Saturday, October 19, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, December 30, 2018
OHA’s $500K Cookie Crumbles
By Andrew Walden @ 2:38 AM :: 3734 Views :: Ethics, OHA, Small Business

First Foundation VP & Commercial Loan Officer Ann Tanouye, OHA Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Program Fund Manager Timmy Wailehua, Michael Ching owner of Hawaii Gourmet Cookies, OHA Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, Technical Assistance Provider Rebecca Soon and OHA Technical Assistance Specialist Robert Crowell at loan signing and check presentation ceremony. (OHA news release Dec 29, 2016)

OHA’s $500K Cookie Crumbles

by Andrew Walden

“Hawaii Gourmet Cookies has ceased operations.”   That’s the word from Oahu Auctions and Liquidations and it means more trouble for OHA’s troubled loan programs.

The news seemed more upbeat just two years ago.  A December 29, 2016 news release from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs featuring Kamanaopono Crabbe, all-around-crony Rebecca Soon and others exclaims:

Before 2016 comes to a close, the OHA Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund Program finalized a Hua Kanu business loan that provides $500,000 to Native Hawaiian business owner Michael Ching to expand his business, Hawaii Gourmet Cookies. This is the largest business loan that OHA has disbursed this year to support Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs. A signing ceremony was held at First Foundation, OHA’s financial lending partner, at it’s offices in Restaurant Row in Kakaʻako.

Ching says he will use the loan to improve business efficiency and update machinery used to bake his popular products lines such as Island Lava cookie brittle available in lilikoi, coconut, chocolate and coffee flavors. Funds will also be used to build up his product inventory and market his products to new vendors….

Through low-interest business loans from OHA, Ching has gotten access to capital that will allow him to take his products, like Island Lava cookies, from three stores (CostCo, Sam’s Club, and NEX) to over 500 stores in 2017.

But that’s not what happened.  Photos from the November 11 auction include a 14-year old van, a used oven and mixing machine, and dozens of beat-up cookie sheets.  The IslandLava.net website informs viewers, “Island Lava will be temporarily unavailable as we work to serve you better.”

IslandLava.net also reveals the company’s past difficulties with bank loans:

…First year in business an airline had us improve its snacks for first class passengers.  Contract for tropical dried fruit trail mix was solid enough that a bank loaned $100,000 for machines and materials.  New machines were humming, a container load of pineapple, mango and coconut were chopped and things were right on schedule September 2001.  But we never made delivery.  The tragedy of 911 canceled that order.

Bank loan, payroll, rent, aging fruits and zero income to pay the bills… in the ashes of failure are embers of new inspiration.  That setback sparked our first tropical fruit macadamia shortbread cookies.

Took things to the next level by dressing our gourmet cookies in sophistication and style. Neiman Marcus became our client. Sales grew enough to warrant opening a boutique in the grandest hotel in Waikiki….  But once more setbacks struck - the economy soured and the hotel closed for renovations. This time my loan was $300,000 and once again no way to pay it….

OHA’s Hua Kanu Business loans and smaller Malama Loans have a troubled history.  The Star-Advertiser, April 16, 2012 explains:

Robert Crowell, technical assistance specialist for OHA’s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund. "The idea behind the Malama Loan is to help provide economic self-sufficiency to Native Hawaiians," Crowell said.

While Crowell does not know why more Native Hawaiian-owned businesses in Waikiki do not participate in the program, he said that since its November 2007 start, the program has supplied nearly $6.4 million to 277 businesses statewide….

"The approval rate is about 46 percent," Crowell said, adding that OHA works with applicants…to help them get funded. The default rate on OHA loans is about 13 percent, Crowell said.

Ray and Rebecca Soon’s for-profit ‘Solutions Pacific, LLC’ has pulled in $650,810.25 from OHA since 2012—the year Kamana’opono Crabbe became OHA’s CEO.  According to the Solutions Pacific Facebook page, Rebecca Soon often participates alongside Crowell in business fairs to promote OHA’s loan programs.  

Here’s the breakdown:

In June, 2018 Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell appointed Rebecca Soon deputy director of Honolulu’s Department of Community Services--the department responsible for giving money to community groups countywide.  Caldwell’s office told the Star-Advertiser: “She is a small business owner who has worked with social service providers that have been a partner to the DCS.”

---30---

Background:

Totally Unrelated Video: 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

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 Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

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

Judgepedia Hawaii

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 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

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT