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Thursday, May 23, 2024
May 23, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:10 PM :: 1949 Views

Green Announces Plan: Fly 3,000 Lahaina Survivors to Mainland

DoH: No Jet Fuel Found in Navy Water System

DoE Begins Process of Convincing Lahaina Community to Accept School Relocation Plan

Jones Act beneficiaries schizophrenic about China

Mitsunaga Secretary Acquitted For Bribery Could Still Face State Campaign Violations

CB: … For a decade, Terri Ann Otani made tens of thousands of dollars in donations to political candidates in the names of her family members, according to her relatives.  

During a federal trial that ended last week, Otani’s sister and niece testified that as a corporate secretary for the engineering firm Mitsunaga & Associates Inc., Otani used their names to make contributions that didn’t actually come from them. Prosecutors showed the jury how Otani purchased cashier’s checks with the memo line filled out with her relatives’ names and submitted them to campaigns. 

The staff of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is now investigating the matter. For such a large set of alleged straw donations to come to light in a trial is highly unusual, according to commission attorney Gary Kam. 

“The staff is concerned about what’s been going on, what’s been said in the trial,” he said. “We are looking into it.” 

Otani’s lawyer, Doris Lum, did not respond to requests for comment. 

From 2010 to 2020, campaign finance data shows there were 43 donations totaling more than $38,000 that Otani’s relatives testified were false. 

For most of those donations, the five-year statute of limitations for prosecution has passed. But two donations — totalling a combined $1,500, purportedly from Otani’s niece, Jodee Haugh, to then-mayoral candidate Colleen Hanabusa — were recorded in 2020 and fall within the prosecution window …

CB: John Pritchett: Business As Usual - Honolulu Civil Beat

read … Mitsunaga Secretary Acquitted For Bribery Could Still Face State Campaign Violations

Legal analysts: Board of Water Supply’s $1.2B claim with Navy likely headed to lawsuit

HNN: … The Board of Water Supply filed the claim with the Navy in October to recover costs of responding to the Red Hill drinking water contamination crisis, which forced a series of steps to protect the BWS water system.

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Navy had six months to respond.

The bulk of the Board of Water Supply’s claim is to cover the cost of replacing the Halawa Shaft and two smaller wells. The agency said it shut them down to avoid sucking fuel contamination into the public’s drinking water supply after the Navy’s fuel leaks at Red Hill in 2021 tainted Pearl Harbor’s tap water.

BWS told Hawaii News Now the Navy acknowledged its claim and is seeking additional information to substantiate the BWS expenses. Honolulu’s municipal water system says it’s responding to the request and is committed to engaging with the Navy, but the utility also had a warning.

In a statement, BWS said that: “If discussions do not result in the resolution of our claims, the BWS will consider all appropriate actions to ensure that the military compensates the BWS, its customers and ratepayers for the damages caused by the Navy’s fuel releases from Red Hill.”

Hawaii attorney David Hendrickson, who is a former judge advocate with the Army, said a huge disaster with a “massive amount of damage” is going to result in a “lot of litigation.” ….

read … Legal analysts: Board of Water Supply’s $1.2B claim with Navy likely headed to lawsuit

Disaster: No Confidence in MEMA

SA: … lack of confidence is shared by county officials. It’s evident in MEMA’s efforts to find an outside contractor to do the review, citing severe staffing limitations. It’s an indisputable problem that merits swift action by Maui Mayor Richard Bissen to begin rebuilding the agency….

(CLUE: MEMA, and ‘departments’ like it, were formed to serve as fall guy for the Mayor, FD and PD in the event of disaster.  It is working as intended, but may not have been enough to save the Mayor.)

This process starts with a call to action from its newly appointed administrator, Amos Lonokailua-Hewett, who officially took over from the longtime chief, Herman Andaya, on Jan. 1. When the Honolulu Star-Advertiser was seeking an interview with Lonokailua-Hewett this week, Lois Whitney, the county deputy director of communications, said he was on “personal leave” and unavailable for comment.

(CLUE: Just collecting salary until the next disaster—which could be a while.)

That inaccessibility speaks volumes about the utter lack of urgency to get the agency up and ready to do its job.

There were warning signs — which were not shared with the public in a timely manner. MEMA, under Andaya, has produced previous action reports, including a draft concerning the response to Tropical Cyclone Lane in 2018.

It was intended only for internal use, however, and it became public following news organization requests under the Uniform Public Information Act.

read ... Editorial: MEMA flaws must be solved, and fast

More details emerge after cockfight raid: 25 dead roosters, $20K in cash seized

HTH: … Police said Tuesday officers who raided a cockfight May 18 in Hawaiian Paradise Park recovered 25 dead roosters, four injured birds and about $20,000 in cash.

A Hawaii Police Department statement also said Homeland Security Task Force officers were involved in serving the search warrant on a residence on 18th Avenue near Kaloli Drive. In addition to the chickens and cash, authorities allegedly confiscated gambling records, cockfighting paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana.

According to the statement, it was estimated that more than 100 people attended the cockfight….

read … More details emerge after cockfight raid: 25 dead roosters, $20K in cash seized

Lahaina Fire News:

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