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IPI proposes paying half of license fee now, half later

Imperial Pacific International has reportedly offered to pay half of its $15 million annual license fee now, with the remainder deferred until February next year due to the impact of Covid-19 on its business.

The embattled operator has also requested that its annual license fee be cut to $1 million from $3 million. The Commonwealth Lottery Commission was meeting Thursday to discuss IPI’s proposals.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Casino Commission chair Edward Deleon Guerrero is floating the idea of holding a public hearing to determine the operator’s “financial suitability” to continue the construction and operation of the casino/resort facility in Garapan, among other projects, according to local media.

At the CCC board’s monthly meeting last week, Deleon Guerrero said they will ask the company to prove that it has the money to continue with its projects in the CNMI.

As well as issues with paying the license fee, the company has been accused of failing to pay contractors and its own employees. 

Glenn Bell, manager of IPI Italian construction team, and Luis Jou and Vincent "Kobre" Aldan, both former IPI workers, have called on the company to face them in a public forum to discuss their grievances. 

Their demand came following an IPI statement denying their claims.

"We the persons named, collectively demand a right of reply to clarify our responses to this IPI-generated press release. We collectively challenge IPI to discuss these issues in an open televised forum to clarify these harmful assertions and allegations leveled against us.

"IPI LLC, we await your attendance. Press releases generally relate to information, not disinformation," they were reported as saying.

Bell, Jou and Aldan told the Commonwealth Casino Commission last week that IPI had not paid many of its construction workers in the past four months, and had disregarded safety rules at the construction site in Garapan.

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