Imperial Palace Pacific is Again Without a Helmsman

In the controversial Imperial Palace Pacific (IPI) in the Northern Mariana Islands, CEOs often last only a short time. But this was already known to the former IPI chief of security when he accepted the post of executive director in July last year.

After regulators demanded that the casino operator appoint a boss, Browne had to take the helm of the troubled ship. The mission lasted barely six months, because on december 22 Browne presented his resignation, as revealed by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently.

The announcement was made while IPI was still being ordered to comply with a series of court-ordered payments related to debts incurred by its Imperial Palace casino in Saipan. The obligations amount to several tens of millions of dollars for payroll payments, license fees and payments to subcontractors.

“My resignation would take effect two weeks later, on december 17. However, I extended my term until december 22 to be able to represent IPI in a final public hearing of the Commonwealth Casino Commission,” said Browne.

As has happened on other occasions, IPI is trying to continue operating without a CEO following the resignation of Browne, who apparently did so to avoid going to prison. Despite his resignation, the executive remains with the company. He has said that the company has also not paid him his salary.

The DOL and other agencies are investigating IPI’s financial activity. The federal agency called a “humanitarian crisis” the company’s failure to pay its employees, which could unleash a problem for its larger executives.

IPI has also been criticized for having relationships with Chinese-based construction companies accused of employing unauthorized workers, adding a little more fuel to the company’s delicate situation.

One of the Chinese construction companies named is Gold Mantis, which was held in contempt of court for refusing to hand over the required documents on the work carried out for the Imperial Palace.

Attorney Aaron Halegua of the law firm Aaron Halegua, PLLC, said the company reached a settlement with construction employees after being charged with human trafficking, unauthorized work permits and maintaining unsafe working conditions.

The other two companies of Chinese origin that are being investigated for the same reasons are MCC and Halegua. According to the research under development and if these companies provide the required documentation, the IPI casino license could be revoked if something irregular is found in the hiring.


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