Tinian investor ordered to stop casino construction

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THE Commonwealth Ports Authority and the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality have ordered Bridge Investment Group LLC to stop the construction of its Tinian casino gaming facility, restaurant and two VIP rooms.

BIG has not secured a proper permit from BECQ or the approval of CPA, CPA Executive Director Christopher Tenorio said.

He told the CPA board on Wednesday that he had sent BIG a notice of violation of lease agreement and a notice to cease and desist.

Tenorio said CPA discovered that BIG was constructing a gaming facility, two VIP rooms and a restaurant on the property that the investor is leasing from CPA.

Under the lease agreement with CPA, BIG was authorized to build a ferry terminal only. The agreement also requires that all structural improvements or renovations must be approved by CPA.

In his letter to BIG project manager Ray Pangelinan, the CPA executive director said BIG has violated the lease agreement by converting the ferry terminal into a casino gaming facility, a restaurant and VIP rooms, by constructing such structures without proper permit from BECQ.

BIG also constructed workers’ barracks without CPA approval, Tenorio said.

BIG submitted to CPA a plan and specifications for a ferry terminal, Tenorio said.

The unauthorized construction was brought to the attention of CPA when the BECQ enforcement team ordered BIG to stop the construction due to its lack of proper permit.

The main concern of the BECQ team was the lack of a wastewater disposal system at the project site. There  is no sewer system in the area to accommodate a septic tank that BIG has to construct for the gaming facility, restaurant and VIP rooms.

In addition, Tenorio said, BIG began the construction of staff housing units on the leased premises and even obtained a permit for the earth moving without prior approval of CPA.

BIG must stop any and all unapproved construction work immediately, Tenorio added.

CPA Board Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds of Tinian noted that a septic tank is not acceptable for the project location as it is next to Kammer Beach, which is visited by  a lot of people.

“Clearly, BIG is not in compliance with local and federal requirements,” she added.

She said Tinian welcomes new investments that create jobs, “but it must be done right, and they [BIG] have not been doing it right.”

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