Lawsuit: Catholic Charities Approved Foster Care Home with Schizophrenic Child Molester
NASA: Chinese Satellite Behind Green Lasers over Mauna Kea
Bribery News: Ex-Mayor Arakawa Asks Judge to go easy on Stant
SA Editorial: … Stant, 55, was convicted in what law officials called the largest known federal bribery case in Hawaii’s history — pocketing more than $2 million in bribes in exchange for steering at least 56 government contracts to a Honolulu wastewater company.
On Wednesday, Stant was sentenced to 10 years in prison and to pay $1.9 million in restitution — the right message-sending punishment imposed by U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson….
Between 2012 and 2018 Stant greedily accepted money that bought the influence and power entrusted to him by taxpayers. His payoffs from H20 Process Systems owner Milton J. Choy (who also factored into the corruption convictions of former legislators J. Kalani English and Ty Cullen) included: $424,987 to a travel company to cover Stant’s trips, plus $187,000 for dining, $60,000 for hostess bars and $54,000 for luxury hotel stays.
And still, despite all that, Stant’s prominent friends came to his aid, adding a galling epilogue to this sordid tale of corruption….
Nearly 50 people, some well known in the community, wrote pre-sentencing letters to the court supporting Stant, in hopes of a lighter sentence. Among them, former Mayor Alan Arakawa, who had appointed Stant in late 2015 to head Maui’s Environmental Management agency. (Editor’s Note: Also former councilman Don Couch and former Judge Boyd P Mossman.)
In his letter, Arakawa called Stant a hard-working and intelligent county employee who was an Eagle Scout and a “dedicated son and father.” Further, wrote Arakawa, who said he’s known Stant for nearly 30 years, “I trusted him enough to loan him several thousand dollars so he could set up these various enterprises. He always repaid me.”…
(IQ Test: Do you understand Arakawa's self-presevation motive here?)
read … Stopping public corruption
Alleged Crime Boss Mike Miske Just Lost One Of His Longtime Defense Attorneys
CB: … In a court order signed Thursday afternoon, Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield ruled Otake’s prior representation of two other clients in criminal proceedings “related to” the charges pending against Miske creates a legal conflict of interest. Prosecutors say both prior clients will be called as witnesses in the trial of Miske and six remaining co-defendants, creating a conflict requiring Otake’s removal from the case….
The government identified Otake’s two prior clients only as Client 1 and Client 2.
Prosecutors say Client 1 assisted several others who have pleaded guilty to being part of a drug trafficking conspiracy and who are also expected to be witnesses at Miske’s trial.
“Among other things, Client 1 assisted with packaging drugs for distribution and with transporting T.T. to drug deals. For example, Client 1 is expected to testify that J.S. and T.T. arranged to smuggle drugs into a correctional facility housing defendant Dae Han Moon,” the government said in a supplemental memo in support of its motion.
In addition, according to the government, “Mr. Otake and his co-counsel … should have been aware that Client 2 was substantially linked to Miske’s criminal activities.”
Client 2 was allegedly given one of five stevedore union positions that Miske reportedly purchased. He was favored, in part, “because Client 2 ‘does some of Miske’s dirty work,’” according to the supplementary memo.
Another government report, described in the supplementary memo, was turned over to defense counsel last year. It indicated Client 2 “committed criminal acts on Miske’s behalf, such as violent assaults.” Another separate report described Client 2 as “a fighter” who “collected debts for Miske.” Miske allegedly arranged for Client 2 to be placed in a union job “as a reward for (his) services.”…
The legal drama continued Friday morning when federal Judge Derrick Watson presided over a hearing on two motions, the first to disqualify both Otake and his co-counsel, Lynn Panagakos, as a result of a different set of conflicts, and a second to split off two counts of obstruction of justice against Miske to a separate trial, suggested as a means of avoiding their removal from the case altogether….
Watson recessed Friday’s hearing shortly before noon, without providing notice as to when or if it will be reconvened. The judge did not disclose any inclination as to how he might rule on the motions. Court minutes issued later Friday only said that motions were taken under advisement and an order will be issued later….
Watson also suggested attorneys review their summer vacation plans, as well as weekend schedules, “because we are going to trial in September.”
“Buckle up,” Watson advised, “and get ready.”….
2021: ODC Complaint: Megan Kau Worked for Miske and Cop Who Arrested Him --“The one time I met with him, he was with his attorneys Thomas Otake and Lynn Panagakos”
PDF: Mansfield order on Otake conflicts
read … Alleged Crime Boss Mike Miske Just Lost One Of His Longtime Defense Attorneys
DHHL News: Will Senate reject Union-Owned Ikaika Anderson?
HNN: … Ikaika Anderson will be the first Green appointee to face a confirmation hearing — at 1 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
As chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, there’s a lot of pressure on Anderson to come up with a plan to spend $600 million quickly on new housing.
