500 Tinian Dynasty Workers Sue Their Employer

February 4, 2015

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2008












Attorney Samuel Mok is representing over 500 Tinian Dynasty workers in a lawsuit filed in federal court on February 4, 2015 against Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment (Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino) and Mega Stars Overseas Unlimited. The employees are seeking relief for fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, wrongful 13 termination.

The complaint states:
Defendants knew at least eighteen months before December 8, 2014 that their respective CW-l employment petitions were in jeopardy of being denied by virtue of numerous written warnings issued by the USCIS in the form of notices of intent to deny and notices of intent to revoke.  
However, defendants deliberately withheld such information from the plaintiffs out of fear they would stop working and transfer to new employers which would have effectively shut down business operations and ultimately cost the Tinian Dynasty a significant amount of money. 
Defendants also lied to workers about their legal status by falsely claiming they were still legally authorized to work notwithstanding the USCIS denial of their CW-l petitions in a self interested effort to keep the Tinian Dynasty fully staffed during a particularly critical period of time where defendant HKE was seeking to sublease its gaming and hotel interests to a foreign corporation called “Gain Millennia Limited”.
The complaint:

 

Two exhibits attached to the complaint make clear that the employer defrauded and lied to the employees.  Even though USCIS had notified the company that the CW-1 permits were denied, the company falsely told employees that they were in legal status to work.

The complaint details a letter sent to employees by Hong Kong Entertainment:
According to the January 19, 2015 letter, any worker who “disagreed” with defendant 18 HKE’s claim that it was “not unlawful” to return to work would be deemed to have “resigned” his/her job and processed out of the company. (Exhibit A) 
Additionally, defendant HIKE threatened to remove any worker deemed to have “resigned” from the pending administrative appeal filed with the USCIS. (Exhibit A) 
Defendant HKE’s use of such heavy handed tactics to bully employees back to work places the plaintiffs in the impossible position where they must choose between a) being fired for not  “agreeing” to work illegally and b) working illegally and risk getting deported for violating their status as well as jeopardizing their chances of obtaining future status. 
It is amazing that this was put in writing! Read the letter signed by HR Director Florine Hofschneider:



Mega Stars also misled the employees. A January 12, 2015 letter to employees from by Mega Stars chairman, Wai Chan, also misled employees and urged them to defy USCIS regulations and break the law by continuing to work. The letter:
Dear Colleagues, 
In these days I understand that everyone is concerned about the CW issue. It is a fact that it is so bothering because it threatens your legitimate working status in CNMI. Though that the employees filed a lawsuit in court to challenge USCIS’s decision for denying everyone’s CW status, and the company also filed the appeals within the dead line of 30 days from the denial letter date in Phoenix. These are the 2 things the company can do to protect both the company and all the employees within our allowed limitation. It is too early to see the results can turn our situation any better at this moment. 
However, I am still optimistic. I am optimistic not because I lack knowledge to assess the risk of the current situation or just simply ignore it.I am optimistic because I can see the people in CNMI are supporting us, and they want us to go on with our business. With an immediately passed joint resolution from the House of Representatives and The Senate 2 days before Christmas to request the USCIS to reconsider the denial of our CW petitions, we can see that we are not alone in this challenge and believe that USCIS would not ignore the domino effect caused by the shutdown of Tinian Dynasty. Though I understand that Tinian Dynasty has a record of delaying staff’s salary in the past and that is also one of the reasons by USCIS in the denial of our CW petitions. But that is no longer the case since I took over the management of Tinian Dynasty and you all know that is true. 
Another reason for the denial of your CW petition was the criminal case charged against Tinian Dynasty. According to our attorney that it is not appropriate for USCIS to deny our CW petitions at this point because the case has not gone to trial and there has not yet been any jury decision that the company is guilty or not guilty. The case should be finalized within the next two or three months as it set for trial on February 9, 2015. 
And today, what matter the most is, I will not give up! Currently I am asking my managers to concentrate in preparation of the upcoming events such as Baccarat Tournament and Poker Tournament. And we have to be ready for a very busy Chinese New Year. To do this we have to put our fears aside. In fact if you understand the truth, you will not be afraid to report for duty as usual. At this point you should also know that in the United States, courts recognize that the immigration laws do not provide for criminal punishment for non-United States citizens who are determined not to have the authorization to work. In the case of Arizona vs. Unites States, 132 S. Ct. 2492, 2504, 183 L. ED. 2d 351 (2012) the United States Supreme Court said that “Congress made a deliberate choice not to impose criminal penalties on aliens who seek, or engage in, unauthorized employment.” Instead, any criminal punishment for such a circumstance is imposed upon the employer. Remember I am the Chairman of the corporation to hire you and let you work under this situation, and I may suffer with tremendous fines and possible prison penalty. But I am still willing to continue working here and pursue all legal means to prevent the injustice USCIS is trying to inflict on you, Tinian and the company continue to support me and the company in this effort. 
Sincerely yours, 
Wai Chan
It's encouraging that an attorney filed this case. I hope that the employees win this lawsuit. They are victims of a self-serving employer who clearly deceived them. By withholding information on their immigration status, the employer put the nonresident workers at risk of deportation and jeopardized their ability to get other U.S. work permits or upgraded status in the future.

