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Wednesday, March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:02 PM :: 3547 Views

OHA Kakaako Makai Plans Begin With Sewage Plant

Grant Supports Drive to make UH, Chaminade, Kauai CC 100% Tobacco Free

Buying a House? Need Money? Honolulu can help

House Resolution Seeks Return of Hawaiian Airlines Call Center

Falls of Clyde to be Restored at Closed British Shipyard?

US DoT Inspector General Investigating Honolulu rail concerns raised in (yet another) whistleblower suit

SA: …  Edward Morris, 55, alleged in a (a previously unreported) whistle­blower lawsuit filed in Honolulu circuit court in January that he was fired after he and others working on the airport rail segment voiced concerns “over the continued lack of adherence to construction quality, design requirements, and construction specifications” on the project.

Among other concerns detailed in the lawsuit, Morris complained the reinforcing bar in the drilled shafts for the rail columns was not positioned correctly, unapproved materials were used in construction, and concrete was not tested properly….

Morris said in an interview Tuesday he has been contacted by the USDOT Inspector General….

Morris started work as quality manager for rail contractor Traylor Bros. Inc., a partner in that joint venture, on June 26, 2017. Less than three months later he filed the first of dozens of “non-conformance reports” alleging construction was not being performed according to the design, contract and project specifications, according to the lawsuit.

Morris alleges in the lawsuit he was immediately “harassed” by staff from Shimmick, and the lawsuit describes an alleged pattern of intimidation and verbal abuse of quality inspectors on the project.

“I’ve been in the business for approximately 30-plus years, and in all of my experience working on rail projects both in Europe, Texas, Colorado and now Hawaii, I have never experienced anything like what I saw on the HART project,” Morris said in an interview Tuesday….

On Feb. 7, 2018, Morris went so far as to issue a stop-work order on a drilled shaft after watching Shimmick Construction and Legacy Foundations crews allegedly improperly install reinforcing bar. The bar was “not plumb, lacked proper clearance between reinforcement and was not seated in the shaft correctly,” according to the suit.

After issuing the stop-work order, Morrris alleged in the lawsuit he became involved in “a very hostile confrontation” with Rusty Lucido of Legacy Foundations, with Lucido telling Morris he was “costing the project money and time.”

Morris alleged he was later “pressured and intimidated” into lifting the stop-work order by Lucido and Shimmick Construction Project Director Dan Howell “because they had crews and equipment that were ‘idle’ and thus costing the project money,” according to the suit.

Morris lifted the stop-work order, but alleges in the lawsuit it was later determined the reinforcing bar was in fact not installed correctly, and he documented that lapse.

“Between Sept. 26, 2017, and July 23, 2018, the Lead Quality Engineer Tom Jackson, project quality inspectors, Consolidated Engineering Laboratories, HART and HDOT inspectors made increasing and continuous written and verbal complaints about project leadership’s hostilities and failure to comply with contract requirements related to inspection and testing,” the lawsuit alleges.

“There were complaints about harassment, intimidation, and the prevention of proper inspections procedures based on hostility” toward Morris, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges Traylor staff also complained about the failure to construct the drilled shafts properly, including concerns about the placement of reinforcing materials, the use of unapproved materials, and concrete that failed to pass testing…. 

SA: Stop rail project until columns inspected

PDF: Complaint

read … U.S. transportation inspector inquires about Honolulu rail concerns raised in whistleblower suit

Senate Committees Approve More Money for OHA Insiders to Steal

KITV:  … OHA already receives $15.6 million in revenue on those lands. Recent findings show state agencies on them are misreporting income….

The bill proposes the state pay $20 million more a year….

But not all state agencies are on board with forking over 20 percent. The UH disagrees because it says it already provides $7 million in tuition waivers for Hawaiian students. 

The bill passed joint Senate committees Tuesday afternoon which is the farthest a bill concerning ceded lands has survived in the state legislature. Its yet to be considered by the committee on Ways and Means. …

HB402: Text, Status

read … Ceded lands debate fires up, House bill survives another hurdle

Mauna Kea a Mountain of Moolah for OHA

CB: … I don’t mean to trivialize the importance of TMT’s scientific endeavors, but equally, if not more important, is the intangible cultural heritage (transfer) of Mauna Kea (cash to OHA)….

