Lack of quorum could hold up IPI casino licence revocation hearing

Lack of quorum could hold up IPI casino licence revocation hearing

The Commonwealth Casino Commission needs at least one more member.

Northern Mariana Islands.- The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) would currently be unable to proceed with a hearing on the proposed revocation of Imperial Pacific International’s (IPI) casino licence due to a lack of quorum.

Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero has recused himself from proceedings to serve as an advocate for the petitioner, CCC executive director Andrew Yeom. This leaves the commission short of members to constitute a quorum if the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands allows it to proceed with the revocation.

The terms of former commissioners Martin Mendiola, representing Rota, and Ramon M. Dela Cruz, representing Tinian, expired on April 30, leaving the regulator with three members: Deleon Guerrero, Mario Taitano, and Ralph S. Demapan.

Deleon Guerrero noted that governor Arnold I. Palacios would need to appoint at least one new member, with Senate consent, to move forward with a revocation, which would require unanimous consent from at least three commissioners. He also raised concerns about funding. Regulatory fees from IPI have not been paid since the casino shut in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The CCC says IPI owes US$62.1m in licence fees and US$17.62m in regulatory fees.

See also: CNMI representative criticises CCC over casino debts

The CCC requested the House Standing Committee on Ways and Means approve a budget of US$3.15m to be paid by IPI. The budget proposal was presented by DeLeon Guerrero on June 18.

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Commonwealth Casino Commission Imperial Pacific International