Lingle administration officials may have violated state procurement laws last year
when they selected a Honolulu nonprofit organization to handle finances for the
governor’s trade mission to China and Korea.
The state tapped the nonprofit Pacific and Asian Affairs Council to run Gov.
Linda Lingle’s China trip without asking other organizations if they would like to
bid on the $268,637 project. The Pacific and Asian Affairs Council in turn hired
several companies, such as Events International Inc., as subcontractors without
following a bidding process.
The Pacific and Asian Affairs Council was paid nearly $7,000 for administering
the trip and got a boost in prestige from its close association with a major state
initiative. Events International and a related company got contracts worth
While the payments don’t appear to be excessive, the apparent failure of state
officials to follow procurement laws raises questions. Procurement laws are meant
to ensure the state gets the best value for its money and that potential state
suppliers are treated fairly.
Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and
Tourism, said the state was not obligated to follow usual procurement policies
because the trips were funded by corporate sponsors and not taxpayers. Using a
nonprofit made the process of raising and spending money more efficient and
allowed the agency to keep sensitive details about the mission private, Liu said.
“That doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Sen. Sam Slom, R-8th (Kahala, Hawai’i
Kai). “If people are going to believe in the procurement process, then everybody
has got to do the same thing and everything has to be above board.”
The law requires competitive solicitations even if vendors aren’t paid directly by
the state, according to the State Procurement Office.
Aaron Fujioka, State Procurement Office administrator, said he couldn’t comment
specifically on the China trip. However, he said, “The procurement code applies to
all contracts made by government bodies whether the considerations for the
contract is cash or other realizations” such as enhanced reputation. “If there is a
realization, is it subject to the code? I would say yes it is,” Fujioka said.
The Lingle administration already has come under fire for seeking large corporate
sponsors for the elaborate trips in exchange for promises of special benefits.
Now it’s the manner in which state officials spent money that is being questioned.
If DBEDT’s actions don’t violate procurement law, they seem to have been an
attempt to sidestep the law, said state Sen. Shan Tsutsui, D-4th (Kahului), vice
chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“It was not the intent to allow a nonprofit to serve as a pass-through to get around
the procurement law,” Tsutsui said. “If that is happening, we may need to look at
The nonprofit that raised and oversaw the spending of $268,637 for Lingle’s trip
said all decisions concerning subcontractors and money were made by Liu’s
“As we understood it per our agreement … DBEDT was responsible for the planning
and organizing of the mission and as such, the selection of and negotiation with
vendors,” said Lisa Maruyama, executive director of the Pacific and Asian Affairs
Council, in an e-mail to The Advertiser.
“We paid vendors based on invoices sent to us from DBEDT — invoices that had
first been received by DBEDT, reviewed and verified for accuracy by DBEDT and
then subsequently signed by Ted Liu at DBEDT,” Maruyama wrote.
While that may raise procurement issues, the head of one of the companies hired
to work on Lingle’s trip said it was not their intent to exclude other organizations.
“If there’s a gray area here it’s unfortunate because I don’t think anybody had
any malicious intentions,” said Eric Schneider, chief executive for Events
International. “It was a bunch of people getting together trying to do something
good for the state of Hawai’i. All anybody could talk about when they got back was
what a success this public-private partnership was.”
Liu says Lingle’s trip to China and South Korea in June produced millions of dollars
in business for the state, and taxpayers saved money because most of the trip was
paid for by private donors. Altogether 200 business leaders, state officials and
entertainers accompanied Lingle on the 10-day trade mission.
Liu said he was advised that he would not need to follow the procurement process
when selecting a nonprofit to organize the trade missions.
“Based on discussions with the Office of the Attorney General and the State’s
Chief Procurement Officer, no competitive selection process was required,” Liu
said in a written reply to The Advertiser.
The Attorney General’s office declined to comment for this story.
However, an April 5 letter from Deputy Attorney General John Wang to Liu’s
department warned Liu’s department about funneling money for the trip through a
nonprofit. The letter says that if Liu or someone from his department helps make
decisions about how money is spent at a nonprofit organizing a state trade mission,
it may violate procurement law. The letter refers to “DEC,” or the nonprofit
Hawaii District Export Council, which was originally considered as the main
organizer of the China trip. That job was ultimately given to the Pacific and Asian
“The fact that DBEDT has a member on the DEC subcommittee that will supervise
and operate the bank account may be a violation of the state’s procurement law,”
Wang’s letter said. “Though the DBEDT member is in the minority on the sub-committee, the DBEDT member may be able to exert influence over the other
members and direct expenditure of funds without complying with the procurement
law. It is strongly suggested that there be no DBEDT member on the sub-committee.”
Despite that warning, Liu played a lead role in deciding how the Pacific and Asian
Affairs Council spent money related to Lingle’s China trip. For example, Liu
directed the nonprofit to hire Honolulu-based Events International in May to plan
and provide entertainment for the China trip, according to the Pacific and Asian
In addition to the warning from the Attorney General’s office, Liu’s department
was told by the State Procurement Office that it could not hire Events
International without going through a competitive solicitation.
Events International was offering to promote and produce the China trip for free.
But the procurement office, in a March 8 letter, said DBEDT still needed to go
through a bidding process.
“Since there is a potential for a contractor to derive benefits as a result of
receiving this contract, a formal competitive solicitation should be issued to
allow potential vendors the opportunity to receive this contract,” according to
the procurement office letter.
Events International was hired by the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, which as
a private nonprofit is not required to use a bidding process.
“When (DBEDT) didn’t get the exemption, they found another solution and we
didn’t see anything wrong with it,” said Events International CEO Schneider.
Other nonprofits with an interest in China should have been notified about the
state’s interest in lining up organizations to work on the trip, said Johnson Choi,
president of the nonprofit Hong Kong-China-Hawai’i Chamber of Commerce.
“Generally I think everything should be on the up and up and it should be on a
bidding process,” Choi said. “DBEDT was just looking for a yes man. Somebody
that wouldn’t ask any questions….”
~ ~ ~
MAJOR DONORS GIVE $359K TO LINGLE
The Lingle administration raised $359,445 from private and public organizations to
fund two trade missions to China. After a request from The Advertiser first sent
in June, the Lingle administration recently released the names of the donors and
the amounts they gave. Here are the major donors:
SPONSORS FOR LINGLE CHINA MISSIONS
DFS Hawaii: $50,000
NCL-America: $35,000 Ko Olina: $35,000 Castle & Cooke: $32,500
Dole Foods: $32,500 Alexander & Baldwin: $30,000
Hawaii Modular Space: $20,000
Simple Green: $20,000
Deep Seawater International: $17,945
Hawaiian Natural Water Co.: $15,000
Hawaii’s Own: $10,000
State Dept. of Agriculture: $10,000
Solstar Corp: $10,000
China Warranty Corp: $7,000
Hawaiian Host: $5,000
Pacific Resources: $5,000 Marriott International: $5,000
Market City Ltd.: $4,500
Hawaii Tourism-Asia: $2,000 Outrigger Hotels: $1,500
Pacific Basin Airport Maintenance: $1,500…
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March 28, 2004
Asia-Pacific forum puts us on map
By John Griffin, Honolulu Advertiser
It was an inspiring St. Patrick’s Day sight — Gov. Linda Lingle and University of
Hawai’i President Evan Dobelle seated side by side, sometimes chatting like
Not only that, the liberal UH leader playfully introduced the Republican governor
as “Linda O’Lingle” before her talk on “Hawai’i’s Role in the Asia-Pacific Region.”
