Archegos -Theranos - Honolulu Rail: The Price of Lying
by Panos Prevedouros PhD, FixOahu!, April 29, 2022
What do these three multi billion dollar failures have in common?
The repeated intentional lying about the workings and costs of each project.
The March 2021 implosion of the hedge fund-like Archegos was one for the ages, eventually costing banks like Morgan Stanley, Nomura and Credit Suisse billions of dollars.
Archegos' responses to questions were often "deceptive, false and misleading.”
It's interesting to see the banks portrayed as the victims in the saga, especially since several of them saw red flags around Archegos that made them nervous — but they stuck with him all the way down.
By 2015, Forbes had named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America on the basis of a $9-billion valuation of her company. The credibility of Theranos was attributed in part to Holmes's personal connections and ability to recruit the support of influential people, including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Jim Mattis, and Betsy DeVos, all of whom had served or would go on to serve as U.S. presidential cabinet officials.
The decline of Theranos began in 2015, when a series of journalistic and regulatory investigations revealed doubts about the company's technology claims and whether Holmes had misled investors and the government. In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Theranos and Holmes with deceiving investors by "massive fraud" through false or exaggerated claims about the accuracy of the company's blood-testing technology.
The project started by Mayor Mufi Hannemann as a 34 mile, $3 billion proposal in 2006 and settled into a 20 mile, $4.6 billion elevated steel-on-steel “light rail” in 2008, to be completed in 2019. At the present time, Honolulu Rail is an incomplete, underfunded 18-20 mile construction project with a year 2031 projected completion at a cost of well over $11 billion.
The project is under investigation by the US Department of Justice. There have been several allegations and instances of fraud and gross errors; two samples from 2016 and 2019:
Change.org petition: Investigate the political corruption, fraud, and abuse involving the Honolulu Rail project.
Suggesting that fraud may be the cause of cost overruns, City Council newcomer Heidi Tsuneyoshi is demanding a forensic audit of contracts tied to a plan to build a transit system for Honolulu. (A forensic audit was never approved by public officials.)
Similar to the multi-year lying and defrauding at Archegos and Theranos, the fraud (i.e., the irresponsible wasting of billions of taxpayer dollars) at Honolulu Rail continues unabated:
“Inside the ‘frantic’ push to shorten rail and keep its federal funding -- Project officials stress that they’re still fully committed to getting rail to Ala Moana, but it’s still not clear financially how that would happen. Rail leaders are presenting a ‘truncated project scope’ to the Federal Transit Administration in order to secure rail’s remaining federal dollars. Project officials stress that they’re still fully committed to getting rail to Ala Moana, but it’s still not clear financially how that would happen.” (Honolulu Civil Beat, April 28, 2022)