Honolulu Tax Evader a Big Deal in Guam, Micronesia
Criminal Al Hee’s Scam Company May be Forced into Bankruptcy
SA: …Creditors of a business called Paniolo Cable Co. that is owned by the adult children of imprisoned telecommunications entrepreneur Albert Hee are trying to force the cable company into bankruptcy.
A federal bankruptcy court filing in Honolulu last week by HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. alleges Paniolo Cable owes more than $199 million on notes held by HSBC. The filing by HSBC, Deutsche Bank and a third company seeks to push Paniolo into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would provide the company a chance to reorganize.
Deutsche Bank financed construction of the Paniolo fiber-optic cable network, which consists of about 358 miles of undersea and overland cable linking Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii island….
Sandwich Isles Communications Inc., which was founded by Hee, has a 20-year lease agreement to use the Paniolo cable system to provide telecommunications services to about 3,600 customers on Hawaiian homelands across the state.
Hee is serving a federal prison term for tax fraud, and his companies face an array of problems, including a foreclosure action filed by the U.S. Department of Justice this year to try to recover $130 million Sandwich Isles allegedly owes the federal government after defaulting on U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.
Sandwich Isles has claimed it is not affiliated with Paniolo, but according to Federal Communication Commission records, Paniolo is indirectly owned by Hee’s children, Adrianne, Breanne and Charlton Hee….
The politically connected Sandwich Isles had borrowed more than $166.7 million from the USDA to help finance its fiber-optic telecommunications network across the Hawaiian Islands, but has not made the required $1 million-per-month payments on the loans in more than five years, according to federal court records.
Hawaii political leaders including the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye supported Sandwich Isles’ efforts to obtain USDA loans, and Inouye intervened on behalf of Sandwich Isles repeatedly to urge USDA to loan more money to the company. Inouye also pressed the Federal Communications Commission to provide telecommunications subsidies to support the company.
Over the years Sandwich Isles received more than $249 million in subsidies from the federal Universal Service Fund to support telecommunications services on Hawaiian homelands, but the FCC cut off most USF subsidies to the company in 2015. The USF is financed through fees collected from telecommunications customers across the country.
In late 2016 the FCC ordered Sandwich Isles to repay more than $27 million of the federal USF money it received, and also proposed another $49 million in fines for Sandwich Isles, its parent company Waimana Enterprises Inc. and Albert Hee for alleged violations of FCC rules….
Flashback: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off
read … Creditors Sandwich
Key to DPP Change: Fewer HGEA Members Making Excuses
SA: …What’s largely needed is a change in culture and attitude, said Dennis Hanberg, planning and public works director for Pierce County, Washington’s second-largest county, which includes Tacoma…..
The Honolulu City Council, in response to complaints about the length of time it takes to get a building permit, this month approved Bill 64, requiring DPP to process building permits for one- and two-family dwellings within 60 days, a measure opposed by DPP officials.
Through a readjustment in staffing in Pierce County, first-time residential building permit reviews have dropped to about 15 days, down from about 35 days a year ago and about 60 days when he first began, Hanberg said.
In 2015 Pierce County won the Exemplary System Government Award from the Urban and Regional Infor- mation Systems Association.
Meanwhile his agency has been doing more volume despite a smaller staff that’s gone from 168 in 2007 down to 120. About 85 of those “are working in some form of permitting,” he said. The enforcement staff, however, has gone up. “Our (County) Council has made that a huge priority,” Hanberg told builders and planners at the Building Industry Association of Hawaii annual housing summit last week….
Another was to shift the priority form of communicating with applicants to email rather than phone calls, he said. “We only handle half the phone calls we did when we started,” he said. Meanwhile, due to a paperless permitting process, physical visits to the agency are down 55 percent. “What we focused on is emails first, phone calls second and person-to-person third,” he said. “Not that we don’t want you in our lobby, but we think that’s the most efficient way we can do it.”
Because so much of the application and review processes are done electronically, there are actually fewer employees than when the department overhaul began, Hanberg said.
PALS also eliminated its fax line….
read … Head of award-winning permitting agency says DPP can change, too
Ex-prison guard charged in three inmates’ assaults
SA: …An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging Brent Baumann with eight counts of sexual assault between March and December 2015.
Four of the charges are class B felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The other four are class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. The state may seek extended sentencing, which doubles the maximum terms, if he is found guilty of more than one charge….
The state Department of Public Safety said it employed Baumann from February 2014 to March 2017 and that he was a corrections officer at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua.
Two of the women are still incarcerated at WCCC. The third is on parole….
read … Ex-prison guard charged in three inmates’ assaults