Some might have viewed the occasion as a hopeful sign that the testy relations
between two of Hawai’i’s most important people have somehow evolved into a
welcome detente. One can hope so.
But at the least, I saw that luncheon scene as a testimonial to the prestige of the
co-sponsoring Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, which is observing its 50th
anniversary as a vital Hawai’i organization.
The council is a nonpartisan educational institution for public- and private-school
children, community-college students and adults interested in international
Today, Hawai’i has a variety of organizations dealing in foreign affairs, including
the federally financedEast-West Center, the Asia-Pacific Security Center and
such private groups as Pacific Forum/CSIS and the Japan-America Society.
But for a number of crucial years, the council was virtually the only game in town on
Asia-Pacific matters, aside from the underrated role of the University of Hawai’i.
Alumni of its high-school programs include such notables as state Sen. Les Ihara,
state Rep. Galen Fox, former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, AIG Hawai’i president
Robin Campaniano, Roosevelt High School principal Dennis Hokama, Tax Foundation
of Hawai’i head Lowell Kalapa, attorney Colbert Matsumoto and international
lawyer Gerald Sumida, a former council board chairman who will receive this year’s
distinguished alumnus award. Roland Lagareta, now chairman of the East-West
Center’s board of governors, ran the council’s high-school program from 1969 to
1977 and is one of its vice presidents….
Today, the council, which operates with a staff of five under executive director
Lisa Maruyama, is said to be in its best financial shape ever.
It gets money from state government for its educational programs, the State
Department for helping distinguished international visitors, foundations,
corporations and its 400 individual and family members.
It has what some call a symbiotic relationship with UH and its School of Hawaiian,
Asian and Pacific Studies (SHAPS) and the East-West Center, from which it
rents office space in Burns Hall….
The council will hold a big 50th anniversary dinner Friday night, and soon the
organization will be changing presidents. Veteran international attorney Frank
Boas, who has served for six years, is stepping aside in favor of Kenji Sumida, who
twice served with honor as interim president of the East-West Center. Banker
Warren Luke is board chairman….
John Griffin is former editor of The Advertiser’s editorial pages and a frequent
$ $ $
September 18, 2005
Hitman Ching dies in prison
The notorious killer succumbs
to hepatitis from past drug use
By Rod Antone, Star-Bulletin
One of Hawaii’s most notorious and cold-blooded killers, underworld hitman Ronald
K. Ching, died in Halawa Community Correctional Center of complications from liver
disease yesterday morning, prison officials said.
Ching, 56, was serving a life sentence for killing a state senator and the son of a
former city prosecutor as well as for two other murders. One of his victims was
In 1985 Ching was sentenced to life in prison for four organized crime murders –
state Sen. Larry Kuriyama in 1970; the 1975 shooting of the 19-year-old Charles
Marsland III, son of then-Deputy City Corporation Counsel Charles Marsland Jr.;
felon-turned-government-agent Arthur Baker, buried alive in 1978; and the
shooting of gambling figure Robert Fukumoto in 1989.
Following the killing of his son, Marsland ran successfully for prosecutor.
Honolulu City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, who helped convicted Ching as a deputy
prosecutor under Marsland, remembered talking to Ching about the murder of
“The description of the air and sand going in his mouth when he inhaled while he
was under the ground has never left me,” Carlisle said. “There’s not many people
who can describe to you in explicit detail burying someone alive.
“He could be very cordial and charming when he was cooperating with you, and
there were other times he could be reptilian as to how cold he was.”…
In a 1985 interview with Star-Bulletin reporter Charles Memminger, Ching said he
felt remorse and pled guilty to the four murders because he was upset with the
way he had been treated by organized crime.
“I could see that the whole organized crime movement had been very greedy –
there’s been no loyalty toward me,” Ching said. “I don’t feel I owe none of these
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February 9, 2005
Alleged shooter has roots in
old isle underworld
One Pali Golf Course murder suspect comes
from a legendary Waianae crime family
By Sally Apgar, Star-Bulletin
Rodney V. Joseph, allegedly one of the shooters in the Pali Golf Course murders
last month, came of age in Waianae during a legendary era when crime bosses
ordered the execution of competitors by a bullet to the head and informants were
buried alive in the sands of Maili Beach.
Joseph, 35, a professional kickboxer, is charged with first- and second-degree
murder in the killing of Lepo Utu Taliese, 44, and Lawrence “Romelius” Corpuz, 39,
at the Pali Golf Course Jan. 7….
The Joseph family of Waianae is part of the storied past of Hawaii’s underworld
of the 1960s through the mid-1990s, which was vividly described in scores of news
Federal informants called Charles “Charlie” Stevens, who is Joseph’s uncle on his
mother’s side, a drug lord and “the man” on the Waianae Coast for more than 20
years. Stevens, also known as “Uncle Charlie” or “Old Man,” regularly cruised his
domain with his lieutenants in a black Lincoln Continental with dark-tinted windows.
Stevens, who was married to Joseph’s aunt Aletha “None” Stevens, had a taste
for one of his own products, heroin, and died in 1999 of cardiac arrest in a federal
prison in Pennsylvania at age 56.
In the early 1990s, Stevens was the target of a state and federal investigation
that ultimately sent him to federal prison as part of a plea agreement.
He pleaded guilty to racketeering and confessed to drug trafficking, murder
and bribing a state judge to reverse a guilty verdict in a double murder.…
One FBI affidavit described an incident involving Rodney Joseph when he was
barely 20. The 1990 affidavit supporting an FBI wiretap of Stevens recounted
how Joseph allegedly helped his uncle retrieve two pounds of crystal
methamphetamine, or “ice,” from a hotel room.
The affidavit said that Mervin “Charlie” Chan “froze up and died while mainlining
crystal methamphetamine in the Plaza Hotel near the airport on Dec. 31, 1988.”…
In 1984, Charles Marsland was an outspoken and controversial city prosecutor who
was out to nail organized crime. but Marsland’s mission had a personal edge: He
wanted to find out who had murdered his 19-year-old son, Charles “Chuckers”
Marsland III, early one morning in Waimanalo with a police service revolver….
In 1984 the intensive work of Marsland’s organized-crime strike force and federal
investigators pinned two major underworld figures: Ronald Kainalu “Ronnie” Ching
and Henry Huihui.
Ching, who turned witness for Marsland and the state, was considered a ruthless
hit man and the state’s foremost contract killer who bore no allegiance to any
crime boss. They said he killed for money, favor and sport….
On Aug. 23, 1985, Ching was sentenced to four life terms for the four murders….
Huihui and Ching were both used unsuccessfully to go after former Honolulu
police officer Larry Mehau, who lived on the Big Island and was publicly
labeled by one of Marsland’s staff in the late 1970s as the “godfather” of
organized crime in Hawaii.
Mehau, who was close to former Gov. George Ariyoshi, was the target of a
federal and state investigation code named “Firebird.”
Mehau was never convicted….
The jury convicted Stevens of the murder on March 26, 1981. But in a
stunning decision that stirred angry accusations, Judge Harold Shintaku
overturned the verdict on September 28, 1981, claiming the evidence was not
there to convict.
