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Tuesday, June 20, 2023
June 20, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:41 PM :: 1945 Views

Neighborhood Commission Office Holds Revote in Hawaii Kai Subdistrict 11

Honolulu Credit Card Debt Soars

Hawaii most expensive state to live in 

Honolulu: Where High Earners Lose 2nd Most To Taxes and Cost of Living

Only Three Oppose: Honolulu City Council members’ 64% pay increase to begin July 1

SA: … City Council member Augie Tulba says his effort to discuss and possibly thwart the more than 64% pay hike going to the Council on July 1 has failed.

On Monday, Tulba said his hoped-for special Council meeting on Friday — the last day to potentially reject the pay raises before they start — missed the city’s six-day public-notice requirement for such a meeting.

It had to be posted by June 16.

And on top of that, obtaining five Council members’ signatures — or a majority of the nine-member Council needed to formally set that meeting — also did not materialize.

“I only got three,” Tulba said.

Council members Radiant Cordero, Andria Tupola and Tulba himself comprise the three. A fourth, Council member Matt Weyer, who previously professed public opposition to these Council raises, did not sign, he added.

“That’s it,” Tulba said. “Because we couldn’t make that six-day public notice, the raise goes into effect July 1.”…. 

read … Honolulu City Council members’ 64% pay increase to begin July 1

Rigging The System: Navatek Suits Offer Inside View Of Pay-To-Play Politics

CB: … The U.S. Justice Department has accused Kao of using straw donors and a shell company to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal political contributions to Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and a super PAC that was backing her 2020 campaign.

The donations came around the same time Collins was bragging about securing federal funds for an $8 million contract that Navatek had received in 2019.

Kao was also indicted for bilking the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program out of more than $12 million.

The criminal charges are the basis for a series of lawsuits filed by Kao’s former business partner, Steven Loui, who was the original founder of Navatek and owner of Pacific Marine & Supply Co., which also counts Pacific Shipyards International among its subsidiaries.

Loui gave a 99% stake in Navatek to Kao in 2019 before wresting back control of the company in the wake of the criminal scandals. He has since renamed the company PacMar Technologies.

Among Loui’s legal actions is a lawsuit he filed in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii where he is using federal racketeering law that was designed to go after the mafia to try to recuperate millions of dollars that he says was misspent and misused by Kao when he was in charge of the company.

Recent filings from that case, including a 99-page complaint that was lodged in April, accuse Kao and his “gang of co-conspirators” of taking part in a vast criminal enterprise that was meant to enrich themselves while at the same time “loot the resources of a venerable engineering firm.”

Among those named as defendants are Kao, his wife Tiffany Lam and former Navatek executives Clifford Chen, Lawrence Lum Kee and Duke Hartman….

Loui said he was duped by Kao for nearly a decade as he groomed the younger man to take over the business…..

What’s noteworthy, he said, is that Kao actually got caught. That’s often the exception, especially when it comes to campaign finance violations.

“The dirty secret underlying this whole case is that they went about this in a way that was very, very brazen, and as a result they got caught,” Ghosh said. “If we look at this as an unusual instance, one where someone played the game and got caught, then it really is open to one’s imagination how often this is happening where the people involved are not getting caught.”….

The complaint states that Hartman had even developed a power-point presentation titled, “Strategic Partnerships Overview,” in which he spelled out a plan to build “goodwill” with powerful legislators — and appropriators in particular — by setting up shop near universities in their home states and districts where they could then direct scholarship money. …

“Lol SYWSE Pays to Play Again!” Hartman exclaimed….

In addition to the campaign spending violations and PPP fraud, it accuses Kao and others of funneling company money into two nonprofits — the Navatek Foundation and the Marty & Mickey Kao Foundation — that were controlled by Kao and his wife “for the purpose of paying for their own personal expenses and for their own personal benefit.”

Among the questionable expenses, the lawsuit says, were tuition payments to Honolulu Waldorf School and Iolani school for Chen’s children that equaled at least $125,058. 

