IMPERIAL Pacific International LLC has complied with a federal court order and averted sanctions that include incarceration for the casino developer’s executives in the discrimination lawsuit of Joshua Gray, a former IPI employee.

At the hearing on Thursday, Gray, represented by attorney William Fitzgerald, told the court that IPI had complied with the court order and fully paid the attorney’s fees.

At a show cause hearing on Oct. 7, 2021, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI found IPI in contempt for failing to pay the previously issued sanctions in the lawsuit.

The judge also set the deadline of Oct. 14 for IPI to pay the plaintiff in full.

In her written order issued on Oct. 12, she warned IPI, “This is the final straw.”

She said IPI Chief Executive Officer Ray Yumul, IPI vice president for external affairs Tao Xing and all other IPI directors, officers, and executives “are on notice that a failure to comply with the fee order will result in a finding of contempt against IPI and them personally as well, and subject them to severe sanctions including but not limited to a monetary fine and/or incarceration of three days until the contempt is cured.”

On Thursday, IPI attorney Stephen Nutting filed a notice of compliance with the court order.

Nutting said IPI had fully paid the attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19, 616.25.

He said IPI paid in advance of the deadline set by the court order.

Nutting said IPI provided the plaintiff a check in the amount of $6,616.25 on Oct. 7 and a check in the amount of $16,000 on Oct. 11.

The lawyer also said that IPI likewise provided a copy of the contempt order to all IPI executives.

Gray, represented by Fitzgerald and Bruce Berline, sued the casino investor over allegations of discrimination.

In April 2021, the federal court issued an order striking IPI’s answers to the lawsuit and directed the clerk of court, Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy, to enter a default against the defendant for failing to comply with a previous discovery order.

A default means the plaintiff has won the case but has not settled the issue of any monetary compensation for damages.


Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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