Why is the Hawaii Attorney General too busy to prosecute charter school corruption?
Hawaii 3rd Most Dangerous for Older Pedestrians
Kahele: I am a F****** Tiger on Tulsi's Tail
Council Passes Both Anti-TVR Bills
HNN: … After months of debate, the Honolulu City Council on Monday night passed a pair of bills that are considered some of the toughest new regulations for Oahu’s vacation rental industry in decades.
In a vote that took place just after 6 p.m., members of the council approved Bill 89 unanimously
The new law will allow the permitting for up to 1,715 owner-occupied bed-and-breakfast rentals.
Currently, there are 816 legal legal short-term rentals licensed on Oahu, but the estimates there are 6,000 to 8,000 illegal vacation rentals.
The second measure, which passed by a 7-2 margin, settled on fines of $1,000 for the first offense and up to $10,000 for repeated violations and bans all vacation rentals outside of resort areas.
The measure also imposes higher fines for those discovered to be running illegal units, and provides new enforcement tools to the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting.
In testimony just prior to the vote, Mayor Kirk Caldwell told council members that while the bills weren’t perfect, they’ll begin to address the problem….
read … City Council approves pair of tough new regulations for vacation rental industry
Kauai protestors block visitors from entering Kuhio Highway into Ha‘ena
SA: …Kauai north shore residents formed a human chain this morning at Waipa, stopping tourists from entering the stretch of Kuhio Highway that forms the gateway to Ha‘ena State Park and other popular community natural resources and popular attractions.
Protesters said they let construction workers and residents through the highway but turned away about 50 tourists just after 5 a.m. Kauai police arrived on the scene before 7 a.m. and forced the 20 or so protesters to reopen the road. However, protesters said they are still gathered there to send a message to the state and tourists that the region is not ready to receive visitors. So far, no one has been arrested.
Residents had gotten used to a nearly tourism-free existence since an April 14-15, 2018, storm produced massive flooding…
read … Kauai protestors block visitors from entering Kuhio Highway into Ha‘ena
Debunking Keanu Sai’s Response to Office of Consumer Protection
ILind: …Here’s the headline on a press release posted on the “Hawaiian Kingdom Blog,” which describes itself as “Weblog of the acting government of the Hawaiian Kingdom presently operating within the occupied State of the Hawaiian Islands:” Press Release: Dr. Keanu Sai Being a Subject of Ad Hominem Attack by KGMB Unconfirmed “Fake News” Report
The press release was issued in response to a Hawaii News Now story broadcast on June 10: “State alleges Hawaiian scholar with a troubled past bilked distressed homeowners.”
The Kingdom does not deny the important parts of the story, including that the Office of Consumer Protection believes there were numerous violations of Hawaii’s Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act, a criminal referral was made by OCP regarding this allegedly illegal mortgage rescue scheme, and that violations of the Hawaii’s Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act are punishable as Class C felonies.
Instead, the press release makes several arguments.
First: The Office of Consumer Protection “…falsely represented to the Court that Dr. Sai and the family had no written contract.”
Second: “The contract did not involve any foreclosure or mortgage issue.”
Third: The proceedings in which the Office of Consumer Protection allegations were made was dismissed by Judge Jeffrey, so “Case over!”
Now I’ll evaluate their arguments.
First, the Office of Consumer Protection did not say that Keanu Sai did not have a contract with the family facing foreclosure. It clearly and repeatedly stated that Sai’s contract did not comply with the requirements of the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act in important respects, including demanding a fee in advance of services, failing to spell out exactly what services would be rendered, failing to disclose the actual costs, and failing to disclose that the no foreclosure case has ever been stopped as a result of Sai’s jurisdictional argument.
OCP spelled out the various alleged violations of law by Sai and others involved (see pages 5-7 of this OCP memo citing specific provisions of law it believes were violated).
Second, the contract certainly did involve a foreclosure matter. The contract states: “The purpose of this agreement is to procure the services of the consultant in relation to the client’s property at 91-330 Ewa Beach Road, Ewa Beach, HI 96706.”
Further, the court record includes the sworn declarations of the homeowners, who describe how they were told that their home could be saved from foreclosure using Sai’s arguments about Hawaiian sovereignty and what they were told is the lack of jurisdiction of Hawaii courts over these land issues.
