IPI now has only seven security guards in Saipan

IPI reportedly continues to have problems paying its employees’ salaries.
IPI reportedly continues to have problems paying its employees’ salaries.

Some of the casino operator’s security staff have stopped reporting for work due to payroll delays.

Northern Mariana Islands.- And then there were seven. Of the 17 security guards that Imperial Pacific International maintained in Saipan, ten are no longer on the books having either been fired or stopped working due to payment delays. One guard told Mariana’s Variety he was working almost 24 hours a day to protect IPI’s casinos, luxury villas and unfinished hotel complex due to staff shortages.

The security guard added that IPI’s warehouses in Tanapag, San Antonio and Lower Base no longer have their own security staff and had hired the services of a Bangladeshi-owned security agency.

If IPI still fails to pay security guards next Friday, it will be their fifth week without pay. IPI has reportedly paid its debts with construction workers, except for Jess Aquiningoc, the former head of Imperial Pacific International’s construction team, who has sued the company.

Aquiningoc said IPI owes him for paid time off that he accumulated over the past two years. He said he had to borrow money and go into debt with family and friends as a result. In a recent interview, he also stated IPI is also having trouble with the owners of warehouses due to unpaid rent.

A week ago, IH Group chairman Kyunam Kim and other company officials toured Imperial Pacific International‘s casino, 15 luxury mansions and the unfinished hotel complex in Garapany. He promised that work will continue and that the project will contribute to the Northern Mariana Islands’ economy.

In May, IPI reported it had signed a memorandum of agreement with South Korea’s IH Group to secure funding to help it reopen its casino in Garapan and pay some of its obligations, including payroll and outstanding payables to vendors. IH will take over operations of IPI’s casino and luxury villas and has pledged to continue building the hotel complex.

However, independent House candidate Vincent Seman Aldan claimed at a Commonwealth Casino Commission meeting that plans for the group to provide funding for long-troubled casino operator Imperial Pacific International were “all lies”.

Aldan had claimed that IH Group didn’t appear to be a viable company that could fulfil its investment commitment to IPI based. He even said that IH Group’s website displays a casino resort that “does not even exist.”

The company, however, answered him and warned that it would sue for damages in the event of a disruption to the business process due to the dissemination of false information.

In an open letter published in Mariana’s Variety, it added: “IH Group’s investment funds have already been verified through the procedures confirmed by IPI. IH Group is in the process of mutual confirmation and coordination regarding the vital consultation between the two companies for the implementation of the IPI Group investment.”

In the meantime, the CCC has already begun licence revocation proceedings as a result of IPI’s failure to meet its commitments, including its annual exclusive casino licence fees, regulatory fees and key employee licensing fees. Those proceedings have currently stayed under a court order to allow IPI to seek to reach an agreement.

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