Rim, through attorney Colin Thompson, filed a motion on Wednesday in federal court for an order authorizing the U.S. Marshals Service to release funds to the plaintiff.

On April 27, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands entered a judgment in favor of Pacific Rim.

On May 28, the court entered an amended civil judgment in favor of Pacific Rim in the amount of $6.8 million, including the principal amount and attorneys' fees and costs.

Chief Judge Ramona Manglona previously granted the application for a writ of execution of Pacific Rim to seize money owned or controlled by IPI from Bank of Saipan, City Trust Bank, Bank of Guam and First Hawaiian Bank; and two escrow accounts believed to be owned by IPI at Security Title Inc. and Pacific American Title Inc.

Thompson said the money seized from the IPI account with Bank of Saipan and two escrow accounts is currently under the custody of the federal court.

He added that IPI did not request a hearing for the purpose of determining whether some or all of the seized funds may be exempted.

The amount of money seized from the bank and escrow accounts was not mentioned in the motion of the plaintiff.

Thompson said IPI would have filed a challenge to the issuance of the writs if it believed it had any valid reason to file such a challenge.

"This is demonstrated by IPI filing in response to the third application for a writ of execution," Thompson added.

He said neither the court nor the U.S. Marshals Service has released any of the seized funds to Pacific Rim to satisfy the issued judgment.

"The reason for Pacific Rim's motion is to obtain authorization to release funds held by the court for Pacific Rim's benefit to be applied toward satisfaction of its judgment," Thompson added.

Pacific Rim also filed a third application for a writ of execution.

Pacific Rim is asking "to collect or identify for preservation and judicial sale the personal property belonging to IPI including but not limited to the furniture, fixtures, equipment, cash and vehicles located in the Imperial Pacific Resort & Casino in Garapan."

In its fourth application for writ of execution, Pacific Rim specifically named Bank of Saipan. Pacific Rim asked the court to transfer the IPI money from Bank of Saipan and to hold it in the court registry or account until after a hearing on exemptions.

Judge Manglona, however, denied the last two applications of the plaintiff for a writ of execution.