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Friday, June 18, 2021
June 18, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:42 PM :: 1443 Views

Cockfighting Arrests on Molokai - The investigation and arrests were long in coming

Ige appoints Rep Lynn DeCoite to State Senate

Honolulu Youth Commission to accept applications for Commissioners

Waipahu High principal selected as interim superintendent (again)

Kailua man receives over 24 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering

DAGS: Stadium Could Cost $400M … and More

SA: … Q: What happens if the bids for building the stadium come in significantly higher than the current $400 million estimate?

A: Unlike the low-bid process, bids for the stadium will comprise an overall package of costs, including not just the cost to construct the stadium but also the costs to finance and maintain it for the entirety of its useful life. This means that bidders will be competing to balance out the various cost lines to offer the most advantageous total-cost-of- ownership proposal to the state.

Part of our diligence efforts over the last year has also been to confirm that the scope we are asking for fits within the state’s budget. However, in addition to this, we also have structured a highly collaborative procurement process, which will highlight and resolve affordability issues well before bids are due.

Q: Could the state bear additional costs (including tax breaks and other incentives) for developing the 98-acre parcel, beyond the cost of building and maintaining the stadium?

In short, yes, (the rest of this answer is double-talk) but only if state investment (i.e., through the provision of more state funds) will provide long-term value back to the state. NASED, both the stadium and real estate components, will be delivered via a mix of public and private funds. Private funds are beneficial in that it ensures that the developer has “skin in the game,” and balancing private funds with public funds ensures that the overall cost of development is not too high, meaning better returns to the state. Ultimately, it will be a balancing act which, of course, is done in consideration of the state funding availability.

We also recognize that while the designation of this area as an Opportunity Zone provides capital gains tax benefits for developers and businesses in the district, this benefit, in turn, creates an even greater incentive for such entities to increase their investments in district assets. This creates a very positive, mutually beneficial environment for successful, sustainable development….

read … 5 Questions With … : Chris Kinimaka, state DAGS’ key player in developing Aloha Stadium district

Newly released reports spotlight some evidence being used in Kaneshiro corruption probe

HNN: … Newly-released records show some of the evidence that federal prosecutors are using in their corruption case against former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

Records turned over to Hawaii News Now reveal engineering and architectural firm Mitsunaga and Associates tried more than once to get a criminal case going on a fired employee who then filed a civil lawsuit for age and sex discrimination.

The records include Honolulu police reports.

The two officers named on those reports were recently called to testify before the federal grand jury hearing evidence about the firm’s ties to Kaneshiro.

The officers worked a case in 2012 after a representative of Mitsunaga and Associates reported that the former employee had committed crimes of theft in years prior.

The firm claimed she stole $21,000 by moonlighting and double dipping.

But HPD couldn’t proceed with a criminal investigation because, the officers wrote, they didn’t get any assistance from the company representative.

“No one has called me to set up an appointment or to provide any information concerning this case” the report reads.

Despite that, somehow the case moved forward without police.

It went to the city Prosecutor’s Office instead.

Records show that Sheri Tanaka, the attorney for Mitsunaga and Associates, wrote three letters to Kaneshiro’s office in 2013. One in January, one in February and then the third in July 2013.

Tanaka makes the same claims against the employee as were made in the HPD reports.

But this time, Kaneshiro’s office pressed forward, with Tanaka providing phone records and hours billed from the former employee.

Mitsunaga and Associates leadership and their families contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro’s campaigns and federal authorities are investigating if the felony theft prosecution of the former employee was Kaneshiro’s way of returning the favor.

“It checks all the boxes,” said Attorney Victor Bakke. “A private company using the city prosecutor’s office for a personal vendetta.”…

Federal prosecutors have brought in numerous workers and executives from the firm. One was even jailed when he allegedly ignored a subpoena to testify before the grand jury.

It appears Tanaka represents all of the employees who have been summoned.