Shintaku was harshly criticized. On Oct. 6, 1981, he made public his written
argument for acquittal. That night, police arrested him for drunken driving, and
the next morning his relatives found him in a family-owned beach cottage at
Mokuleia with multiple skull fractures and a broken collarbone. Shintaku said he
believed he had been beaten after he passed out. Police said he hurt himself in a
fall during a botched attempt to hang himself.
In 1983, Shintaku retired from the bench. The judge was arrested in a 1987 raid
on an Alewa Heights teahouse in the company of Earl K.H. Kim, who controlled
gambling during that era.
Shintaku pleaded guilty to gambling charges in 1988. A year later he was found
dead after apparently slitting both wrists and jumping from the third floor of the
Stardust Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It was never clear whether he committed
suicide or was murdered.
Stevens confessed in 1992 that his brother,Richard “Dickie” Stevens, who
had since died, bribed Shintaku. Stevens said Shintaku had gambling debts and
that the bribe was made and accepted before the double murder trial ever began.
On May 12, 1993, federal Judge David Ezra sentenced Stevens to 20 years
He told the court that Stevens’ prosecution ended“a criminal organization that
operated almost unchecked on the Waianae Coast for over 20 years.”
Former Republican Congressional Candidate
Pleads Guilty to Felony Charges Stemming from
His Campaigns for Lt. Governor, Congress
Out-of-Court Settlement Allows
Dalton Tanonaka to Avoid a Trial
By Malia Zimmerman, Hawaii Reporter
Dalton Tanonaka, 51, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2002 and U.S. House in
2004 as a Republican, plead guilty in federal court July 21, 2005, to three felony
charges, admitting he violated federal law during his campaigns.
The State Campaign Spending Commission initiate the investigation into Tanonaka,
who is a former print and broadcast journalist, eventually turning over the case to
the city prosecutor’s office. But the federal government took over the case
Law enforcement sources say Tanonaka attempted to stop the investigation almost
from the get-go by contacting powerful Republican supporters in Washington D.C.
and asking them to come to his aid. That only further irritated investigators, who
say Tanonaka was less than honest about the seriousness of the charges pending
Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang in U.S. District Court, Tanonaka
>Two counts of making false statements in a bank loan application related to
illegal campaign donations received during the lieutenant governor race in
>One count of making false statements on a financial disclosure from in 2004,
required for his congressional campaign; and
>One misdemeanor count related to accepting an illegal contribution in the
congressional race of $11,000.
Though he will not likely serve jail time, Tanonaka could face a maximum
penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the first two felony
charges and a $2,000 fine for the misdemeanor. His sentencing is scheduled
for Nov. 3, 2005….
Tanonaka continues to maintain he is innocent of all charges, but plead guilty to
avoid a trial….
Dalton Tanonaka has been named as the new president of the Pacific Basin
Economic Council (PBEC). PBEC represents more than 1000 international
companies across 20 nations who have a total work force of 10-million people and
revenues exceeding $4 trillion.
“Dalton’s experience and skills are exactly what we need to move PBEC’s agenda
forward,” said PBEC Chairman S.R. Cho. “His credibility and ideas will help us
reemphasize our role as the business voice of the region.”
Tanonaka worked at CNN International where he served as a main news anchor
and recently left that position to run unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. He
has also worked as the City and County of Honolulu’s Economic Director.
Some Tanonaka’s goals include generating more interest from Far East Countries to
do business here in the state, positioning Hawaii as the Pacific’s economic hub and
convincing local business and government leaders of the importance of keeping
PBEC based in Honolulu….
See also: www.pritchettcartoons.com/expert.htm
For an update, GO TO > > > www.ilind.net/2005/november/oct30-nov05.html
Two and Half Years Into Her 4-Year Term, A Hawaii Reporter Investigation
Reveals Governor’s Top Administrators Have Done Virtually Nothing to Clean
Up Political Corruption in the State, Or Stop the Pay to Play System
By Malia Zimmerman, Hawaii Reporter
The first in a series
When Linda Lingle ran for governor of Hawaii on the Republican ticket in 1998 and
2002, one of her top three campaign promises, in addition to reforming the state’s
public school system and boosting the economy, was to “clean up political
That priority was welcomed by a tired public that had watched for more than a
decade as numerous Democrat politicians entrusted with the taxpayers’ wellbeing
went to prison for corruption, fraud, campaign violations, abuse of taxpayer funds,
tax evasion and a host of other crimes. A weary public that had seen the House
Speaker, prominent city officials and then campaign spending director Jack
Gonsalves go to prison. An increasingly cynical public that had seen then Gov.
Benjamin Cayetano invoke what some called “a reign of terror” on people he
deemed his political “enemies,” using his tremendous gubernatorial powers and vast
taxpayer funded resources to target critics.
However, two-and-a-half years into her 4-year term, an investigation by Hawaii
Reporter shows Lingle’s administration –- mainly the state attorney general and
the Department of Accounting and General Services — have done virtually
nothing to clean up political corruption, especially in the areas of government
This despite the fact that the Honolulu City Prosecutor, Honolulu Police
Department, state Campaign Spending Commission, FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney
have aggressively pursued company officers and owners who, in an effort to obtain
favoritism in government contracts, concessions, zoning and permitting, violated
state campaign spending law.
These agencies undertook independent investigations into whether then Honolulu
Mayor Jeremy Harris’ top advisors were extorting money from businesses
seeking permits, contracts, concessions or zoning from his city administration.
They also looked into whether the businesses were paying up, getting around
campaign spending limits by using family members, friends, vendors and business
associates to funnel illegal contributions through.
Four years later, these investigations into Harris and his supporters resulted in
nearly 100 companies and their top officers being fined a collective $1.5 million by
the state Campaign Spending Commission. Bob Watada, executive director of the
state Campaign Spending Commission, estimates more than $1.5 million of Harris’
campaign war chest –- half of what Harris raised from 1996 to 2001 –- was illegally
contributed, though Harris and his top officials deny any knowledge of the
violations or the pay to play scheme.
The Honolulu police and city prosecutor followed up on several of these violations,
criminally pursuing corporate officers for money laundering and making “false
name” contributions. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers say, the vast
majority of the judges who have heard the corruption cases, have let the
corporate officers off with fines and deferred acceptance pleas, allowing them to
wipe their record clean with time and good behavior.
The U.S. Attorney filed charges against two companies for tax evasion including
Thermal Engineering and GEO Labs, with plans to continue prosecuting other
companies that violated federal tax laws in an effort to launder money to
politicians. Federal judges have so far taken the campaign violations much more
seriously than their counterparts in the state.
But law enforcement officers say the only punishment these corporate officers
will understand –- a punishment that will stop them from participating in the pay to
play scheme –- is having their right to bid on contracts and thus their ability to
make a profit from government work removed all together.
Fines — even substantial ones imposed by the court or the state Campaign
Spending Commission — are easily absorbed by the company, which can then turn
around and get more government work.
Liberal state judges who in one case compared money laundering to politicians as a
crime equivalent to a traffic ticket, are letting the corporate offenders go free
with no jail time and typically a deferred acceptance, allowing them to wipe their
record clean within a designated time period.
Lingle administrators do not say much about their reasons for not pursuing
debarment against the more serious offenders, but did tell Hawaii Reporter they
are dealing with a complicated new procurement law that makes it more difficult to
successfully debar companies that commit campaign violations.
Wielding the Heavy Hammer on Political Corruption
The state Department of Accounting and General Services, which oversees
procurement in the state, has traditionally had the authority to “debar” companies
fined more than $5,000 by the state Campaign Spending Commission or whose
officers have been prosecuted criminally for campaign spending violations. That
“right” was reinforced by a 2003 procurement bill signed into law by Gov. Linda
Lingle that same year.
Those trying to implement the legislation say it has numerous flaws. The law puts
more mandates and a higher requirement for burden of proof before debarment on
the state. However, the law can still be used as a deterrent against businesses
that egregiously violated the state campaign spending laws, law enforcement and
industry sources say.
But since taking office, Lingle has not wielded this heavy hammer handed to her
by lawmakers. Her administrators have not initiated any debarment proceedings
against any company whose officers have violated campaign spending laws,
according to interviews Hawaii Reporter has conducted with Russ Saito, the
director of the Department of Accounting and General Services, procurement
personnel within the department and Hawaii’s law enforcement.
This despite the fact that more than 30 companies, according to public record,
could be debarred, according to state law, for their campaign spending violations.
Lingle’s administration continues to allow such companies as SSFM, whose
president Michael Matsumoto laundered $400,000 to local Democrat
politicians including $200,000 to the campaign of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy
Harris, continue to get millions of dollars in work from the state.
Thermal Engineering, whose officers conspired to launder money through
workers and relatives to local Democrats including Honolulu Mayor Jeremy
Harris, and whose officers are being criminally prosecuted by the federal
government, is still able to qualify for state and county contracts.
R.M. Towill, whose president Donald Kim pled no contest to violation of
campaign spending laws after laundering along with his vice president Russ
Figueroa, even more money than SSFM to Harris and others, can bid on and
win state and county jobs.
Wesley Segawa, son of former Big Island Representative Herbert Segawa, and
cousin of Dennis Mitsunaga, who also is under investigation by the city
prosecutor, can procure state work, even after he laundered money through
friends and relatives for Harris.
Gary Okamoto of Wilson Okamoto and Associates, also can vie for state
contracts, even after his wife pled no contest to making at least $60,000 in
contributions on behalf of the company to Harris and paid a fine of $45,000
to the state Campaign Spending Commission.
Ed Noda of Ed Noda and Associates can be awarded state contracts despite
laundering at least $80,000 to Harris and Cayetano and subsequently
covering up his crime when investigators questioned him. Noda was fined
The Lingle’s administration also continues to allow GeoLabs, the first company
fined by the state Campaign Spending Commission in this series of
investigations, to be qualified for state and county work, even though its
officers laundered over $100,000 to campaign of Harris, Cayetano, Apana
and was fined $65,000.
In stark contrast to the state, the federal government is taking action in an
attempt to stop taxpayer dollars from going to politically corrupt companies.
Some federal agencies that procure government work in Hawaii are currently
investigating a number of firms that were fined or prosecuted by the local
government to determine if they should be debarred either temporarily or
permanently from federal work.
So What’s the Problem?
Why isn’t the Lingle administration debarring companies that commit politically
Especially when a Republican administration can use the opportunity to stomp out
Democrats’ supporters and the Democrats’ primary money stream before the 2006
election when Lingle is up for re-election against a Democrat candidate.
Her administrators point fingers at the legislators and each other.
The procurement division personnel under the state Department of Accounting
and General Services say lawmakers ignored testimony by Aaron Fujioka, then
the chief procurement officer for the state, who said the law would actually make
it more difficult to build cases against the contractors who violated campaign
Before Fujioka left the state procurement office this Spring, he had prepared a
debarment case against SSFM, but sources say the case wasrejected by the
state attorney general.
Russ Saito, director of the state Department of Accounting and General
Services, and an appointee of the governor, says his department has not proceeded
with any debarment hearings because of problems with the law.
He says firms that violate the campaign spending laws can be debarred in two ways.
First, if they are convicted, and second, if they are not convicted but are fined
more than $5,000 for violations committed after the rule went into effect in
2003, they may be debarred by the Chief Procurement officer. For violations
before 2003, it is more difficult but possible to debar subject to the debarment
statute in the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Saito says, claiming the burden of proof is
Mark Bennett, the state attorney general, would not return numerous calls made
by Hawaii Reporter to his office about the status of debarment proceedings
against the more than 30 companies that could be debarred for political corruption
under Hawaii law.
Follow up calls made to him through the governor’s policy advisor and press
secretary also were not returned, though Bennett has willingly commented on
several other stories in Hawaii Reporter.
The Hawai’i hotel-restaurant workers union has filed a civil racketeering lawsuit
against Unity House Inc., charging that former president Anthony Rutledge Sr.
and other officers used Gov. Linda Lingle’s chief of staff Robert Awana, former
state Rep. Romeo Mindo and others to divert millions of dollars of Unity House
money for the personal benefit of Rutledge, his family members and associates.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court last weekend, does not name Awana as a
defendant but calls him a “co-conspirator and/or wrongdoer” in an alleged
scheme to defraud the nonprofit labor organization of assets.
Awana could not be reached for comment yesterday. His attorney, state Sen.
Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), yesterday said, “I don’t know
anything about the suit. I can’t comment.” Hanabusa said in January that Awana
testified before a federal grand jury investigating Unity House but was told he
was not a target of the investigation.
Mindo’s attorney Eric Seitz said he hadn’t seen the suit and had no comment on it.
He has previously said Mindo, a former Unity House employee, committed no
The racketeering lawsuit was filed Sunday by the union and Eric Gill, head of the
Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 5 and a longtime
opponent of Tony Rutledge. Fourteen other officials and members of Local 5 are
plaintiffs in the suit seeking unspecified monetary damages from the senior
Rutledge and other defendants.
The lawsuit repeats many allegations in a criminal fraud case against Tony Rutledge
and his son Aaron, a former Unity House executive. That case is scheduled to go
to trial in federal court in May. Some of the allegations contained in the suit are
also drawn from records introduced in court after federal agents seized control of
Unity House Dec. 14.
IRS agent Gregory Miki said in a sworn statement justifying the Unity House
seizure that, “The unchecked use of Unity House contracts and monies have
resulted in political influence that has opened doors from which (Tony)
Rutledge has benefited personally.”
One example cited by Miki was a “generous consulting contract” that Unity House
gave Awana in 1999-2000 to survey union members. The Local 5 lawsuit said the
value of the contract was $250,000 and the survey “included questions on whom
they would vote for in the upcoming mayoral and other elections.”
The suit also repeated an allegation from Miki thatRutledge met with Awana 11
times after Awana became Lingle’s chief of staff in 2002.
Jeff Rawitz, defense attorney for Tony Rutledge, declined comment on the
lawsuit other than to note that it was filed for Local 5 by T. Anthony Gill, brother
of Eric Gill.
“That has the appearance of a conflict of interest because the brother who filed
the lawsuit stands to make money from it regardless of the merits of the case,”
T. Anthony Gill declined to respond to Rawitz’s statement.
Brian DeLima, attorney for Aaron Rutledge, said he had not seen the suit and
could not comment on its contents….
Prominent Honolulu criminal defense attorney Michael Green, a former Unity
House director, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. His office said
yesterday Green was out of state and unavailable for comment.
David Louie, an attorney who represents another defendant, former Unity House
director Arlene Hae, was unavailable for comment yesterday on the lawsuit.
Hae this month filed a legal protest against the government’s “usurpation of
control” of Unity House, saying the takeover “impairs and impedes” the ability of
Hae and other officers and directors to protect the rights and assets of Unity
In response, Anthony Pounders, the receiver appointed by federal court to run
Unity House while the criminal case against the Rutledges is pending, said: “Even if
some members of the prior management were not directly involved in any
corporate mismanagement or malfeasance,I have found no evidence of any
attempts to expose, investigate or otherwise stop such mismanagement or
Pounders said the net worth of Unity House declined from $49 million at the end
of 2001 to $31 million today, owing largely to bad investments.
He also said Unity House last year was billed $793,000 in legal expenses to
defend the Rutledges in the federal criminal investigations.
Unity House has paid $50,000 a year for insurance coverages of its officers
and directors but “failed to make a claim” for insurance coverage* of the legal
bills, Pounders said.
“Instead, Unity House used its own money to pay Anthony Rutledge Sr.’s
attorneys’ fees,” said Pounders.
Rutledge lawyer Rawitz yesterday declined comment on Pounders’ statements…
HONOLULU (AP) – Behind his state-issue desk in a small fourth-floor office sits a
slightly built, soft-spoken man who has managed to shake Hawaii’s power structure
to its core.
During the past two years, Robert Watada and his staff at the state Campaign
Spending Commission have respected architects and engineers illegally made
political donations in the names of their employees, wives and children, allegedly to
win government contracts.
The results of the investigation so far: nearly $1 million in fines, jail time for a
prominent lawyer, community service for business leaders, and the resignation of a
Honolulu police commissioner.
“It’s what I get paid for,” said Watada, the commission’s executive director. “I
believe our system requires all of us in the democracy in which we live to follow the
The civil and criminal reckoning has also been an embarrassment for some of the
state’s most influential Democrats and played a role in giving Hawaii its first
elected Republican governor in 40 years.
Under state law, individuals can donate no more than $6,000 to gubernatorial
candidates and $4,000 to mayoral candidates. Watada found that some
businessmen were subverting the law by making donations in other people’s names.
Watada’s persistence has led to a slew of investigations by Honolulu Prosecuting
Attorney Peter Carlisle, who says he hopes to end a “pay for play culture” that
has plagued Hawaii’s Democrat-dominated government for years.
The cases involve such things as $10,500 in donations over a five-year period in
the names of three modestly paid Chinese-restaurant workers, and a $2,000
donation that supposedly came from a high school student.
The biggest fine was $303,000 levied against engineering executive Michael
Matsumoto for allegedly laundering more than $400,000 in illegal contributions to
Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris and other Democrats. Matsumoto, chief executive
of SSFM International Inc., which won more than $7 million worth of city
contracts, pleaded no contest to funneling money to family members and employees
to donate to Harris’ campaign and was sentenced to 300 hours of community
Still, there has been no direct evidence that the illegal contributions influenced
the awarding of state and local government contracts.
And so far, the scam’s chief beneficiary, Honolulu’s mayor, has not been publicly
implicated. His attorney has said the may never solicited or knowingly accepted
After a rapid rise in politics, Harris abruptly dropped out of the 2002 governor’s
race in the midst of the investigation. Republican Linda Lingle went on to win the
election. The mayor’s term ends in a year.
Lingle made political corruption a top campaign issue and won passage of a
government-procurement reform law in her first year in office.
Since the probe began, the commission has levied fines against 75 companies for
making illegal contributions to Democrats such as Harris, former Democratic Gov.
Ben Cayetano, former Maui County Mayor James Apana and former Lt. Gov.
Mazie Hirono. Up to 40 more companies are still being investigated.
Among those convicted was former Hawaii Bar AssociationPresidentEdward
Y.C. Chun, 71. Chun was the first to get jail time – 10 days. Nearly 20 others
have been arrested and booked for investigation.
Also, Leonard Leong resigned as Honolulu police commissioner after being fined
for illegal campaign contributions to the mayor.
The scandal has involved mostly design and engineering firms, while county or state
construction projects or product purchases require competitive bidding, design
contracts have been decided subjectively by public officials….
Stanley Kawaguchi, former national president of the American Council of
Engineering Companies, said that before the scandal, political contributions had
“effectively become mandatory.”
“The widespread perception was that you had to pay to play,” he said. “The
old system really gave our industry a black eye.”
Apparently it had been going on for decades. Watada said one retired engineering
company president told him that when he started 30 years ago, contributions of
$25 or $100 would help in getting city contracts.
Watada said the investigations and changes in the law have curbed the illegal
practices for now.
“But I’m realistic. When there’s money involved and politics involved and
power involved, whether it’s in Hawaii or New Jersey or anywhere else, it’s
something the public always has to be vigilant about,”he said.
$ $ $
March 16, 2004
Harris donor arrested for gifts
The former CEO of an isle firm
had given $80,250 to the mayor
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Honolulu police arrested the former head of one of the state’s largest engineering
firms yesterday for allegedly making illegal political contributions to Mayor
Larry Matsuo, former chief executive of Park Engineering, was booked at police
headquarters on suspicion of money laundering and making political donations under
a false name.
Matsuo was not charged and was released pending investigation.
He was not available for comment, and his lawyer Darwin Ching could not be
Money laundering is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Making a
political donation under a false name is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in
Until recently, Matsuo headed Park Engineering, a local government contractor
linked to more than $115,000 in political donations to Harris, former Gov. Ben
Cayetano andex-Maui Mayor James “Kimo” Apana….
Founded in 1958, Park Engineering is one of the state’s largest engineering firms,
receiving more than $5.5 million in nonbid consulting work from the city during
the past eight years….
The only sitting member of the state Legislature who is running for lieutenant
governor was taken to task by two of his Democratic opponents for an exemption
state lawmakers gave themselves in a campaign spending reform measure passed
“If you’re going to exempt the Legislature, then why even have the law?” asked
Donna Ikeda, a former member of both the Legislature and Board of Education.
“If you’re going to pass something, it should apply evenly across the board.”
Ikeda’s comments followed state Sen. Matt Matsunaga’s assessment of a bill that
would have prohibited companies or people who do business with the city or state
from donating to candidates for mayor or governor. Gov. Ben Cayetano vetoed the
bill because of an exemption for the Legislature.
The exchange came during a live televised debate on ‘Olelo Community Television
between Ikeda, Matsunaga, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Clayton Hee and
entertainment industry promoter Marvin Franklin….
One of the more lively verbal exchanges came when moderator Bob Rees asked all
four candidates whether campaign finance reform is needed.
“Yes, absolutely,” Matsunaga said. “We had a wonderful opportunity this past
legislative session. We passed a very good bill. It may have had a few flaws, but it
was a good bill to try and break the connection between campaign contributions and
state contracts. And, unfortunately, the governor vetoed it, but perhaps we can
pick that up later.”
Ikeda was quick to respond.
“Well, there’s a reason why the bill was vetoed: The Legislature exempted itself
from the coverage,” she said.
“Well, it should apply,” Matsunaga said, “but the reason why the Legislature was
exempted is ’cause the Legislature doesn’t award the contracts. It’s the
executive branch that actually awards the nonbid contracts, and I have no problem
with putting the Legislature …”
But before Matsunaga finished, Ikeda interrupted, “Let’s be honest … legislators
have a way of picking up the phone, calling up and putting pressure on people to do
things. That happens all the time.”
She also said lawmakers should not be exempt “because by being exempt, they can
profit from the very kinds of contributions that everybody else is supposed to be
prohibited from receiving.”
Matsunaga continued, “I guess I’m not familiar with the legislators that pick up
the phone and twist arms.”
Ikeda responded, “Oh, come on, Matt.”
Hee then weighed in, saying that the Legislature should not be let off the hook
“because if Matt is right, what’s the harm with the exemption falling to the
legislators? But in fact Matt is not right.”
As an example, Hee pointed to a $75 million tax credit the Legislature gave to the
Ko Olina developers for construction of a world-class aquarium.
“That’s a way of packaging a project that has great financial
implications to certain developers, and to me that must stop,”Hee said.
Hee said certain lawmakers have said that they like the way the situation is now.
“But that’s what I meant when I said business as usual cannot continue.
He said a kickback scheme could become
the largest waste of state taxpayer dollars ever
By Rod Antone, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
State Attorney General Earl Anzai says his department’s investigation into an
alleged Honolulu Airport maintenance kickback scheme could be the largest waste
of state taxpayer dollars ever, with the potential of surpassing the $5.5 million
lost in the city’s Ewa Villages scandal.
“The scope of the problem seems to be increasing all the time,” Anzai said
yesterday. “It just seems to be getting bigger and bigger.”
Yesterday, state investigators arrested three people whom authorities say were
involved in a scheme that inflated the cost of hundreds of maintenance projects
and offered kickbacks to some airport employees.
Authorities arrested Richard Okada, administrator of the Airports Division’s
Visitor Information Program, in a bribery investigation. They also arrested Richard
I. Namba, president of R.I. Namba Construction, in a bribery and first-degree
theft investigation and his daughter, Jodie Y. Namba, in a first-degree theft
investigation. Jodie Namba is the company’s vice president….
Last week, investigators arrested maintenance superintendent Dennis Hirokawa
and airfield and grounds maintenance supervisor Antonio Bio. Hirokawa was
arrested for investigation of first-degree theft and bribery, and Bio was arrested
for investigation of second-degree theft. Both men also were released pending
Anzai said that in 1999 between $7 million and $8 million was spent on airport
maintenance projects, more than double the $3 million to $4 million usually spent
annually by the department.
Most of the work was for small-contract projects under $25,000 and involved
minor repairs such as cracks in floors, holes in walls and replacing ceramic tile.
Anzai would not say exactly how many projects his department was looking at, only
that there were hundreds of them.
“Basically all the projects are suspect,” he said.
Though the focus is on the fiscal years 1999 to 2000, Anzai said investigators are
looking as far as back 1995 or even earlier. Anzai also said some “contractors” who
received kickbacks may have not done any work at all.
“Many or most of them ran their businesses out of their houses and in fact may
have subcontracted actual work,” Anzai said.
“For example, company X gets the bid, but company X doesn’t really have a
contractor’s yard, equipment, etc., and the work is done by company Z.”
Anzai said one company in question received up to $1.6 million in airport
maintenance projects over a one-year period. Anzai said he does expect more
arrests to be made next week….
A spokeswoman says city attorneys ruled the air fare
and hotel stay did not constitute a gift
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris did not disclose that the Republic of Palau paid for
his travel to an environmental conference earlier this summer, in what one city
councilwoman said is symptomatic of the Harris administration’s lack of openness.
But a city spokeswoman said that the mayor did not list the trip in his annual
disclosure report with the Office of the City Clerk after city attorneys
determined that it was not a gift.
Harris was in Palau in late June at the invitation of its president Tommy
Remengesau Jr. to deliver the keynote speech for the 21st annual Pacific Islands
Environment Conference at the Palasia Hotel in the city of Koror.
The Palau government agreed to pay for Harris’s air fare and hotel costs for the
June 24-28 conference, which attracted more than 200 environmental experts and
government officials from about a dozen countries, said Tom Yocum, one of the
enent’s organizers and an official with the Environmental Protection agency.
Yocum, and EPA wetlands expert, said he could not recall the total costs, but that
the Palau government received a discounted, $824 air fare with Continental
airlines for the mayor. Typically, two-way fares for Honolulu to Palau flights range
between $1,600 and $2,000, he said.
Under city ethics laws in effect at the time, elected officials are required to list
all gifts that they receive from outside sources. Such gifts include any form of
money, goods, services, loans, entertainment, lodging and travel that comes from a
donor that has an interest before the city official.
(The city’s ethics law was amended earlier this year to ban all gifts above $200.
but the amended law, which took effect July 1, eliminated the reporting
requirements for gifts.)
The Palau trim came less than a month after Harris dropped out of this year’s
governor’s race. At the time, Harris was considered the Democratic front-runner.
City spokeswoman Carol Costa said city attorneys advised the mayor’s staff in July
that the Palau trip is not a gift and should not be included in Harris’ gift disclosure
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said the omission of Harris’ Palau trip illustrates
his administration’s lack of candor.
Kobayashi, a frequent critic of the Harris’ fiscal policies, said the administration
has been reluctant to disclose information that should be public….
“It’s a question of accountability,” Kobayashi said. “Why don’t they just disclose
these things? What is there to hide?”
Under city law, failure to disclose a gift could result in penalties as severe as
impeachment of an elected official. The corporation counsel also could sue a donor
or a recipient if a gift is not disclosed.
In his July 31, 2002, gift-disclosure form, Harris revealed that he received more
than $21,000 in gifts during the past year, including several honorary memberships
to exclusive clubs such as the Waialae Country Club, the Pacific Club and the
Mid-Pacific Country Club.
The report, which covered July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002, also said that
Harris and his wife, Ramona, each received annual parking passes worth $100
from APCOA Inc. The couple also received movie passes valued at $175 each
from Consolidated Theatres, Wallace Theatre and Signature Theatres.
Chuck Totto, executive director of the City Ethics Commission, declined to
comment on Harris’ gift report….
A federal grand jury issues subpoenas to an engineering
firm linked to donations
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
A federal grand jury is investigating political contributions by local contractors to
the campaigns of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris and other isle Democrats.
The secret panel recently issued subpoenas to the local engineering firm SSFM
International Inc., which is linked to nearly $200,000 in political donations to
Harris, Gov. Ben Cayetano, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and Maui Mayor James
“Kimo” Apana, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
The subpoenas are believed to be the first by the grand jury, which appears to be
targeting companies that the state Campaign Spending Commission says funneled
campaign contributions through their employees.
The federal inquiry coincides with a parallel criminal investigation by city
Prosecutor Peter Carlisle into the Harris 2000 re-election campaign and its
Steven Hisaka, an attorney for SSFM, could not be reached for comment.
The Office of the U.S. Attorney had no response. A lawyer for the Harris
campaign also had no comment, saying the federal investigation does not target
Harris, the former front-runner for this year’s Democratic gubernatorial race,
dropped out of the election last month, citing weak poll results.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office have contacted several local engineering
and architecture firms as part of the same federal inquiry, while the Internal
Revenue Services’ criminal division is looking at whether any of the donors violated
federal tax laws.
