Sale of IPI assets still pending court approval

Chief Justice Ramona Manglona has ordered Clear Management to proceed with its auction of IPI assets.
Chief Justice Ramona Manglona has ordered Clear Management to proceed with its auction of IPI assets.

The CNMI Court still needs to approve the assets that will be put up for sale.

Northern Mariana Islands.- A week ago Chief Justice Ramona Manglona ordered Clear Management to proceed with its auction of IPI assets on August 30. However, the sale remains pending as Manglona has yet to approve the items that will be put up for sale.

The court previously found that IPI violated a stay agreement on the sale by failing to come up with an agreed appeal bond for the judgement in a lawsuit filed by USA Fanter Corp. The plaintiffs therefore sought to lift the stay so that IPI’s gaming equipment could be sold to satisfy their judgment against IPI.

According to The Saipan Tribune, a status conference on the matter will be scheduled sometime in September. Manglona said she had previously asked parties to clarify what items were included in the limited receivership and could be sold by Clear Management.

However, beyond its arguments that slot machines cannot be sold under 4 CMC § 51564 and that all limited receiverships should be dissolved, IPI did not provide an analysis of what items should or should not be sold by Clear Management pursuant to a court order.

As IPI failed to comply with the court’s request, Manglona determined that all of IPI’s “casino utilities” previously investigated and determined by Clear Management may be sold. The order provides that Clear Management will be authorised to sell any gaming equipment found during inspections in compliance with the ruling.

CCC close to running out of funds

The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) is rapidly running out of funds due to the uncertain future of Imperial Pacific International. Commonwealth Casino Commissioner Martin Mendiola said the regulator is “at the finish line of its budget” and that the commission is “the real victim” of the federal court’s temporary restraining order that prevents it from revoking IPI’s exclusive casino licence for its failure to meet its obligations.

According to Mariana’s Variety, from an original team of 50, the regulator is down to just 10 employees. The commission is reported to have less than $300,000, which may last only until November. 

Commission chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said the CCC’s dire financial situation “is something I feel I have to bring to the attention of the Office of the Governor.”

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