By Johnnie Rosario
Charlie Atalig, acting executive director of the Commonwealth Casino Commission, has filed a complaint with the commission seeking the revocation of Imperial Pacific International's casino license, and fines for breach of contract.
The complaint alleges what casino critics, including members of the legislative minority, have maintained for months: IPI is in material breach of its contract with the people of the CNMI for failure, among other things, to remit Community Benefit Fund monies as contractually obligated.
Mr. Atalig, in his complaint, informs the commission of IPI's failure to remit $30 million out of a total $40 million IPI was supposed to deposit into the CBF from January 2018 forward. He also alleges IPI did not self-report its non-compliance, as required by the terms of the license.
The complaint, however, is a prayer for mercy answered on the casino's behalf. Though evidence of several material breaches of the casino license agreement has been brought to light by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the CNMI House of Representatives, Mr. Atalig did not include those allegations in his filing and maintained that in the absence of these other allegations, IPI is not in habitual abrogation of its contract.
Rather than alleging that IPI's continuous non-payment of its outstanding $30 million to the CBF was a purposeful act, Mr. Atalig instead alleges that IPI's failure was not necessarily intended, or an act of omission.
According to Mr. Atalig's complaint, he seeks $50,000 in fines per material breach, and the suspension of the IPI casino license until such time IPI pays up.
See the complaint in full below: