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Monday, April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:19 PM :: 3570 Views

Is Hawaii taxing healthcare to death?

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‘Insider Trading’ Wrecks Meadow Gold Sale?

SA: … A former owner of Foremost Dairies-Hawaii has emerged as the tentative buyer for a portion of Meadow Gold Hawaii, the state’s largest dairy processor.

Bahman Sadeghi, who shuttered Foremost and sold its assets to Meadow Gold eight months after he bought Foremost in 2004, is the new suitor for Meadow Gold’s neighbor island operations.

Dean Foods Co., the Texas-based owner of Meadow Gold, is selling all its subsidiaries after filing for bankruptcy in November. Deans Foods disclosed Sadeghi as the bidder for the neighbor island operations in documents filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas.

Sadeghi, through MGD Acquisition LLC, intends to pay $7 million for Meadow Gold’s processing plant in Hilo along with distribution facilities on Hawaii island, Maui and Kauai that employ 71 workers.

Meadow Gold’s main dairy processing and distribution operation in Honolulu, with 216 employees, is slated to close Thursday, and Dean Foods intends to later sell the plant’s real estate, valued around $30 million….

Sadeghi, who is also a former Hawaii island dairy farm owner, said his plan is to continue statewide distribution of Meadow Gold products and expand the Hilo facility to restore lost production capacity from the Honolulu facility, which he couldn’t afford to acquire….

However, a retired mainland dairy farmer involved in a recently canceled Meadow Gold Hawaii purchase said he intends to challenge Sadeghi’s deal in Bankruptcy Court after alleging that improper insider dealings derailed his plan and led to Sadeghi’s bid.

The retired dairyman, Mike Pickens, alleges that Glenn Muranaka, Meadow Gold Hawaii president and general manager, disrupted a purchase by Industrial Realty Group LLC that was to result in Pickens running Meadow Gold Hawaii.

“It really got ugly,” said Pickens, a California resident who formed 8 Cow Dairies to run Meadow Gold Hawaii.

Pickens, who previously made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Cloverleaf Dairy on Hawaii island, alleged that Muranaka disparaged him and that financial issues and management irregularities came to light as he and Industrial Realty prepared to complete their purchase earlier this month.

Pickens also suggested that Muranaka is involved with Sadeghi’s bid….

Wayne Kaululaau, president of Hawaii Teamsters Union Local 996, representing Meadow Gold workers, said losing the original Industrial Realty/8 Cow offer was unfortunate because it would have retained all employees and their collective bargaining agreement. Sadeghi’s bid proposes to shed the union contract under bankruptcy rules….

NR: Dean Foods Completes Sales of its Uncle Matt’s Business and the Majority of the Meadow Gold Hawaii Business

read … Losing party in Meadow Gold sale alleges misdeeds

Homeless Camp Blocks COVID Testing Team

CB: … Dozens of health care workers, many of them volunteers, have been traveling all over the state to test as many people as possible. Next up: homeless camps…..

On Sunday, Karen Thornburg, a volunteer nurse who is coordinating a new initiative to test homeless people for COVID-19, got a call on her cell phone as she drove toward a beachfront tent community in Waimanalo.

It was bad news.

Lavina Aina, the homeless camp’s leader, had just held a vote. The camp decided they would block Thornburg and her small team of health care workers from entering their community.

“She said that they don’t have the virus in there (And they should know, after all they do meth.) and they don’t want it in there,” Thornburg explained. “They feel that they have self-quarantined in there and they don’t want to let anyone in.”… 

CB: Lets Put all the Homeless in the Hilton, It’ll be Great

read … Inside Hawaii’s Ambitious Mobile Virus-Testing Operation

Immigrants And Others Struggle Applying For Hawaii Jobless Benefits

CB: …Undocumented workers aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits at all. But even workers who are eligible for unemployment benefits can’t equally access the system.

