SINGAPORE COMPANY EXPRESSES INTEREST IN PAGO PAGO’S RAINMAKER HOTEL

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 30, 2002 – Samoa News)---An Asian company based in Singapore is interested in purchasing the 180-room deteriorating Rainmaker Hotel -- which is 80 percent owned by the government.

The latest appraisal of the hotel indicates that it's valued at less than $2 million, according to sources.

Officials of China Team PTE, Ltd. were in the Territory recently and paid a courtesy call on Governor Tauese Sunia to make known their interest in the hotel and to present their proposal.

The Governor's Legal Counsel, Henry Kappel, said representatives of the company met with the Governor before he left for South Africa to attend the United Nation’s World Summit on Sustainable Development Conference.

"The Governor had asked the Lieutenant Governor to meet with the company's representatives to explore their proposal and conduct any further negations, if warranted," Kappel said.

Governor Tauese in April of this year rejected the joint-proposal from Miller Investments Inc., and Usoalii Investment Corporation, whose majority shareholders are Ronald and Usoalii Miller, currently residing in California.

Governor Tauese represents the majority shareholder of the American Samoa Development Corporation (ASDC), which owns the Rainmaker Hotel, that, in turn, is 80% owned by the Development Bank of American Samoa (DBAS).

The government-appointed source evaluation board, that reviewed the joint-proposal, had recommended that the governor reject the proposal and issue a new request for proposals.

Board chairman Aliimau H. Scanlan confirmed yesterday that the board also received a copy of the proposal from the Singapore company and it is now being reviewed.

He said a board meeting will be convened at a later time to make recommendations to the governor.

"However, the final call on who is awarded the project rests with the governor," he added.

"We will entertain all serious proposals and we are taking the latest proposal seriously during our review," he said.

In April of this year, the U.S. Department of Interior awarded a $19,625 technical assistance grant to the Territorial government to conduct an appraisal of the hotel, which is already completed.

A little over $4,000 came from local funds for the project.

While details of the appraisal have not been made public, sources who have seen the report say the value of the hotel, including the real estate and fixed assets, is under $2 million.

The Millers proposed purchasing all the assets of the Rainmaker Hotel for $500,000, to pay out over a four-year period and invest $2.08 million in construction and renovations over a five-year period.

The company also proposed investing $300,000 over a five-year period in marketing and community affairs and placing $120,000 in a bond for the minority shareholders.

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