And, third, the dismissal of the foreclosure proceedings is certainly not the end of the allegations brought by the Office of Consumer Protection. As mentioned earlier, the press release does not deny that OCP disclosed it had referred the matter for criminal investigation. The referral was necessary because OCP is a civil agency that is not empowered to pursue criminal charges. But when it finds what it believes are criminal violations, it can refer those to the proper authorities.
In this case, OCP said it believes both federal and state laws were being violated.
Oh, and dismissing this as an “Ad Hominem Attack” would be funny if it weren’t so misleading….
PDF: Case Documents from Keanu Sai Fraud vs Fonoti
VIDEO: Maui County Council Members Respond to Dr. Keanu Sai Presentation June 5th 2019
read … Claims of “fake news” miss the mark in mortgage relief fraud allegations
Defense Attorneys take floor in Kealoha ‘mailbox trial’
HNN: … The attorneys for Louis Kealoha and Bobby Nguyen rested without their clients taking the stand.
Kagiwada then started presenting her case.
She called Gerard Puana back to the stand. The alleged victim in a bizarre exchange over an email.
The email, which Kagiwada claimed was between Puana and her client appeared to be about bail money from 2011, over an insurance issue, but the government objected saying they question the authenticity of the email.
Puana, on the stand, testified that he didn’t remember ever seeing it before.
Kagiwada will continue Tuesday morning but would not indicate if her client, the main defendant, will take the stand.
Derek Hahn’s attorney is expected to present his case Wednesday. Birney Bervar also told the court, his client does not expect to testify.
Gordon Shiraishi’s attorney has not said either way if Shiraishi will take the stand when he takes the floor….
read … Trial Resumes
How Much Does Hawaii Really Spend On Education?
CB: However, the DOE’s “financial records” will not answer the questions of how much is spent on public education or how much is spent at each school.
… With respect to “how much is spent on public education”:
1) On the one hand, the commonly cited figure of $1.9 billion of general funds that are appropriated to the DOE omits some state general fund expenditures that, if properly allocated to the DOE, would bring the general fund expenditures on public education closer to $3 billion. Just two examples are:
a) Fringe benefits allocable to the DOE that are budgeted in the Department of Budget and Finance. The fringe cost (employer’s share of Social Security taxes, medical insurance, future pension payments, etc.) for regular full-time employees is approximately 60% of salaries.
b) Debt service on general obligation bonds, the proceeds of which were spent of DOE facilities. Debt service on G.O. bonds is budgeted in B&F. It is appropriately a cost of public education.
2) On the other hand, if the entire 60% of salary fringe costs were allocated to the DOE, it would overstate the current cost of public education. A portion of the 60% is the current cost of catch-up on past underfunding of post-retirement public worker costs. This cost is not a current fringe benefit cost of current employees. It is a cost that should have been incurred in prior years….
read … How Much Does Hawaii Really Spend On Education?
In battle over iwi kupuna, Maui judge invalidates license for archaeology firm
HNN: … A Maui judge has invalidated the license for a company accused of desecrating ancient burials in Wailuku’s sand dunes.
In the Central Maui sand dunes of Wailuku, Hawaiian practitioners and descendants with Malama Kakanilua say more than 200 iwi kupuna have been disturbed at the 1,000 acre Maui Lani housing development….
“Our only interest is not monetary. It’s to protect not only our kupuna and the place that they rest, but these historical areas,” said Kaniloa Kamaunu, of Malama Kakanilua.
The group wanted the State Historic Preservation Division to hold a contested case hearing over the permit renewal of Maui Lani’s archaeological company, Archaeological Services Hawaii.
But the state declined that request because the plaintiffs have no property interest in the case.
On Friday, however, Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza ordered SHPD to hold a contested case hearing — invalidating Archaeological Services Hawaii’s license for now….
read … In battle over iwi kupuna, Maui judge invalidates license for archeology firm
Palolo Valley Basin Might Be Cut From Ala Wai Flood Project
CB: … U.S. Army Corps officials say the move might avoid condemning four private parcels for the flood-control measures. …
Related: Ala Wai? Corps of Engineers has Long History of Corruption and Cost Overruns
read … Palolo Valley Basin Might Be Cut From Ala Wai Flood Project