But his performance so far has led to doubts about his ability to do that.
For example, he was criticized by Home Lands commissioners for his responses to tough questions seeking specifics from the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s about the spending plan.
After one meeting, Commissioner Randy Awo said Anderson’s presentation “was laced with confusion and in this historical moment of financial opportunity we cannot act with confusion.”
Senate Hawaiian Affairs Chair Maile Shimabukuro explained why she scheduled the hearing so quickly.
“With much on the line, and so much at stake, we want to make a fast decision about who’s going to head DHHL so that we can get working on the plan, get it implemented,” she said….
The hearing is scheduled for four hours Tuesday….
A decision by the full Senate could come before the end of next week….
read … After a rocky start, nominee for DHHL chair will soon learn if he’ll be able to keep his job
SB1602: Hawaii Bill to Intimidate Activists is Killed
IM: … The Hawai‘i Attorney General (AG) issued a subpoena to First Hawaiian Bank seeking to identify Kahea members.
The Attorney General wondered whether the Aloha ʻĀina Support Fund had an illegal purpose that made it ineligible for an income taxation exemption under federal law.
KAHEA contented that the subpoena was retaliatory.
The Hawaii Supreme Court wrote its decision in 2021….
Senator Lynn DeCoite wrote SB1602 this year to get at similar information in a different way….
The bill would require that all media submit their income tax return and a financial disclosure statement to the Attorney General each year. The Attorney General will then post the financial disclosure statements on its website.
The financial disclosure statements would list the source of all non-advertising income and list each donor and the amount of the donation.
The term media was broadly defined.
"Media means any news gathering or reporting agency, including newspapers, radio, television stations or networks, internet-based organizations, news services, magazines, trade papers, in-house publications, professional journals, or other news reporting or news gathering agencies whose function it is to inform the public or some segment thereof."
The broad brush of the law would cover informal and formal groups who sent emails to their members regarding upcoming issues.
The Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists submitted testimony in opposition to the bill.
read … Hawaii Bill to Intimidate Activists is Killed
Liquor Commission Implodes After Gay Bar Complains
HNN: … The Honolulu Liquor Commission now has an outside compliance expert to help reshape the embattled agency.
Hui Chen is a salaried city employee, but will spend the next few months reviewing the commission’s practices after multiple complaints — and a lawsuit alleging wrongdoing….
“We’ve asked for this person over a year and a half ago to come in and start looking at these issues,” said Robbie Baldwin, owner of Scarlet Honolulu.
The gay bar is suing the commission, citing discrimination and retaliation by the agency investigators.
There’s also a new claim — of witness tampering — which stems from a temporary restraining order a commission investigator filed against a witness in the case.
The witness has been requesting public records to post online in a blog and on a social media site….
The agency recently lost its chair, chief inspector and top administrator….
Related: DPP Scandal Spreads to Liquor Commission?
read … Compliance expert charged with shepherding reform at embattled liquor commission
State to pay out $450K to man who alleged DOE officer sexually assaulted him in 1970s
HNN: … The state has agreed to pay $450,000 to a man who says he was sexually assaulted by a campus security officer at Highlands Intermediate School in the 1970s.
The victim, now in his 50s, alleged that the Pearl City school’s former campus police officer Joseph Moisa sexually assaulted him in 1977 at the school’s security office, in a storage room and at a school event.
He’s one of five former Highlands students who have come forward with allegations that Moisa molested them.
“He was intimidating. He would physically abuse them through punching,” said attorney Mark Gallagher, who represents the victim.
“There’s been testimony of a survivor that said that Moisa would bring him into the office and bang his head against the wall while he was disciplining him for misbehavior — and then proceed to sexually assault him.”…
Moisa left the school in the late 1970s and moved to the mainland, where he died….
Gallagher said there are still more victims out there who haven’t come forward yet….
read … State to pay out $450K to man who alleged DOE officer sexually assaulted him in 1970s
Illegal gun range in Waianae highlights lack of shooting ranges on Oahu
KITV: …The illegal range is located in the 87-400 block of Hakimo Road. Area Councilmember Andria Tupola says she first learned of the problem when neighbors contacted her on Feb. 1.
"The community was very angry because the sound of the gunshots was for a long duration. They've been operating this from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This was not just one or two shots. It was rapid fire or consistent shooting," Tupola said, adding the Honolulu Police Department District 8 Major was already aware of the situation and had sent officers to investigate.
"Officers went to the address two weeks ago after receiving calls from nearby residents. After speaking with a male on the property, HPD contacted state and city agencies for follow-up investigation. We have not received complaints since that time," confirms HPD….
SA: The city Department of Planning and Permitting has told a Waianae area property owner to shut down an illegal gun range or face up to a $1,000 a day in fines.
HNN: Following complaints, city shuts down gun range operating illegally
read … Illegal gun range in Waianae highlights lack of shooting ranges on Oahu