In the Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands, the owner of the Rota Resort And Country Club has filed a lawsuit against the Rota Casino Gaming Commission and its commissioners for allegedly prematurely cancelling the Rota property’s five-year casino license.

According to a report from the Saipan Tribune newspaper, SNM Corporation and its President and Chairman, Hee Kyun Cho, is suing the Rota Casino Gaming Commission along with members Joaquin Manglona, John William King, Francisco Calvo and Mateo Santos after the body held a “special meeting” where it ruled that the conditional casino license for the Rota Resort And Country Club had expired on July 15.

Through counsel Robert Torres, SNM Corporation and Cho contend that the gaming regulator’s move constituted a violation of the Open Government Act and have asked the Commonwealth Superior Court to declare the decision void and prevent the enforcement of any subsequent action by the Rota Casino Gaming Commission. The lawsuit additionally requests that the court prevent the body from holding further such “special” meetings.

The Saipan Tribune reported that SNM Corporation unexpectedly learned of the Rota Casino And Gaming Commission’s decision on October 4 via a copy of a special resolution that the body had passed in its absence. The decree reportedly stated that “since the issuance of the conditional license on July 15, 2011, more than five years ago, there is still no casino and there is no evidence that anything is being done on this casino project as proposed by the SNM Corporation in its business plan”. It moreover went on to declare that the proposed project’s casino license “has not served the interests of our community” and had expired on July 15, 2016.

However, Torres is also asking the Commonwealth Superior Court to rule that the term of the five-year license started only after SNM Corporation had made its full payment of $400,000. The plaintiff revealed that it had made an initial payment of $200,000 on June 9, 2013, before following this with a second identical instalment on September 25, 2013.

Regarding the alleged violation of the Open Government Act, the lawyer reportedly explained that the Rota Casino Gaming Commission should have notified SNM Corporation and Cho of the meeting in advance and provided them with an agenda. Torres also contends that the official body did not afford his clients an opportunity to submit data, views or arguments in writing.