17 comments:

starj said...

I salute Ms Wendy for this complete article and two thumbs up to Atty Samuel Mok for presenting these 14 employees who are the REAL VICTIMS. WILLING VICTIMS are the employees who still working despite the fact that they are unlawful yet believing that reporting for duty is still legal.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed that the newspapers reported a possible settlement between the Tinian Dynasty and the DOJ in regards to the previous failure to report certain gambling transactions. They should have confiscated the property, held it under the Asset Forfeiture Program, then found a suitable buyer to take it over.

Wendy Doromal said...

Here is the link to all of the files (complaint and all exhibits)

https://app.box.com/s/kkg5czel6fvnu6fmlrdze2ly93t79wrp

Anonymous said...

The resolutions prepared by CNMI Senate or Congress have no sense. They may do one thing currently. They can direct CNMI labor to prepare a manpower list to take over all CW jobs in Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino or issue a citation of some million dollars to TDHC not to comply with CNMI unfair labor standards act or job posting policy and to allow unlawful workers continue working “what they already started issuing to some small business companies in Saipan”. CNMI labor can send 500 qualified resident workers to TDHC to keep the unlawful operation running. It is so amazing that corrupted CNMI senate or congress is ready to rescue “an employer” but not some thousands of foreign workers in CNMI to have a strong workforce. This is the reason that CNMI had suggested U.S Congress to have immigration provision removed from Consolidated Natural Resources act or PL 110-229. CNMI like to dance with an investor even though there is not enough manpower. See what Best sunshine is going to do in the future when they intend to invest about $7.1 billion for a Saipan casino.

Anonymous said...

THE CNMI, BETTER KNOWN AS:

A SUNNY PLACE FOR SHADY PEOPLE.......

Wendy, hopefully you will have an update on the lawsuit?

Wendy Doromal said...

8:41am I've been checking court filings. Nothing has been posted. I will post an update as soon as there's movement on the case.

Anonymous said...

dynasty doesnt want any publicity with this lawsuit or any other issues that make dynastys' in a hot position... am just concern how's everything going on? does this lawsuit affect to any settlement that dynastys involving with???... oh how poor alien employees of dynasty; the one who filed a lawsuit? or those still working illegally?.

Anonymous said...

Just a tip for USCIS or DOJ. Check EACH employee (and EACH MANAGER) to see what "company name" they are actually employed under, even though they are working at the Tinian Dynasty and living in the company provided housing.

Anonymous said...

now that tinian trading has all the authority to recruit foreign workers under cw1 category whether inside or outside cnmi, what is the chance of those cw1 denied workers whose still illegally working in dynasty, (where they are right now on appeal to USCIS) are they going to stay? or be back home to their places? what is the real score between megastar, hke and tinian trading? are they just using different names but still the same owner? is this a kind of trick? well i hope not, coz everyone would be affected not only the employees but more over the beautiful island of TINIAN, AND THE PEOPLE!!!

Anonymous said...

Sent a letter to the local newspapers. Probably screwed myself giving a real name. Oh well, it is what it is.
Gambling with your future.