Phillip Li, an attorney representing several local engineering firms, said that
federal authorities have interviewed some of his clients, who are cooperating with
But Li, a former commissioner with the state Campaign Spending Commission,
declined to identify the companies or give further details.
SSFM is one of the state’s largest engineering firms with millions of dollars in
state and city contracts.
The Star-Bulletin previously reported that relatives of SSFM’s officers made
about five dozen contributions worth nearly $200,000 to some of the isles’ top-ranking Democrats.
More than $92,000 went to Harris’ 2000 mayoral campaign, while Cayetano’s
1998 re-election campaign received about $71,000. Apana’s campaign raised about
$30,000 from people linked to SSFM. The Hirono campaign received $4,050 in
The state Campaign Spending Commission has alleged that SSFM operated a
special banking account in which the firm’s officers were able to transfer company
money to friends and relatives for political contributions.
The federal grand jury investigation comes as SSFM is contesting several
administrative subpoenas issued by the commission for banking and other financial
information held by the firm and its officers.
SSFM has argued that the commission does not have jurisdiction since it referred
its probe of the Harris campaign to the city prosecutor’s office for a criminal
However, the commission has argued that it is entitled to the records since it did
not refer its investigation into SSFM to the prosecutor’s office.
* * *
June 22, 2002
Hawaii warned of
asbestos in homes
A Montana mine sent potentially
dangerous vermiculite to Hawaii
By Helen Altonn, Star-Bulletin
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cautioned consumers who suspect they
have asbestos-contaminated vermiculite insulation in their homes not to disturb
Hawaii has been identified among states receiving vermiculite from Libby, Mont.,
where it has been linked to 200 deaths and750 illnesses.
Federal health officials are trying to determine if ore mined in that area and
shipped across the country may have spread potentially fatal asbestos.
Lung cancer and fatal asbestos poisoning rates in Libby are 40 to 60 times higher
than would be expected, the Associated Press reported.
The high rates have been blamed on asbestos contamination, caused by breathing in
the dust from the vermiculite.
W.R. Grace & Co. closed the mine in 1991 after 67 years of operation and is now
“We are very concerned about the other sites that have received asbestos-contaminated vermiculite,” said Henry Falk, assistant administrator of the Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the U.S. Health and Human Services
The EPA identified 240 sites in 40 states where vermiculite was shipped from
Libby but said it hasn’t found asbestos poisoning at those sites similar to what
occurred at Libby.
Vicki H. Tsuhako, manager of the EPA-Pacific Islands Office, was trying
yesterday to learn more about the situation in Hawaii. Meanwhile, she referred
inquiries to the EPA Web site.
The public health crisis at the Montana ore-mining town caused concern about the
problem spreading to other towns where vermiculite was shipped to be processed
in soil conditioner and home insulation.
At least 22 sites require some kind of EPA-overseen cleanup, Marianne Horinko,
assistant administrator of the EPA’s Solid Waste and Emergency Response Office,
told the Senate Superfund subcommittee Thursday.
They are in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,
Kentucky, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, Arizona, California, Hawaii,
Oregon and Washington.
Horinko told the Senate committee, “We have not found a pattern of asbestos
contamination that in any way approaches what we’ve seen at Libby.” However,
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., questioned why the sites aren’t already
designated for Superfund status, as was Libby.
If disturbed, fibers can be inhaled and trapped in the lungs where they may cause
diseases developing many years after exposure. Left alone, the particles won’t
If the material must be removed or disturbed because of renovations, consult an
accredited asbestos contractor for tests, information and advice, the EPA advises.
More information on asbestos and health-related information may be obtained on
EPA’s TSCA Hotline, 1-202-554-1404, or from the EPA asbestos Web site:
Two state airports officials were arrested this morning by the state Attorney
General’s office, suspects in a widening investigation of an alleged cash-for-contracts kickback scheme at Honolulu International Airport.
Arrested were Dennis Hirokawa, the airport’s maintenance superintendent, and
Antonio Bio, maintenance supervisor.
Neither man had any comment as the pair were led away in handcuffs from the
main terminal at the airport.
A third suspect in the case, Richard Okada, is on emergency leave from his job as
statewide director of the airports Visitor Information Program and was not at the
airport when Hirokawa and Bio were arrested.
The Attorney General’s office had no comment on the arrests, but chief
investigator Donald Wong said more information may be released later today.
Bio was arrested last week by state sheriff’s deputies in a separate investigation
of theft of plants from the airport, officials said.
Today’s arrests follow a raid by state investigators last week of the offices of
Hirokawa and Okada at the airport.
The investigation centers onmillions of dollarsin airport construction and
repair contracts awarded by airport personnel to private firms since 1995.
Chief investigator Wong said last week the case involves “allegations of forgery,
conspiracy to commit theft, theft and bribery related to small purchase
A small, select group of contractors are alleged to have inflated bills for airport
work and kicked back cash and other gratuities to airport personnel participating
in the scheme.
$ $ $
April 4, 2002
Advocates Of Casinos Spent Big On Lobbying
Mainland investors who want to open two casinos on O’ahu spent more money
touting their agenda before lawmakers at the start of this legislative session than
any other group, state Ethics Commission records show.
Marketing Resource Group, of Lansing, Mich., reported spending $108,679 on
lobbying through January and February, the period covered by lobbyist
expenditure reports due at the commission yesterday.
The company is a public relations firm employed by investors in a Detroit casino
called MotorCity, and last year set up an organization of supporters here called
Holomua Hawai’i, named after the Hawaiian word for progress.
The casino investors include Marian Illitch, whose family owns the Detroit Tigers
baseball team andLittle Caesars pizza chain. They want to build casinos in Waikiki
and Leeward O’ahu, and Holomua Hawai’icollected petition signatures from
25,000 Hawai’i residents who support gambling.
The group also produced a video in which economists and others argue that
gambling would create jobs, provide more government revenue, and boost the state
But others said they fear gambling could increase crime and corruption, and
lawmakers roundly rejected a bill that would authorize the casinos, leaving it very
unlikely that the state will legalize gambling this year.
Marketing Resource Groupcould also be fined for failing to disclose its
lobbying activities to the Ethics Commission for the previous reporting period,
from May to December.
Commission executive director Dan Mollway said organizations that employ
lobbyists and refuse to file reports could be fined up to $500, but most comply
voluntarily. [Catbird: Guess that’s the high cost of doing business in Hawaii!]
Marketing Resource Group could not be reached for comment yesterday. The
firm’s Hawai’i lobbyist, John Radcliffe, said he did not know why the report was
missing, but that it had been lost in a Michigan snow storm when it was first
mailed. The report was due at the commission by the end of January.
Another group that wants to legalize gambling, the Coalition for Economic
Diversity, reported spending $9,832 lobbying during the previous period and said
it spent less than $10,000 in January and February.
The group is backed by Sun International Hotels Ltd., which wants to build a $1
billion resort and casino atKo Olina in Leeward O’ahu.
Hawaiian Airlines reported spending $8,300 on lobbying during January and
February. Hawaiian, which sought to merge with rival Aloha Airlines, had reported
spending more than $140,000 on lobbying during the previous period.
