Yumul says IPI building unsafe, wants to send in building inspectors

Ray Yumul

Secretary of Public Works Ray Yumul wants to send building inspectors into the defunct casino in Garapan to determine what to do next with the behemoth structure.

In a letter to Commonwealth Casino Commission chairman Ralph Demapan, Mr. Yumul wrote, “The Department of Public Works is hereby requesting authorization for our Building Safety Code Inspectors to be allowed entry into the IPI Building Facility for inspection. The building inspection is necessary to assess the existing condition of the electrical, mechanical, and standard components of the equipment and, to verify the integrity of the building and of welding connections.”

The facility is a fitting monument to the memory of the Ralph Torres administration – built to attract the money hungry risk taker, ornamented with lavish finishings, over extended on credit, corrupt at its core, abandoned, and derelict and left for someone else to take care of.

It was built between 2016 and 2017, and closed shop during the pandemic following multi-millions of dollars in owed fees and taxes, labor and safety violations, lawsuits, and judgments against it, not to mention the absence of tourism at the height of the public health emergency.

There is an irony to the letter. Mr. Demapan, the CCC chairman, was the legislator who authored the portion of the casino license statute that purposely removed the bonding requirement for the completion of construction of the building. Because of the absence of that requirement, IPI was allowed to stop construction of its south wing and leave its rusting cranes hanging in the middle of Garapan without consequence.

“DPW will also conduct [a] visual inspection of Tower Cranes Nos. 1 and 5,” Mr. Yumul wrote in his letter to Demapan. “The last inspection IPI conducted was in May 2021, which found rusting components of tower structures and safety rails that will eventually weaken the structural member of the Tower Crane.”

Mr. Yumul wrote that the inactivity of “structural members, mechanical equipment, and electrical component[s]” exposed to the elements “are detrimental to the safety of the building.”

“Those cranes are going to fall and hurt people!” Congressman Ed Propst has exclaimed on a number of occasions.

“The safety inspection is significant to identify the critical areas that may need immediate attention to prevent serious disasters from occurring and to protect life and property,” Mr. Yumul wrote.


  • Russ Mason

      05/05/2023 at 9:07 AM

    It ought to be torn down, but the facade should remain as a monument to local greed and stupidity.

  • Highly doubt there is anybody at DPW (or within the NMI Govt. that has the capacity and expertise along with the credentials to inspect or understand what is being stated on such inspections. Certainly not Ray Yumul.

    All such “inspection” will just end up as a roaming tour by a bunch of curious people from various Govt agencies.
    A certified crane inspector would need to be brought in from Guam for one thing to ascertain the true conditions of those tower cranes.

    Also there should be off island certified professionals to inspect, document and assess the costs to continue on and complete this structure ALSO give estimates on various ways to demolish and to dispose of this building depending on which way this whole situation will go.

    There may also be a very slight chance that some kind of a “demolition grant” may be available from the EPA or other US Govt. agency.
    This more so depending on the condition of the building especially if the building core is deemed to be unsafe due to noncertified welding and other structural concerns.

    This building, if inspected by off island professionals along with it’s past documented construction history and including the lack of oversight during the ongoing construction by the local proper Govt agencies, may be deems a safety hazard due the location it is situated on.

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