“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” – Winston Churchill
by Andrew Walden
Democrat legislators making up excuses to block Lingle’s judicial nominees are usually just doing the bidding of the criminal defense bar—which seeks to block judicial nominees who are not sufficiently soft on crime. But it appears that opposition to the nomination of former Federal Prosecutor Ed Kubo to Oahu's First Circuit Court is coming from former State Sherriff John Souza. Souza, the husband of State Senate President Coleen Hanabusa, was nailed in 2004 for a land sale which involved giving a $25,000 loan to an accused meth dealer who is a cousin to two convicted Pali Golf course shooters.
The Advertiser January 30 explains:
State Sen. Sam Slom, R-8th (Kāhala, Hawai'i Kai), said Hanabusa's husband, former state sheriff John Souza, called him with concerns about Kubo's ability to be a judge.
Slom said Souza, who used to work with Kubo, explained that while he personally liked Kubo, he did not believe he had the qualifications.
Interesting. Here are some of the people Souza believes ARE “qualified” to do business with him. From a 2004 Advertiser article -- “Sheriff admits dealings with two felons look 'bad'”:
State Sheriff John F. Souza III has business ties with two convicted felons, one a former police officer recently released from federal prison, the other a Leeward Coast parolee whose home and other properties were searched last week by police and federal agents.
Souza, a retired Honolulu police detective appointed head of the Sheriff Division in the Department of Public Safety last August by Gov. Linda Lingle, said yesterday the business relationships are innocent but he is thinking about resigning from office because "the appearance is bad."
Last year, Souza sold a seven-acre parcel of land in Makaha to Jonnaven Monalim, a state prison parolee whose 'Ewa Beach residence was raided Friday by law enforcement agents investigating illegal gambling and other criminal activities.
Souza, the fiancé of state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), purchased the Makaha property in 2001 from Hanabusa and her family for $200,000 and sold it to Monalim in October 2003 for $225,000, according to real estate records.
And who is Monalim?
Monalim is a cousin of Wai'anae crime figure Rodney Joseph Jr., now awaiting trial on murder charges related to the bloody January shootout at the Pali golf course that left two men dead and another critically wounded.
Monalim and Joseph were convicted of burglary and terroristic threatening charges in 1994 after they invaded a Wai'anae home and threatened the occupants with a shotgun.
But somehow he was out in time to commit another crime four years later:
In 1998, Monalim was convicted of assaulting a Wai'anae teenager, a case that gained considerable notoriety after Circuit Judge Sandra Simms sentenced Monalim to 10 years in prison but delayed the start of his prison sentence for 3 1/2 months so he could help raise his newborn child.
Then two years later…
He was released from prison in late 2000 and is on parole until October 2008.
Monalim—still on parole--was “turned” four years later to become an FBI informant against his other cousin, now-convicted Pali shooter Ethan Malu Motta. From the Star-Bulletin March 7, 2009:
The informant is Jonnaven Monalim, cousin to both Motta and Joseph. On Oct. 30, 2004, he secretly recorded a conversation with Motta on the Big Island while Motta was free on $1 million bail when the state was prosecuting the murder case….
When Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Brady asked Monalim why Motta would talk to him about gambling, Monalim said, "Because we cousins, and he thought he could trust me."
Monalim said he also told the FBI that he thought Motta would turn over control of the gambling operations to him.
Monalim said he started cooperating with the FBI after agents raided his home in February 2004 and told him they had information that he had conspired to distribute drugs. He said he introduced a drug source to a contact in Hawaii to distribute methamphetamine.
Monalim has yet to face federal charges even though he has no deal with the government. He says he continues to cooperate with the FBI in the hopes of staying out of prison.
He said he was in prison from 1998 to 2001. He was sentenced in state court to 10 years in prison for second-degree assault, first-degree burglary and first-degree terroristic threatening. One of his co-defendants in the burglary and threatening case is Joseph. Monalim also is awaiting trial for allegedly violating a restraining order for harassment.
What does Hanabusa’s husband have to say? Apparently the accused meth dealer is credit worthy:
Monalim got a $25,000 mortgage loan from Souza that is still in effect, according to documents filed with the state Bureau of Conveyances.
Souza said he signed a binding contract to sell the property to Monalim before he became sheriff.
"I would never have done that after I took office," Souza said. "I know who this guy is and what his reputation is. When I dealt with this guy, he looked totally clean. He was preaching that had had done his time and learned his lesson."
Souza said the sale to Monalim wasn't finalized until October because Monalim had trouble finding financing.
A nerdy little loan company clerk wasn’t fooled—but an experienced law enforcement professional bought this run-of-the-mill ex-con story? Maybe he was too busy with his trucking company doing work on the Ko Olina development, which his wife-to-be had so generously provided $75m in tax credits for.
That brings us to the other felon mentioned in the 2004 Advertiser article:
Souza also has business ties to George "Buddy" DeRamos Jr., a former Honolulu police officer convicted in 2001 for his role in the 1995 beating of prisoner Richard Doolin in the police station cellblock.
Prosecutors said DeRamos did not beat Doolin but was in charge of the cellblock when the beating occurred, tried to cover it up by lying to investigators and attempted to "physically intimidate" Doolin after the beating. DeRamos was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, the federal equivalent of state parole.
Souza said DeRamos is "a very dear friend of mine" who was hired to manage a trucking company Souza owns because DeRamos needed a second chance after his release from prison. Souza said he turned over operation of the trucking business to DeRamos so that he could devote himself full time to his duties as sheriff division administrator.
So federal felon and ex-con DeRamos was running Souza’s trucking company—working at Ko Olina--so Souza “could devote himself full time to his duties as sheriff division administrator.” Maybe that’s what distracted him from noticing that he was selling land to an accused meth dealer tied to organized crime and illegal gambling throughout Hawaii.
Perhaps Kubo is not “qualified” because he will not ignore the underworld connections of law enforcement officers and Senators.
RELATED: Kubo for Judge -- rally Tuesday
Hmmmm wonder what mayor Mafiaboi has gotten himself into now?