Monday, September 21, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, September 11, 2020
Hawaii Crime Boss Busted for Racketeering, Murder; Infiltrated Teamster Local
By Selected News Articles @ 8:20 PM :: 1728 Views :: Ethics, Labor, Law Enforcement

Hawaii Crime Boss Busted for Racketeering, Murder; Infiltrated Teamster Local

by Carl Horowitz, NLPC, September 11, 2020

Organized crime has been a dominant if often hidden reality in Hawaii for decades. But at least for now one of its most violent sociopaths is out of commission. On July 15, Michael Miske Jr., was arrested at his oceanfront home in Kailua, Oahu Island and charged in Honolulu federal court, along with 10 other men, with numerous criminal charges including murder, racketeering, kidnapping, arson, robbery and money-laundering. Significantly, his empire involved, if perhaps inadvertantly, a Teamsters local. Prosecutors termed Miske “the unquestioned leader of a racketeering enterprise” which “routinely committed violent crimes and assaults, and used threats and intimidation to protect (its) illegal activities.” He pleaded not guilty to all charges. A month later, on August 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield ordered Miske held without bail, terming him a flight risk and a threat to the community.

Welcome to the “other” Hawaii. Behind the beautiful beaches, lush forests, luxury hotels and chic nightclubs lies a long trail of crime family economic turf wars. Explosive economic growth, see-no-evil local police, incursions by the Japanese yakuza, and an antiquated tribal system of property rights, among other factors, have contributed to a subculture of violent anarchy that the hit TV shows Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. only hinted at. Longtime Honolulu investigative reporter James Dooley, in his 2015 book, Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers, and Corruption in the Aloha State (University of Hawaii Press), amply displays a rogues’ gallery that could give La Cosa Nostra a run for its money. Heavies include: Ronald Ching, who had a penchant for burying the bodies of people he’d murdered (including a state senator and the son of a prosecuting attorney) under beach sand dunes; Alvin Kaohu, who ordered the murder of a rival organized crime figure for switching family allegiances; and Henry Huihui, who ran gambling and extortion rackets on Oahu and The Big Island, and along the way committed a murder and ordered another.

Michael Miske Jr., now 46, fits in well with such company. Under the cover of legitimate businesses often bearing the Kamaaina brand name, he started a successful criminal empire in the late-90s that came to be known as the “Miske Enterprise.” According to the 42-page indictment, Miske and his partners waged acts of violence against “rivals, competitors and innocent members of the community over a period spanning years, if not decades.” Specifically, he “directed and facilitated numerous assaults, kidnapping, extortion, the use of firearms, attempted murder and murder for hire.” Thus far, the explosive-tempered Miske has amassed at least six felony convictions.

Here are a few examples of Hawaiian hospitality, Michael Miske-style. At his Kamaania Termite & Pest Control, if customers complained about bad service (a frequent occurrence) Miske or his associates routinely terrorized such customers out of reporting their problem; he also allegedly used the company as a base for money laundering. In January 2013, two days before the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Miske was charged with assault for smashing a champagne bottle over the head of Washington Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams in Miske’s M Nightclub, rendering Williams unable to play. And in a particularly vile act, Miske allegedly ordered the July 2016 abduction and murder of a young man, Jonathan Fraser, who accidentally had killed Miske’s son the previous year in a two-car crash. Miske, convinced this was no accident, methodically exacted his revenge against Fraser, whose body was never found and who according to authorities likely was not the driver.  

Especially noteworthy is Miske’s involvement with unions, particularly International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 996, which represents drivers hired to do movie and television scenes. The local, along with Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5, long had operated under a nonprofit Honolulu-based hardball outfit called Unity House. This was a project launched nearly 70 years ago by the late Hawaii labor boss Art Rutledge. While Rutledge, an Old School enforcer, himself might not have been corrupt, he complained that mobsters under the command of Alema Leota, an associate of Hawaii crime godfather Nappy Pulawa, were muscling their way into Unity House. As Union Corruption Update noted in 2006, son Tony Rutledge and grandson Aaron Rutledge carried on the fiefdom for a while until their indictment in 2003 for embezzlement and tax fraud; they would plead guilty in 2006. Unity House continued to operate, albeit in worsening financial straits, until it closed shop in 2019.

Michael Miske very likely took a cut from Teamsters Local 996’s Movie Unit, which during the Rutledge era was notorious for padding TV and movie sets with excessive numbers of drivers, driving up production costs. Tom Selleck, star and co-producer of the original Magnum P.I. series, complained that he had to hire twice as many drivers in Hawaii as in Los Angeles to do the same type of scene. “Unions here (in Hawaii) practically insist on placing whoever they want on the payroll,” he said. “I’m a union member and I believe in seniority, but I also believe in hiring on the basis of ability.” The Miske crew, say prosecutors, was very close to the union. Michael Miske himself was a Local 996 member, often driving actors and equipment to sets. His favorite hit man, the above-mentioned Ronald Ching, also drove vehicles for union projects. So did mobsters John Stancil (a co-defendant and also Miske’s half-brother) and Harry Kauhi. Were union leaders aware of who they were hiring? And if so, did they participate in any of their crimes? In a recent blog, James Dooley tried to get a few answers, but the union provided no responses. But with several unindicted co-conspirators reportedly about to receive Justice Department target letters, answers may be forthcoming.

Michael Miske Jr. is a rich man. In a review of financial transactions during 2010-17, the “no bail” memo concluded that he spent more than $15.8 million on major items, including “luxury vehicles valued at over $100,000 as well as luxury watches, jewelry and art valued at over $200,000.” He’s using some leftover money to pay for his high-powered attorney, Thomas Otake. “Despite the feds trying to paint Mr. Miske out to be public enemy number one in their unsubstantiated filing,” stated Otake, “it is indisputable that he has successful businesses in Honolulu for many years, and provided employment to countless individuals in our community.” This sort of bluster isn’t evidence of innocence. Since when does providing jobs absolve someone of a crime? And what exactly is “unsubstantiated” about the indictment, which lists 11 defendants (several of whom are cooperating witnesses) and is based on a wide range of grand jury testimony, cell phone recordings, search warrant seizures, wiretaps and electronic surveillance? U.S. Attorney Kenji Price calls Miske “a grave danger to the community.” A lot of people, including members of Teamsters Local 996, would agree.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT