In the Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands, months of uncertainty could be at an end after a former investor in the shuttered Tinian Dynasty Hotel And Casino was granted a conditional operating licence to re-open the venue.
According to a report from the Marianas Variety, the Tinian Dynasty Hotel And Casino suspended casino operations in September with principal operator Hong Kong Entertainment, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Mega Stars Overseas, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections two months later.
The new deal for Tinian Entertainment Corporation, which is an affiliate of businessman Tim Chen’s Hong Kong-listed Chinese Strategic Holdings vehicle and a past investor in Hong Kong Entertainment, could see the casino fully re-open by December.
However, the news has not been welcomed by many of the venue’s former 200-strong workforce, almost two-thirds of which have been camping out at the Tinian site in protest at being owed months of pre-closure wages. The past employees state that they were issued assurances that Hong Kong Entertainment would honor their pay deals and are unhappy that their well-being was not factored into the new licence for Tinian Entertainment Corporation.
The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation disconnected the electricity to the Tinian Dynasty Hotel And Casino earlier this month, which means that the 148 people living at the site with their families have had to deal with high temperatures, mosquitoes and a lack of water in their living quarters, while food has been continuously donated by local community organizations and businesses.
To make matters worse, last week saw the Philippines honorary consul to the Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands, Glicerio Arago, advise the former employees to return to their homeland while simultaneously offering to pay their airfare in partnership with Tinian Entertainment Corporation.
The newspaper reported that the former employees felt like they were being “chased away” so that Tinian Entertainment Corporation could re-open the facility as quickly as possible without paying the estimated eight months of back wages.
“But we have decided that no matter what happens, as long as we can bear the heat here and the lack of water, we are not going to leave until we’re paid,” one unnamed former employee told the Marianas Variety. “Right now we are still waiting for a person who can help us with our labor case. We did not do anything wrong. We are victims of the previous owners.”
The island’s mayor, Joey Patrick San Nicolas, declared that Wai Chan, the Chairman for Hong Kong Entertainment, should be around “to face the music but he’s not” while revealing that the only person who seems to be in charge of the premises is Sterling Lundgren, a consultant for Tinian Entertainment Corporation.
“He’s been very open and frank with me,” San Nicolas told the newspaper. “Hong Kong Entertainment is very fortunate to have him.”