FORMER Casino investors, the members of Snoqualmie Indian Tribe of Washington in the US, are demanding nothing less than $1.62million from developers of the project One Hundred Sands Limited.
In court documents filed by the tribe council in the Kings County Court in Washington, the tribe alleges that One Hundred Sands Ltd chairman Larry Claunch had breached a promissory note that highlighted the repayment of the $1.5m investment made by the tribe.
"Despite their obligation to make final payment to the tribe no later than February 2, 2014, the defendants (One Hundred Sands) have refused to satisfy their debt under the note leaving an outstanding indebtedness of $1.5million plus interest at the contractual rate of four per cent per annum until paid in full," the lawsuit stated.
"By failing and refusing to timely perform their obligations under the note, defendants have breached their contractual obligations to the tribe under the note, thereby, causing the tribe substantial damage.
"As a direct and proximate result of the defendants conduct, the tribe has suffered actual damages in an amount determined at trial, but in any event, not less than approximately $1.62m."
In mid-2011, representatives of the tribe were approached with a proposal to invest in the casino and resort project.
The lawsuit revealed that based on recommendations from a tribal delegation that visited Fiji in December, 2011, the Snoqualmie Tribe Council determined the project presented an opportunity to diversify the tribe's economy to the long-term benefit of the tribe as well as the people of Fiji.
On February 2, 2012, the council passed a resolution authorising the investment of the $1.5m in the project while One Hundred Sands Ltd executed a promissory note, a convertible purchase note and a subscription agreement with the tribe in which the tribe agreed to loan the money.
One Hundred Sands Ltd chairman Larry Claunch has maintained that the company would not be distracted from its primary focus of completing the construction of the $290m casino and resort near Denarau Island.
Minister for Tourism and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum recently said the government would address the issue this week.
He said the licence agreement between government and One Hundred Sands was a separate issue.
"It's the same way if you give somebody a licence to import a foreign chicken, just because they get sued by a company it does not mean that you will stop their licence. But in respect to their ability to adhere to the licence per se, that is something that we are looking at very closely at the moment."