Imperial Pacific Magically Finds $2m to Stop Asset Auctions

Posted on: December 1, 2021, 09:51h. 

Last updated on: December 1, 2021, 12:37h.

Imperial Pacific International (IPI) continues to prove it can work miracles. The company behind the now-shuttered Imperial Palace casino in Saipan just pulled a rabbit out of its hat. It founds some money that, for now, will stop a series of auctions that were scheduled to sell company assets to pay off part of its debt.

Imperial Palace
Saipan’s Imperial Palace casino, seen above, continues to be a problem for its owner and developer, Imperial Pacific International. (Image: Macau Business)

IPI has several outstanding debts that it has to pay. Money is owed to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI government) for unpaid taxes, as well as to gaming regulators for unpaid licenses.

It also owes millions to a number of companies for bills that were left unpaid.

One of those companies is USA Fanter Corp. After IPI defaulted on a payment it was meant to make for construction work by the company, a judge ordered assets to be seized to cover the $2.1-million debt. A receiver, Clear Management Ltd, had already been appointed to oversee the sale of assets.  Clear Management was to hold the first auction on November 30.

Last-Minute Save

However, just as the first auction was about to begin, IPI managed to come up with $2 million. It will reportedly place the money in escrow pending the outcome of a dispute over the judge’s order. It has filed an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, hoping to find relief.

“The cash fund created by IPI, under this court’s direction, will better secure USA Fanter—providing more cash than would be realized through the sale of the property, subject to the receivership, and will also better serve the interests of IPI and its creditors by ensuring that IPI’s assets are not sold in the midst of economic conditions,” IPI attorney du jour Kevin T. Abikoff said.

“Sale of the gaming equipment at this time would generate significantly less revenue to satisfy USA Fanter’s judgment than IPI’s proposal to place $2,089,345.28 in a court-designated account,” attorney Kevin T. Abikoff asserted.

However, one question still remains. If IPI could come up with the $2 million now, why didn’t it produce the funds earlier to cover this debt or one of the others?

No Time Line for New Activity

There were supposed to be six auctions – one per month – held to sell furniture and fixtures that are now in the shuttered Imperial Palace casino. Clear Management had already begun accepting remote bids for the property, which includes a massive crystal dragon adorning the foyer. Now those plans are on hold.

Imperial Palace has been closed since March 2020 because of COVID-19. However, its problems began well before that. Continued complaints of worker mistreatment, failure to comply with regulations, lack of funds, and a former chair who was deemed incompetent have brought the company continued issues.

To date, IPI is on the hook for at least $26 million. However, with Imperial Palace closed, it isn’t able to generate income. This also raises questions about where it’s now getting money to put the brakes on the auctions.