The temporary restraining order against the Commonwealth Casino Commission has been extended until July 8.
Northern Mariana Islands.- The hearing to define whether Imperial Pacific International can keep its suspended casino licence looks set to be further delayed. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has extended a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commonwealth Casino Commission.
She issued the order on May 23 and it was to expire on June 3, but Manglona has now extended it until 12pm on July 8.
The judge said: “The Court extends this TRO based on the parties’ representation that they have made significant progress toward settlement and require additional time to finalize the terms of an agreement in principle and to enter a comprehensive settlement agreement memorializing those terms, to allow them time to resolve this matter without proceeding to an order to show cause hearing for a preliminary injunction.”
Manglona also ordered a 30-day suspension of Plaintiff’s Notice of Complaint and Urgent Request for TRO and Mandatory Arbitration, including a time limit for the defendant to object to the plaintiff’s request and for the plaintiff to respond.
She has scheduled a status meeting for Friday July 1 at 9,00am and ordered all parties to attend. Attorneys from off-island may appear via video conference call and will be referred to the case officer for further instructions.
According to Mariana’s Variety, IPI recently said it was going to “receive a capital injection of $150m to enable it to meet its obligations to creditors, resume operations and resume construction.” The company said it has signed a letter of intent with IH Group to provide the funding.
NMI senators push to open up casino licences on the islands
Paul A Manglona and Edith Deleon Guerrero, members of the Senate’s minority bloc, have called for progress on Senate Bill 22-23. The bill would end Imperial Pacific International’s exclusivity as the only casino licensee on the islands.
According to Manglona and Deleon Guerrero, the economic benefits generated by new casinos could be used to pay a 25 per cent benefit to retirees. The senators note that IPI closed its casino on March 17, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic but that its licence is now suspended, negatively affecting the islands’ economy.