(By accepting Tanaka as your lawyer, you ensure that your story will never deviate from the company line.)

read … Newly released reports spotlight some evidence being used in Kaneshiro corruption probe

Lawmaker, watchdog call for investigation into HART’s alleged mishandling of Hanabusa contract

HNN:” …The lawmaker, state Sen. Kurt Fevella, is also calling for HART’s interim CEO Lori Kahikina and Board Chair Toby Martyn to step down.

“Kahikina, do everybody a favor, resign. Toby do us all a favor, quit, resign,” he said. “This is shameful.”…

the rail authority’s internal emails going back to late last year indicate that HART was already set on bringing on Hanabusa.

In December, one board member — Lynn McCory — even talked about paying Hanabusa between $150,000 and $200,000.

“Like Alice in Wonderland, they knew what the conclusion was before they asked the questions,” said Ian Lind, board member of Common Cause Hawaii and longtime investigative reporter and blogger.

“Their behind-the-scenes emails were all designed to fool the public to give the appearance of following the sunshine law and open procurement — but it was all smoke and mirrors.”…

“Prior to the solicitation, we referred to the contract as the ‘Colleen’ or ‘Hanabusa contract.’ And so I did double check with Corporation Counsel. Although that wasn’t a procurement violation we all could have handled it better,” she said.

(Translation: Corp Counsel is involved in this!)

(Cornered like a rat) Hanabusa eventually turned down the job last month and joined HART as an unpaid board member.

(Without snickering) She told Hawaii News Now that she hasn’t seen the emails, wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes discussions and first heard of them when Kahikina mentioned them on Monday….

read … Lawmaker, watchdog call for investigation into HART’s alleged mishandling of Hanabusa contract

Woman who called 911 says Lindani Myeni was following, filming her

SA: … The woman who called 911 to report that an unarmed 29-year-old man from South Africa wandered into the home she was renting feared she and her husband were followed and filmed and about to become the next victims in a nationwide string of attacks on Asian people, their attorney told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Shiying “Sabine” Wang and Da Ju “Dexter” Wang of New Jersey filed a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the incident, said their attorney, Scot S. Brower. The attorney said the couple did not know Lindani Myeni when he followed their car into the yard at 91 Coelho Way in Nuuanu on April 14 and then ran up behind them with his phone’s camera recording. Brower also represents the homeowner, James H. Hall.

The Ring Security Camera footage released by attorneys representing Myeni’s wife, L. Lindsay Myeni, only captures movement outside the front door of the home, Brower said. Lindani Myeni wandered around inside the house for nearly six minutes, rummaging through two bedrooms while telling the couple that he was hunting and owned the home and the 10-year-old cat that lives there, he said.

“This Myeni had said to Sabine when he first arrived that ‘I have video on you, you know why I am here.’ They never recognized him before. He followed them to the house, and at some point Sabine turned around, he ducked in and tried to make it look like he was taking off his shoes. It is clear that when he ducked down it was evasive, and that’s how my client Sabine recognized it,” Brower said. “He didn’t come into the house with any consent; he didn’t come into the house with any permission. In the house he claimed he lived there, he claimed he owned the cat. The owner of the house owns the cat and has for 10 years. He walked down the hallways alone and was heard rummaging in the back rooms. My clients are very traumatized by this thing. Obviously, this is something that most human beings don’t experience in their entire lifetime.”

The 911 operator asked Sabine Wang when she called 911, after first faking a 911 call, whether Myeni was armed, threatening the couple or acting confused. Wang replied no.

Brower would not share a copy of the complaint filed with the FBI and did not say whether his clients told police what they told him. The FBI’s Honolulu division did not immediately reply to a request for comment….

Myeni gave the Wangs no indication that he was looking for the nonsectarian (Hare Krishna) temple of worship at 51 Coehlo Way, Brower said. Dexter Wang is traumatized after witnessing Myeni’s “ferocious” attack on a police officer, he said.

“At no time during the entire encounter did he mention the temple. This charade that he was going to a temple is mistaken. A reasonable person that was lost or looking for something would have mentioned it,” he said.  

