Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bridge to nowhere?

Bridge Investment Group LLC seems to have made a bad bet on its Tinian casino plan. Then again, it appears they were betting against the house-- PL 110-229.

The immigration provisions of that law called for federal restrictions on alien hiring and investment that are much stricter than the CNMI laws and regulations they replaced.

According to the Saipan Tribune two-thirds of BIG's planned units were condominiums. Chinese investors were prominent in previous stories about their plans.

From the comments of spokesman Phillip Mendiola-Long, it would appear the company is hoping that the Department of Homeland Security will include Chinese workers when it issues its 'CW' rules and also issue investment rules with "lowered thresholds".

Neither seems likely. As Mendiola-Long points out, Chinese nationals are not eligible for the H-2 visa program. This year's list of eligible countries* has just been issued. The factors used in designating countries include:
(1) The country's cooperation with respect to issuance of travel documents for citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country who are subject to a final order of removal; (2) the number of final and unexecuted orders of removal against citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country; (3) the number of orders of removal executed against citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country; and (4) such other factors as may serve the U.S. interest.
It seems likely the same factors would apply to 'CW' workers and investors, and 22 reminders are currently awaiting trial for allegedly trying to enter Guam illegally from the CNMI. In addition, only the employment rules were re-opened for further comment, the investment rules are final.

* Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.


Saipan Writer said...

22 minus 3 (who have pleaded guilty) plus 2 (alleged traffickers of the 22) = 21.

Bridge Capital has been throwing money around the CNMI-donating to everyone and everything. Therefore, we like Bridge Capital...

hmm, don't we?

And they hired Jon Anderson, who is personable and been around here a long time. So we really like Bridge Capital...

hmm, don't we?

But I don't like casinos. I don't like money-laundering operations. And I'm skeptical about the possible intersection between the two.

Anonymous said...

That casino on Tinian has been in business for 10 years. If money laundering is their main purpose, why has it taken the Feds so long to make anything stick?

KAP said...

There are two Bridge Capitals. You're probably thinking about the one that's tried to get casinos on Guam and Saipan-- again and again. They hand out a lot of checks 'in lieu of'

I don't remember all of BIG's investors-- Rudy Pamintuan of Sherman Consulting and the (defunct, I think) President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders comes to mind, but I think one or two other Commission members were also involved in the project.

There has been talk of money-laundering since Tinian Dynasty went up, but I've never seen a shred of proof. As far as the feds go, unless there was wire-transfer, they wouldn't know what crossed the CNMI's borders in the past.

Anonymous said...

Or Fitial(this is well documented and Stanley T.M. Torres tried to take him to court) and others do. Have 9 friends and yourself bring in $10,000.00 USD cash each. Make the rounds and pick up your $100,000.00. One can rackup quite a pile of cash not to mention air miles. Drop your cash with the casino bank,hit the private high stakes rooms off to the side, wow, you just won almost a million in winnings, cashout,pay the CNMI taxes and legally transfer your hard earned money home,paying your home country's income taxes of course. Very simple long term planning is required, sort of similar to entering the CNMI as a tourist and having a baby born in the CNMI...and after 21 years you will be able get that coveted blue passport.

captain said...

As Kap pointed out, there are two Bridge companies.
If, my friend Phil (representing the Bridge company)was so serious with the company actually investing and building the casino, then the contract for the Chinese company that was involved would have been carried over during the "take over"
If there had been ongoing construction activities on this (and other projects) then with their NMI permits they would have been able to continue until after the transition period.
This is all but an excuse to blame the Feds on a deal gone wrong and a way to pull out of it.
And who was the person(s)that sold this idea to this company??
Why does anybody need to only hire Chinese contractors to do these types of construction.
The Other Asian countries are more than competent.
The Phil are also available for about the same price.
The problem with the Phil companies is that the workers all speak English and cannot hide the short ends and underhanded areas if an inspector asks questions of the workers while walking around the site.