TIO LLC brought in $57,620,363 in receipts alone for 2016, with the vast majority of its expenditures appearing to be spent outside of Hawaii….

It should be noted that the largest reported independent contractor over the three-year period was for security in Hawaii. In 2014, the nonprofit paid $3,020,323 to Private Security Group, a company in Honolulu….

the vast majority of the $1.5 billion from this project will never come to Hawaii… 

read … Moolah

Flood control plan for Ala Wai strongly opposed at meeting

SA: … Controversy over a $345 million project to lessen flood risks at the Ala Wai Canal by building a wall around the canal and huge flood control structures in the upper reaches of the watershed drew hundreds to a Tuesday town hall meeting in Manoa.

There was mostly opposition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan — including sign waving from students whose schools will be affected by the corps’ plans. They’ll be affected along with 37 private property owners, four of which will likely lose their entire properties. …

critics said they want the project to pause long enough to allow the corps and its city and state partners time to gather more community feedback, consider lower-footprint alternatives and develop an adequate maintenance plan to address future concerns. Six neighborhood boards have passed resolutions asking the corps to temporarily halt the project and state lawmakers to deny funding. Concerned residents even have a website, stopalawaiproject.com….

KITV: Residents of Makiki, Palolo, and Manoa voice concerns over controversial Ala Wai flood mitigation plan

read … Flood control plan for Ala Wai strongly opposed at meeting

More housing would boost Maui tax revenues

GRIH: … As Maui County lawmakers search under the couch cushions for loose change that would help them meet their budgetary goals, they should remember that finding extra cash could be easy, if they would only step out of the way of island homebuilders….

read … More housing would boost Maui tax revenues

Stolen Stuff Hawaii to hold anti-crime rally at the state Capitol

SA: … Facebook group Stolen Stuff Hawaii will be making their way into the political scene by hosting a rally at the state Capitol on April 15….Stolen Stuff Hawaii currently has 123,900 members, who are vetted by administrators of the group to be Hawaii residents or have Hawaii ties….

read … Stolen Stuff Hawaii to hold anti-crime rally at the state Capitol

Outdated Wang Technology Hampers Investigations Into Hawaii Professionals

CB: … For years, the state agency in charge of managing licensed professionals has struggled to manage its growing workload with outdated technology.

Hawaii’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office oversees thousands of professionals working in industries ranging from health care to construction. Residents rely on RICO to deal with complaints on topics ranging from condo association fee increases to sexual harassment.

“It used to be one in 25 Americans was licensed now it’s like one in five,” said Daria Loy-Goto, who until recently was RICO’s complaints and enforcement officer. “We’ve gone from an agency who used to oversee 80,000 to an agency who probably oversees 160,000 licensees in the last 20 years with no increase in staffing.” ….

“It was built off of a Wang database, I kid you not,” Loy-Goto said of the complaints tracking system, referring to a software company that went bankrupt in 1992….

CB: This Longtime Acupuncturist Who Pushed For Oversight Is Now Under Investigation

read … Outdated Technology Hampers Investigations Into Hawaii Professionals

Woman accused of stealing $760,000 from Homeless Shelter to face charges (after all)

HNN: … A woman accused of stealing more than $760,000 from a Leeward Oahu homeless shelter will face prosecution after all.

Three years ago, Judge Rom Trader dismissed charges of first- and second degree theft against Laura Pitolo.

He said police were told of the theft allegations in 2010, and it took authorities too long to charge the former program director of Waianae Community Outreach.

But on Monday, the state Supreme Court reversed that decision, saying the clock on the three-year statute of limitations should have started in 2013, when the state Department of Human Services began its own investigation of what was happening at the nonprofit.

The case was sent back for trial on six counts…

read … Woman accused of stealing $760,000 from nonprofit to face charges (after all)

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