CNMI Court postpones CCC hearing on IPI casino licence for second time

The hearing was scheduled to be held on May 24.
The hearing was scheduled to be held on May 24.

The federal court has issued a temporary restraining order against the Commonwealth Casino Commission that will expire on June 3.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Imperial Pacific International LLC has bought itself more time thanks to a ruling in its favour that postponed the hearing to decide whether its casino licence will be permanently revoked. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) from holding the hearing scheduled for yesterday (May 24).

In her report, Manglona explained that the damage IPI could suffer from the cancellation of the licence far outweighs the possible damage to the CCC. In addition, she ordered the regulator to appear at a hearing on June 2 to explain why a preliminary injunction should not be issued.

According to the judge, any breach of the temporary restraining order by the defendant “could be considered contempt of court and prosecuted”. The judge also required IPI submit and post a security deposit in the amount of $100,000 prior to May 26.

CCC chief Andrew Yeom said he was not satisfied with the request because IPI had to respond to five complaints from the commission, including paying licence fees and settling claims with some suppliers. IPI’s licence was suspended indefinitely as the operator failed to comply with regulatory orders.

CNMI Court dismisses workers’ discrimination suit against IPI

Manglona has dismissed a lawsuit brought by three former IPI workers who demanded an unspecified amount of damages and a jury trial after accusing the company of discrimination.

The Turkish plaintiffs, Özcan Genç, Hasan Gökçe, and Süleyman Köş, had claimed through attorney Richard Miller that IPI committed discrimination based on their nationality.

According to the lawsuit, the company hired other construction workers, including Taiwanese workers under the H-2B visa programme during the same period that it hired the plaintiffs to work at the Garapan Palace Casino. The Taiwanese workers had the same or similar level of skills, qualifications and experience as the plaintiffs in the types of jobs they performed but were paid much higher wages, in some cases nearly twice as much, the lawsuit alleged.

However, IPI pro hac vice counsel Daniel Weiner filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs did not present a reasonable case.

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