By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Mary Ann Milne is paid $25,500 every three months by Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC to rent a warehouse she owns, as of August 2018.
Kandit made the discovery after reviewing the Commonwealth Casino Commission's August 2018 list of IPI's vendors.
Ms. Milne's husband and business partner is Joseph Castro Reyes, the vice chairman of the Commonwealth Casino Commission.
IPI has been reported repeatedly to the commission for a variety of violations of labor and gaming laws and regulations since 2017, the last time the commission has fined IPI. In 2018, the casino began reneging on its statutory payments to the CNMI government.
Congressman Ralph Yumul recently wrote to the commission asking why it has neglected to pursue tens of millions in payments to the CNMI government, as the CNMI struggles through a $90 million budget deficit and cash shortfall.
Ms. Milne has a history in CNMI real estate, that includes several court cases involving property disputes. She is a businesswoman and, according to the commission's list, a vendor of IPI.
Mr. Reyes is a former member of the CNMI House of Representatives and has been a public servant and a businessman over a lengthy career. According to the short biodata on the commission's website:
"Sworn into office on October 24, 2014. He is presently the President and General Manager of Pacific Basin Insurance Company, Inc., President of Milne & Reyes Enterprises, Inc. and Sole Proprietor of Joe’s Bar. Vice Chairman Reyes also serves as State Director for the U.S. Selective Service System. He attended the University of Guam, Vincennes University in Indiana, the Asian Institute of Management in Manila, Philippines and Michigan State University. He served as a House Member of the 16th Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Legislature and was the Chairman of the Committee on Commerce and Tourism. He is also former Chairman of the Northern Marianas Retirement Fund Program."
Mr. Reyes also is the owner of Joe's Bar, which is frequented daily by the casino's executives and associates.
The fact that the casino pays the wife of one of five commissioners, who call the shots about casino regulations and the enforcement of those regulations is a direct conflict of interest.