But Hawaiian later said it had mistakenly inflated that figure by including payments
for work other than lobbying. In an amended report, Hawaiian said it really spent
only $8,250 on lobbying during the May-December period.
The company had initially reported paying more than $83,000 to lobbyist Lyn
Anzai, wife of state Attorney General Earl Anzai, whose office was investigating
whether the merger would be legal.
The amended report reflects no lobbyist payments between May and December to
Lyn Anzai, who is also Hawaiian’s general counsel. The report for January and
February said Anzai was paid $2,043 for lobbying during that period….
How OHA, Hawaiian Homelands, and Kamehameha School/Bishop Estate
Make Rich Hawaiians Even Richer at Everyone Else’s Expense
by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
This web-page was started in December, 2001 after a new version of theNative
Hawaiian Recognition Billwas introduced in Congress: S.1783. The new bill
contained a curious section that was never a part of earlier versions of the bill.
This Section 9, entitled “Ethics,” is an explicit waiver of the federal law that
prevents people from holding federal government positions where they or their
close relatives and family members can profit from the decisions they make.
The main supporters of the Hawaiian Recognition bill arehuge, wealthy
institutionswhose administrators and staff stand to profit enormously if the bill
is passed. Thus, it was clear why Section 9 was included in the bill. These people
are shamelessly exploiting the Hawaiian grievance industry, getting land, money,
and power for themselves by claiming to work on behalf of poor, downtrodden
Passing the bill will let them pass lots of other bills — i.e., passing the Native
Hawaiian Recognition Bill will giveland, money, and power to large institutions and
wealthy Hawaiians, allowing them to pass along to everyone else their BILL for
housing, healthcare, education, infrastructure development, and lavish
Party on! …
AN UPSCALE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT ON RACIALLY EXCLUSIONARY
HAWAIIAN HOMELANDS OVERLOOKING DOWNTOWN HONOLULU, WHERE
WEALTHY PROFESSIONALS GET FREE LAND FOR HOMES WORTH UP TO
Here is information about the upscale housing development on Hawaiian Homelands
overlooking downtown Honolulu. The development is known as “Kalawahine
The Department of Hawaiian Homelands has the slogan that it is “putting
Hawaiians back on the land.” Thus, we are led to imagine poor, downtrodden
Hawaiians geting long-term $1-per-year leases for bucolic pastoral land where they
can live in a small but decent house while doing subsistence taro farming or
aquaculture. Instead, the perennially cash-short Department of Hawaiian
Homelands has built Kalawahine Streamside, overlooking downtown Honolulu,
where wealthy professionals get free land for homes worth up to $385,000.
This excerpt is taken from The Honolulu Advertiser of Sunday, January 28, 2001 –
The $26 million Kalawahine Streamside project was developed by Kamehameha
Investment Corp., a for-profit subsidiary of Kamehameha Schools Trust, for the
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
This unique upper-middle-class neighborhood on Hawaiian homestead land has 54
multilevel duplex units and 33 three-story single-family homes. Selections were
made off the Hawaiian Home Lands waiting list, but the asking price of $174,900
to $196,100 for a duplex or $214,900 to $225,900 for a single-family unit
made it unaffordable for most.
“These are the most expensive homes ever offered to applicants, and the reason is
the topography,” project manager Elton Wong said. “The conditions were
challenging from a design and construction standpoint. But for location, it’s a good
deal. Schuler Homes sells a market product of the same size for around
$385,000.” . . .
“This is a throwback to the old Hawai‘i neighborhoods where you knew everybody
and nobody had to lock their doors,” said stockbroker Mark Hee, who moved into a
Kapahu Street duplex unit uphill from Ha‘alelea Place about a month ago. . . .
“It’s like living in a mini San Francisco because of the hills,” said Hee’s wife, Luana
Alapa-Hee, a former Miss Hawai‘i. . . .
[It is unclear from the newspaper article whether stockbroker and Morgan-Stanley-Dean-Witter senior vice president Mark Hee, referred to above, is
related to Clayton Hee, Chairman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; or to Al Hee,
who is Clayton’s brother and the Chairman of Sandwich Isles Communications Inc.
which has a sole-source $400 Million federal contract to provide fiber-optic cable
to the racially exclusionary 203,000 acres of Hawaiian Homelands throughout the
Two members of the Hawaii Senate have introduced a bill to provide a tax break to
a developer if he builds certain kinds of projects in West Oahu.
The 100 percent tax credit would apply to any development at Ko Olina that
qualifies as educational.
Developer Jeff Stone says he plans an aquarium there and also wants to build
sports facilities for theUniversity of Hawaii.
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Barbers Point-Makaha) and Sen. Sam Slom (R-Waialae
Iki-Hawaii Kai) cosponsored the bill.
Ko Olinais in Hanabusa’s district. Slom usually opposes special interest
legislation but says in this case he thinks the result could be economic
Copyright 2002 American City Business Journals Inc.
September 19, 2000
News Release: 00-102
GOVERNOR NAMES NEW CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER
Governor Ben Cayetano today announced the appointment of Charles Katsuyoshi
as Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for the State of Hawaii.
“Charles Katsuyoshi has the expertise and the desire needed to continue our
efforts to streamline and improve the procurement process in this state,”
Governor Cayetano said.
Katsuyoshi had served as head of the Purchasing Division of the City and County of
Honolulu’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services since 1994. Prior to that he
was a contracts specialist with the City’s Finance Department.
The Senate must confirm the appointment for a term that would expire on June
30, 2002. Katsuyoshi replaces Lloyd Unebasami, who resigned May 31, 2000, to
become the Chief Administrative Officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
* * *
August 28, 2001
State, Lockheed close to traffic camera deal
By Scott Ishikawa, Advertiser Transportation Writer
The state is moving ahead with plans to install traffic cameras to catch drivers
who run red lights and speed, despite a protest filed by a competing bidder.
State Department of Transportation officials plan to finalize the contract with
company Lockheed Martin IMS within the next two weeks and want the traffic
cameras in place as early as November, according to department spokeswoman
The competing bidder, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., filed a protest in July,
claiming the state reversed its December 2000 decision to award the contract to
Redflex without providing an explanation….
Lockheed had filed its own protest over the state’s initial selection of Redflex.
The state did the process over and Lockheed won the second time, prompting
Redflex to file the latest protest.
Charles Katsuyoshi, administrator of the state procurement office, gave the
Department of Transportation permission earlier this month to move ahead with
the Lockheed contract despite the Redflex protest.
Asked about the state’s decision to go with Lockheed after previously selecting
Redflex, Kali said: “The department felt Lockheed’s proposal was most favorable
to the state.” . . .
Redflex’s attorney, Lawrence Reifurth, said he is concerned the state is moving
ahead in spite of the protest, which is being reviewed by the attorney general’s
“The state right now is pushing this camera project through by claiming that time
is the essence,” Reifurth said. “But it took the state nearly three years to put this
project out to bid and the delay caused by Lockheed’s protest was several
Lockheed’s traffic cameras have been under the microscope in the San Diego
courts system this summer. A San Diego judge earlier this month upheld the use
of Lockheed cameras used to catch red-light runners, but ruled that the evidence
collected by the devices is unreliable and should not be admitted as evidence
against motorists. . . .
The judge scheduled an Aug. 31 hearing on whether the evidence against 398
motorists should be dismissed. . . .
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