Former IPI lawyer may sue the company

IPI is facing multiple lawsuits.
IPI is facing multiple lawsuits.

Former IPI attorney Michael W. Dotts could sue the casino operator for failing to pay him for legal services.

Northern Mariana Islands.- The problems continue for Imperial Pacific International, which could face another lawsuit, this time from its former lawyer, Michael W. Dotts.

According to Saipan Tribune, the former IPI attorney said the company has yet to pay him his fees, which total US$140,000.

Dotts said: “I do not believe IPI is going to pay. I believe I now need to file suit and join IPI’s other creditors. With each missed payment, I contacted IPI management and advised that if the payments went unpaid, I would suspend work and move to withdraw as counsel.”

The attorney advised Ray Yumul, IPI CEO, that if the company didn’t make a substantial payment toward what is owed, he would move to pull out as counsel in all leftover matters where he is addressing IPI. Yumul said that he was searching for a substitute but the company hasn’t announced a substitute counsel.

NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona has allowed Dotts’ solicitation to pull out from representing IPI in the complaint filed by the US Department of Labor.

Manglona said: “Dotts has fulfilled his obligation under this court’s local rules and has provided the proper notice to IPI. The court also finds that granting the motion would not prejudice other parties, cause harm to the administration of justice, delay resolution of the case, or prejudice other litigants.”

Manglona said IPI does not need to submit weekly reports to the court but should submit them to the USDOL secretary. 

She added: “IPI has been remitting payment to the U.S. Department of Labor and working directly with the department to ensure IPI complies with the terms set out in this case. As there are no significant pending matters before the court in this case, good cause has been established.”

In April, IPI’s gaming licence was suspended indefinitely as the operator failed to comply with regulatory orders.

The Commonwealth Casino Commission board has ordered IPI to pay a penalty of US$6.6m, an annual casino exclusive licence fee of US$15.5m and annual casino regulatory fees of US$3.1m.

It says IPI violated five orders including a failure to pay its US$3.1m annual regulatory fee in 2020 and failure to comply with an order to settle debts with vendors.

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