According to the lawsuit, Kao’s deception began even before he was on the payroll. 

When Kao applied to the company in 2008 he said he had law degrees from both UCLA and New York University, but, according to the PacMar’s lawyers, they learned through subpoenas to the schools that he never attended either of the institutions. …

In the lawsuit, Lum Kee alleges that he was fired by PacMar in retaliation for raising questions about Loui’s own spending practices, which included paying rent for dock space at his daughter’s Hawaii Kai home and using company funds to ship Loui’s private vessels from Maine to Hawaii….

read … Rigging The System: The Martin Kao Case Offers An Inside View Of Pay-To-Play Politics

Ex-union official might get 14-year sentence

SA: … Brian Ahakuelo will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. today before Senior U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor.

He was elected business manager and financial secretary of Local 1260 in June 2011, reelected in 2014 and served until May 2016, when IBEW placed Local 1260 in an emergency trusteeship.

Following 14 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice would like Ahaku­elo to spend three years on supervised release. He should pay restitution in the amount recommended by the U.S. Probation Office, $209,391.72, and a forfeiture money judgment, previously entered March 15, of $60,212.49, according to DOJ….

UPDATE: Sentencing for ex-union boss delayed

read … Ex-union official might get 14-year sentence

The Fallout and Future of Hu Honua

IM: … If Hu Honua Bioenergy had been allowed to sell electricity to HELCO, the facility would have raised electric rates on the Big Island for 30 years and increased the state`s greenhouse gas emissions.

Careers were impacted from the fallout for the high-cost, high-GHG-emitting boondoggle project.

Scott Glenn, the former Chief Energy Officer of the Hawaii State Energy Office, was rejected by the Senate after Governor Green nominated Glenn to run the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development.

Bruce Voss represented Hu Honua in the latest proceeding before the Hawai`i Supreme Court. Governor Green replaced Voss as Chair of the Hawaiʻi Board of Education.

Hu Honua had 30 days from the March 13, 2023, Hawaii Supreme Court ruling, to file a motion for reconsideration and 90 days to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. Both deadlines have passed….

Some speculators have proposed converting the Hu Honua facility into a biofuel and/or hydrogen generation facility. A proposal involving selling the product to the government would trigger the need for an environmental impact statement.

Complicating any such effort would trigger a greenhouse gas review. In addition, the Hawaii Department of Health has not granted a permit for the Hu Honua injection wells. …

read … The Fallout and Future of Hu Honua

After long delay, $17M homeless resource center welcomes its first clients

HNN: … Following a year-long delay, a facility built to serve Honolulu’s homeless population has finally opened its doors.

The Iwilei Resource Center is intended to help those who need treatment but aren’t sick enough to be in the hospital. The hope: That the center will offer a roadmap for easing Hawaii’s homeless crisis.

“The minute folks walk in, we’re gonna start working on where they’re gonna be for the rest of their life,” said city Emergency Services Director Dr. Jim Ireland.

The $17 million facility was ready to serve Monday after an extended delay.

And it didn’t take long for the site to provide the care it’s meant to offer, treating those with no place to stay while also relieving overcrowding at Hawaii hospitals.

“Every single bed, if a person is here and they’re not in a hospital bed, probably saves about $5,000 a day if you really want to know the truth,” said Gov. Josh Green….

“If we can get 250 people housed a year, through this vehicle and we replicate this at a few other places on this island, it actually makes this scalable and thinking a challenge we can take,” Ireland said….

read … After long delay, $17M homeless resource center welcomes its first clients

Failure of Mental Health Care System: Schizophrenic Homeless 23 Years and Counting

SA: … Helping Hawaii’s homeless also is personal for Carvalho, he told “Spotlight Hawaii.”

His mother, who is schizophrenic, remains homeless in the Ala Moana area after 23 years.

“She’s the reason why I ended up in foster care,” Carvalho said….

read … Crime fears unfounded, kauhale group leader says



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