New complaint filed against IPI for failing to pay regulatory fee

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

SAIPAN – Commonwealth Casino Commission acting Executive Director Andrew Yeom filed a complaint on Thursday against Imperial Pacific International for its failure to pay the annual $3 million regulatory fee.

On Thursday, the Commonwealth Lottery Commission did not entertain the IPI request for a 50% reduction in the regulatory fee that funds the casino commission's personnel and operations. The Saipan casino investor also wants the government to limit the authority of the casino commission to gaming operations only.

Casino Commission Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said these “requests” are an insult to the regulatory body, and should be addressed to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Legislature, not to the lottery commission.

In his complaint filed with the casino commission, which will serve as appellate court on the matter, Yeom said the regulatory fee due on Oct. 1 was $3.15 million, which IPI did not pay.

Yeom said IPI’s violations “are inimical to the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth, or … would reflect or tend to reflect discredit upon the Commonwealth or the gaming industry, and the Commonwealth is damaged thereby.”

He stated that although IPI notified the commission that it would not be able to pay the regulatory fee, the casino investor “did not affirmatively inform” the commission in writing after the date for payment had passed that it did not pay — no such writing was received prior to the filing of the complaint.

The executive director asked the commission to issue an order requiring IPI to pay the regulatory fee in full.

Yeom said the violation warrants the payment of a $50,000 fine.

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