It is with some sad amusement to hear that Saipan has now embraced gambling casinos as a new industry for the island. While I can understand the desperation to find “something” as a short-term fix for the ailing economy, out of all things, gambling (in my opinion) had to be one of the most negative propositions available to choose. Gambling ills hold especially true for a captive audience surrounded by water and no easy escape lest you have the luxury of airfare when necessary to escape its clutches. Just like the Trojan horse myth, casinos appear as a victory trophy that is hastily wheeled in by local governments to provide local residents with jobs and dreams of new tax receipts that will solve everything. If gambling was this true fix all and shining economic diamond then why are gaming revenues declining in places that were once gambling strongholds? Why have a large number of casinos filed for bankruptcy and reorganization so that they can continue to operate? What is the social collateral damage and cost in destroyed lives for those who tread unprepared into the world of psychological manipulation that gambling is based on? Why is Nevada working to diversify its economy away from gambling? Regardless of any argument I could make about the negative “health” of the gaming industry, the real concern is the effect gambling has on the local community. To keep this letter brief, I will abstain from repeating the obvious documented problems that gambling brings to a local community such as I’ve witnessed here in Las Vegas. Anyone who is educated knows these facts. Those that don’t will soon witness them. The true question is how much concern does your government have for the well being of the community? While it is apparent that gambling is coming to Saipan, your government should be pressured to implement preventive measures to protect the lives and well being of its citizens. Your gaming commission should draft measures that inhibit the participation of the local community as much as possible. First and foremost an organization that treats gambling addictions should be created. The local church and mental health organizations should participate. The gaming commission should also implement a regulation that allows for citizens to put themselves on a “voluntary banned list”, which once signed, will prevent them from entering a casino establishment forever and the casinos will be required to enforce it. Liquor should be regulated on the premises. No “free” complimentary alcohol drinks should be allowed to gamblers. Alcohol and gambling is the mix that generates profits for the casinos. If free drinks are provided, they should be given to holders of a “drinking permit” - a complimentary card for registered non-resident tourists only, much like a casino rewards card (and a nice souvenir for tourist to take back home) The casino commission should be required to publicly post gambling statistics from a particular casino including odds and payoffs on particular games. The gaming commission should regulate payoffs from slot machines to insure a “fair and equitable” payoff to players (slot machines have the worst odds for players).
Overall, the bottom line is that the same people who are bringing you the casinos have an obligation to protect you from them. Gambling is an industry that survives on losers, not winners. Think about that will you?





Anonymous said...

Dynasty serves as the Tinian's economy backbone which is supposedly running legally with the support of the TCGCC in order for the island to grow and shine more for its citizens BUT it is very frustrating to know that the company was considered "ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS" due to its violations and non-compliance to federal laws. during these times, where were the government of Tinian especially for the commissioners and what have they done? until now, the operation is still going-on using those illegal workers and for some, have probationary license issued by the TCGCC even if without status so that they can work while waiting or maybe already processing the papers of the applicants as replacement of these CW workers. i would be excited to meet new faces, i will play if Vietnamese dealers will start but how could the company hire new staffs?
The company have been very busy for the past few days due to the festival,tournament and so on and for sure some staffs worked illegal, how about those 3 Japanese who worked as VIP, they are not staffs of the Dynasty for sure...never seen them...
What would be the USCIS do for the company and for its people? any movement about the case?

Anonymous said...

What? Vietnamese? Hold a second..... Dynasty can hire again overseas? How? .... as replacements for all the denied CW workers?.. it is so bothering !

Anonymous said...

local govt never care of the alien workers, they are just taking care of money & dynasty.definitely tinian trading or any manpower services are the one who'll take care of new workers comin in. tcgcc is just an accessory & dynasty still rules everything over the island. am i right mr tom liu?

Anonymous said...

its all about politics!!!! if these CW workers under dynasty became illegal, new employees or alien applicants will definitely get same fate under the same management....

Captain said...

Hi Wendy, I hope you and family are well.
I have a problem in viewing and opening Florine's letter as an employee in HR of Dynasty
I have tried many ways to down load and expand the letter to make it readable.
If possible could you send me a direct copy?
Florine used to be a teacher and a Tinian High school teacher. I have also had interjection with her in an employees status situation and she leaves a lot to be desired.
This is a perfect example of being in position due to political and family name without any comprehension or ability to perform the on job requirement.
It is of consequences for a possible legal encounter.
Thanks
I i case you have misplaced my contact, let mme know on this article.

Anonymous said...

Tinian Dynasty is a poor employer that has some new investors in it but the same ownership. M. Quan still calls the shots.

It is a shame on US soil and resembles a Philippine operation.

A PI pro basketball team just fired a man, Ky. grad Daniel Orton, after 3 games, one of which he had 23 rebounds, for insulting Manny P., the pride of the Philippines. He said "Professional boxer, yeah, okay... professional basketball player, no. It's a joke."

And firing was a joke, as Manny's place in sports history is on the mantle of shame beside Barry Bonds and the cheating bicyclist for steroid use and everyone knows it.

The favorite sport in PI is basketball but they didn't send an Olympic team...go figure. Perhaps they couldn't cheat like in the Little League World Series(played 14 and 16 yr olds in the 12 and under event...and all the adults knew and ALL lied about it).

Anonymous said...

Just another tip for the USCIS, DOJ or even the FBI. I came across a certain hotel in Saipan that has SSN's in it's employee records that belong to dead people in the U.S. (SSN death index)
What's up with that?
Just my opinion, but a program needs to be implemented in the CNMI much like the E-verify program that is used in the U.S.
Short of that, make it a mandatory program in the CNMI (under the auspices of Immigration Law) or implement some type of investigative "audit" program that puts these employee SSN's at each major employer in the CNMI under a microscope. I think it's called "fraud".