Imperial Pacific chairwoman resigns

Cui Li Jie has stepped down as chairwoman of IPI.
Cui Li Jie has stepped down as chairwoman of IPI.

Cui Li Jie, Imperial Pacific International’s chairwoman, has resigned due to “personal time constraints.”

Northern Mariana Islands.- Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has announced the departure of its chairwoman and executive director, Cui Li Jie.

According to a release from the company, Cui Li Jie took the decision to stand down due to “personal time constraints.”

In January, the company and its chairwoman Cui Li Jie were found in contempt of court after Jie and former CEO Donald Browne was ordered to appear at federal court at an inquiry related to a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Labor.

At the time, Cui Li Jie blamed her lawyer and her lack of understanding of English. She said she was poorly represented in court by her lawyer, Juan T. Lizama.

According to The Guam Daily Post, attorney Aaron Halegua, who represents seven Chinese construction workers who have sued IPI, says Cui’s explanation “is unlikely to absolve her from a finding of civil contempt.”

Halegua added: “Attempt to place all blame on Mr. Lizama falls flat due to her own pattern of obstructionist and disobedient behaviour. 

“While Ms. Cui states that she has ‘been honest and cooperative in complying with the court’s orders and requests of the plaintiffs,’ this assertion is contradicted by the record in this case.”

IPI’s gaming licence has been 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.

According to local media Tiberius Mocanu, IPI counsel, the company still has to review the order. CCC board chair Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero said the gaming licence suspension will last until the company settles its outstanding payments.

However, the company has appealed against the decision, and the CCC commissioners has agreed to make a technical amendment to the order.

According to Saipan Tribune newspaper, assistant attorney general Michael Ernest, counsel for CCC executive director Andrew Yeom, reported a technical error in the CCC board’s order against IPI. Ernest asked the board to reconsider the final order to correct the error.

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