ABC: Wife of man killed by Honolulu police demands justice: 'If it was me, I'd still be alive'

CB: Attorney Says Lindani Myeni Was Acting Strangely Before Lethal Encounter With Police

SA: Chinese people call Hawaiian cops who shoot S African man--Protesters Blame 'White Supremacy'

read … Woman who called 911 says Lindani Myeni was following, filming her

A Potential Shakeup At OHA Is Clouding The Agency’s Budget

CB: … The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees is struggling to approve a new budget in the face of a major staff reorganization that has some employees and advocates worried workers could lose their jobs.

OHA is expecting to spend significantly more money on grants and less on personnel, contracts and promotional events and activities, according to its newest two-year budget.

While those policy changes seek to get more of OHA’s annual $49 million operating budget to the Native Hawaiian communities the office is meant to serve, there are still questions over how the proposed budget cuts will be accomplished. ….

Related: OHA Seeks Community Input On New Biennium Budget

read … A Potential Shakeup At OHA Is Clouding The Agency’s Budget

Survey: More Than 80% Of Firms Struggle To Find Workers

CB: … The Chamber is collaborating with organizations like the Hawaii Workforce Development Council to address the issue.  In the meantime, a Chamber survey of nearly 400 member companies found over 80% were struggling to find workers to fill open positions, more than 70% said the openings are putting pressure on existing employees and more than 60% said they’ve had adjust overtime and shift schedules to deal with shortages.

According to the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, there were more than 139,000 unemployed workers and 17,800 open positions in May 2020, or 7.8 unemployed workers per job opening. As of April, the number of unemployed workers had dropped to 53,000 and the job openings had risen to about 27,400, or 1.9 workers per opening.….

SA: Local high schoolers could help rebuild Hawaii’s employee shortage

read …Survey: More Than 80% Of Firms Struggle To Find Workers

Pentagon considering permanent naval task force to counter China in the Pacific

P:  … The Pentagon is considering establishing a permanent naval task force in the Pacific region as a counter to China’s growing military might, according to two people familiar with internal discussions.

The plan would also involve creating a named military operation for the Pacific that would enable the defense secretary to allocate additional dollars and resources to the China problem, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss pre-decisional plans.

The two initiatives, which are not yet finalized, would add muscle to President Joe Biden’s tough talk on China and send a signal that the new U.S. administration is serious about cracking down on Beijing’s military buildup and aggressive behavior in the Pacific region….

SA: Russian spy ship now reported north of Oahu

read … Pentagon considering permanent naval task force to counter China in the Pacific

Public hearing for red-light camera pilot hits glitch; deadline for comments extended

SA: … The virtual public hearing for the state’s proposed rules for its red-light camera program hit a snag this morning when numerous participants went to an erroneous link that left them wondering where it was in its first half-hour.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is moving forward with a pilot program in which photos of a vehicle’s rear license plate will be taken if it runs a red light, followed by citations mailed to the owner.

A total of 14 intersections in urban Honolulu — from King and Middle streets to McCully and Algaroba streets — are being considered for the project, which will eventually be narrowed down to 10….

HNN: Watch ‘This is Now’: Public weighs in on red light enforcement camera program

read … Public hearing for red-light camera pilot hits glitch; deadline for comments extended

Honolulu Is Revamping How It Prosecutes Domestic Violence Cases

CB: … The Honolulu prosecutor says only a small fraction of abusive family members are convicted, but that should change under a new policy….

read … Honolulu Is Revamping How It Prosecutes Domestic Violence Cases

Experts’ Input on Hawaii Air Disaster Could Stay Confidential

BB: … The families of the victims of a Hawaii helicopter crash might not be entitled to see communications between the helicopter’s operator and manufacturers and the National Transportation Safety Board, because a Freedom of Information Act exemption could apply, a divided Fifth Circuit said. ….

read … Experts’ Input on Hawaii Air Disaster Could Stay Confidential

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