Propst questions Lottery Commission’s authority to grant IPI extension

REPRESENTATIVE Edwin Propst has questioned the authority of the Lottery Commission to grant Imperial Pacific International an extension to operate its Live Training Facility until Aug. 2018.

In an interview on Thursday, he said he is questioning the manner in which the extension was decided by the Lottery Commission as the commission, he added, no longer has jurisdiction over the licensee and has no authority to grant an extension.

Edwin Propst

Propst said the authority of the Lottery Commission over IPI stopped the moment the casino license was issued in 2014 and the moment the casino license agreement was signed by both parties, the CNMI Lottery Commission chair who was then Sixto Igisomar, and the IPI representatives.

The current Lottery Commission chairman, Department of Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman, declined to comment.

According to Propst, “They have this binding agreement under the authority and enforcement of license agreement that says, and I quote, ‘Upon issuance of the casino license the authority of the Lottery Commission over this license shall cease and the Office of the Governor shall have the authority to oversee the total condition of this license agreement.”

Propst said the authority over the casino licensee is now with the casino commission which is also tasked to regulate the casino operation.

Propst is also questioning the manner in which the Lottery Commission held its meeting on Tuesday, saying it violated the Open Government Act.

Propst noted that during the meeting and prior to the granting of the extension, the commissioners — Rabauliman, Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero — along with IPI’s representative Viola Alepuyo met privately with acting Gov. Victor Hocog.

“The acting governor has no right to call them in, especially with Viola Alepuyo. That is illegal and a direct conflict of interest,” Propst said.

The lawmaker said he will file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General and the Office of the Public Auditor, adding that he is now drafting his complaint.

In an interview on Wednesday, Hocog denied that he met with the commissioners, saying he just stopped by to greet them.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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