There are only two options for applying for unemployment — call or file online. That works for a lot of people with the patience to get past the state’s faulty systems.

But it is a lot harder for immigrants with limited English proficiency, people without access to computers and residents who lack bank accounts.

Part of the problem is that the unemployment office is closed to the public in an effort to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus. That means workers who don’t have access to computers or internet access can’t go into the office in person and get help or use the state’s computer terminals.

Public libraries are closed too, preventing people from using their public computers. Even though the phone lines are still open, many workers trying to call say the lines have been consistently busy….

read … Immigrants And Others Struggle Applying For Hawaii Jobless Benefits

New management structure for Maunakea proposed

WHT:  … Currently, UH’s Maunakea management model places two organizations governing activities on the mountain under the jurisdiction of two separate UH campuses: the Office of Maunakea Management — which formulated UH’s Comprehensive Management Plan — answers to the chancellor of UH-Hilo, while Maunakea Support Services — which operates Halepohaku, among other things — answers to the provost of UH-Manoa.

Under the restructured plan, both OMKM and MKSS would be reformulated into a single organization called the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, which would answer to the UH-Hilo chancellor…..

UH News: New management structure for Maunakea proposed to regents

read … New management structure for Maunakea proposed

Public participation critical for real property tax rates, FY 2021 budget

MN: … A public hearing on rates for real property taxes — the county government’s primary revenue source — is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The structure used to establish real property tax rates was adopted in late 2019. The names and descriptions of classifications were amended, and certain classes now will be tiered based on value.

The residential and homeowner classes were amended to “owner-occupied” and “non-owner occupied,” respectively, with the intent that an owner-occupied residence will receive the greatest tax relief, while properties leased or rented will be taxed at a higher rate. Both of these classes are subject to tiered rates.

Lower-value homes, assessed at up to $800,000 in value, are set to be taxed at lower rates. Homes assessed at values greater than $1.5 million would be taxed at the highest rates.

The home exemption and so-called circuit breaker tax credit will continue to provide relief. The circuit breaker allows for limits on the tax bills of homeowners with income below $100,000.

Also, industrial and commercial classifications, which were formerly combined, are now separated into their own classes, and each can be tiered based on value. The council has only proposed tiers for the commercial category at this time.

Information about the hearing and proposed range of tax rates under consideration is available at

Written testimony should be submitted to at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Oral testimony can be provided either via BlueJeans videoconference or phone.

To join the meeting by phone, call (408) 740-7256 or (888) 240-2560 (toll free), and enter meeting ID 358865836 and passcode 5937. You can also view the proceedings on Akaku, Channel 53….

read … Public participation critical for real property tax rates, FY 2021 budget

Council members push programs to help beleaguered businesses

HTH: … Two Hawaii County Council members are working on programs to bring fast relief to small businesses and farmers reeling from the economic downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic….

read … Council members push programs to help beleaguered businesses

Another Child Welfare Fail -- Former foster kids sue parents and state over abuses

HNN: … Three former foster children have come forward with shocking new allegations of abuse at a Waimanalo home.

In a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court last week, the three unnamed plaintiffs allege that another sibling sexually molested them for years and that their parents looked the other way.

“This was for all intents and purposes a house of horrors for these children,” said Randall Rosenberg, their attorney.

“They used the foster children as slave labor... They had a lock on the refrigerator. They starved these kids.”

One of the foster parents — Jolyn Kipapa ― was killed in 2014 by her foster son Kaanoi Kipapa, who was 16 at the time. During his sentencing last year, he said:

“I was so broken, so damaged that I didn’t know what else to do. I will forever be sorry for what I had done,” said Kaanoi Kipapa, who is now serving a ten-year sentence for manslaughter and is not part of the civil suit.

“Looking back on today, she didn’t deserve to die, let alone the way I killed her.”…

HNN: Brother of man who fatally stabbed adoptive mother speaks out about alleged abuse

read … Former foster kids sue parents and state over abuses

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