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IPI says writ of execution ‘disrupts’ payroll

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THE writ of execution granted by the federal court to Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, “disrupted” the payroll process of Imperial Pacific International, IPI management said on Wednesday.

Rep. Tina Sablan, for her part, notified Commonwealth Casino Commission acting Executive Director Charlie Atalig that IPI missed payroll for many of its employees, again, on Friday.

During a meeting last week, the casino commission instructed IPI to fully remit the wages owed to employees. Casino Commission Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero also pushed to amend the casino license regulations to require IPI to have at least three months’ payroll in reserve.

Sablan said based on complaints from IPI employees, only some, but not all, of IPI staff were paid last week. She said she was also told that only employees making below $10 an hour were paid. All others have not been paid, including IPI employees who were called back from furlough to work full-time in construction, she said.

Asked for comment, IPI management said: “The writ of execution issued by the court related to the Pacific Rim case recently disrupted IPI’s payroll process.”

But “IPI is actively seeking a solution and IPI is doing its best to fulfill the commitment of paying employees as soon as possible,” IPI management added.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted the request of Pacific Rim Land Development LLC for a writ of execution that directs the U.S Marshals Service to seize $6.8 million from IPI bank accounts on Saipan.

Sablan also told the casino commission that some of the unpaid employees have appealed to the IPI human resource office to place them back on furlough so they may be eligible for unemployment assistance. But IPI management has thus far declined to do so, she said, “and yet these employees continue to work full-time without any assurance of getting paid what they are owed within any specific time frame.”

Moreover, Sablan said, some IPI employees have reported that the payroll checks they have received “bounced” when they tried to cash them at local stores.    

“Finally, I have received reports that at least some of the foreign construction workers employed by IPI and/or IPI contractors have not been paid either,” Sablan said.

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