by Andrew Walden
A criminal may be cutting off 911 service for some Hawaii telephone lines according to US Bankruptcy Court documents filed by attorneys for Hawaiian Telcom, Saturday, October 2, 2021.
According to documents filed October 2, 2021, in US Bankruptcy Court, Hawaiian Tel has attempted to negotiate a contract with Sandwich Isles Communications, owned by federal felon and ex-con Al Hee, which would have allowed SIC to continue to use the former Paniolo inter-island phone and data cables lost by Hee in bankruptcy proceedings.
Instead of negotiating, Hee sent a letter, September 11, 2021, to Hawaiian Homes beneficiaries claiming Hawaiian Tel was threatening to cut off service and urging Hawaiian Homes Commissioners to deny Hawaiian Tel personnel ‘Right of Entry’ to the Paniolo facilities Hawaiian Tel bought out of bankruptcy. Hee then appeared at the September 20, 2021, Hawaiian Homes Commission meeting (at 2:54 mark) to lobby unsuccessfully for Hawaiian Tel to be blocked.
Akamai readers will recognize this as the type of ‘Dead Hand Maneuver’ described by the Bankruptcy Trustee in an August 16, 2021 Status Report.
Hawaiian Telcom attorneys October 2, 2021, explain:
Prior to and after the Closing, however, Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc. with its principals and related parties and entities…have continually implemented a campaign of obstruction, frustration, and delay…. (pg5)
… the SIC Parties did not provide the requested information or seriously engage in any negotiations pertaining to new commercial arrangements. To the contrary, in apparent violation of its obligations under the Sale Order, the SIC Parties actively frustrated cooperation requests, sought to undercut HTI’s discussions with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and lobbied government agencies to oppose HTI’s ownership and use of the Paniolo Network…. (pg8)
How could this affect 911 service?
…(there is) concern regarding SIC end-users who provide critical services (the “Critical Services”) in the Hawaiian Islands, including but not limited to first responder organizations, police, sheriff’s department, correctional facilities, fire, emergency services, hospitals, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, Harbors Division, correctional facilities, educational institutions (K-12 and universities) and governmental agencies (hereafter, the “Critical Services Users”). The SIC Parties must promptly identify Critical Services Users so that the impact of the SIC Parties’ failures on these Critical Services and Critical Services Users can be mitigated as much as possible…. (pg 9)
Why would Hee refuse to cut a deal necessary to the survival of his remnant Sandwich Isles (SIC) holdings? Maybe because he doesn’t expect to keep them much longer. As explained:
Not only did the SIC Parties default in their payment obligations to the Trustee under their former usage arrangements, but the SIC Parties are seriously delinquent in unrelated trade payments to HTI (over $1 million dollars) for use of the existing HTI network.
As this Court is also aware, certain of the SIC Parties are also the subject of litigation brought by the United States, through its agency, the Rural Utilities Service, alleging breach of contract, foreclosure and other related claims relating to the SIC Parties’ loan agreements. See United States of America v. Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc., et al., Civ. No. 1:18-cv-001145-JMS RT (USDC Hawaii).
The SIC Parties are also subject of a forfeiture order before the Federal Communications Commission, which found that certain of the SIC Parties are jointly and severally liable for proposed fines and penalties that exceed $49.5 million, relating to amounts certain of the SIC Parties improperly claimed and collected, and in some cases personally diverted, under various federal grant programs designed to support the Hawaiian Home Lands. See In the Matter of Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc., Waimana Enterprises, Inc, Albert N. S. Hee, EB-IHD-00019603.
Needless to say, SIC has not paid the invoice for services provided to them on the Paniolo Network after the Sale. (pg7)
PDF: Hawaiian Tel Motion to Enforce
Aug, 2021: Trustee: Criminal Al Hee Rakes in $15M While on Parole
Sept 2020: FCC Fines Al Hee $49M for Fraud