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Tuesday, October 20, 2020
October 20, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:01 PM :: 4431 Views

Bill 80 Imposes Rehiring Formula on Hotels

Rule by Decree: Ige 4th Extension of Kauai Flooding Emergency

OHA Races: If you saying NO AUDIT, you are supporting the demise of our future generations

Panos: What is the future of Honolulu Rail?

DoH Revises COVID Guidance for School Reopening

20 Years Prison for former Auditor of OHA and HART

PBN: … Patrick Oki, the former managing partner of PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP, lost his appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court on Oct. 16, according to court documents.

Oki was found guilty in October 2017 of multiple felonies including theft, money laundering, forgery and computer crimes for incidents that occurred between 2011 and 2014. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution for stealing $440,000 from the firm, which changed its name to Spire Hawaii LLP following Oki's indictment and arrest in October 2015.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Van Marter told PBN that the court denied Oki's request to vacate and reverse the decision of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, which had upheld his convictions on June 5.

Oki, a former certified public account and certified fraud examiner, is serving a twenty-year prison sentence, with a mandatory minimum of ten years, at the Halawa Correctional Facility.

The Hawaii board that governs public accountants revoked the professional license of Patrick Oki in April of 2019, more than 18 months after he was convicted of multiple counts for stealing from his former Honolulu accounting firm ….

read … Hawaii Supreme Court denies Patrick Oki appeal

Poll: Biden 58% Trump 29% on Oahu

SA: … Vice President Joe Biden received 58% support from Oahu voters in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll.

By comparison, President Donald Trump received only 29% support. Some 8% of Oahu voters remain undecided….

Some 92% of Oahu Democratic voters support Biden, along with 47% of independents. Trump received support from 85% of Oahu Republicans and support from only 28% of independents.

The Hawaii Poll was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy from Oct. 12 to Wednesday. A total of 625 registered voters on Oahu were interviewed live over both landline and cellular telephones. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points….

Biden’s support among whites was 49% to 38% for Trump…

PDF: HI1020Poll Copy Trump Quest…

read … Hawaii Poll says Oahu voters overwhelmingly prefer Joe Biden over Donald Trump in U.S. presidential race

Economy: Honolulu residents more optimistic than ‘Experts’

SA: … Many Oahu residents are more optimistic than Hawaii experts about when the state economy will return to normal, a new poll suggests.

Results from The Honolulu Star- Advertiser Hawaii Poll conducted last week show that 44% of Honolulu adults believe the state economy will be back to normal in two years or less, including 7% who expect a full recovery to take less than a year.

Another 43% believe such recovery is more than two years away….

“It all depends on the tourists,” he said…. “Hawaii is still going to be the ideal destination when (lots of) tourists start traveling again,” he said….

PDF: HI1020Poll Copy Economy Que…

read … Honolulu residents mixed about state’s economic recovery, Hawaii Poll shows

Big Island Mayoral Race a Test of Telescope Opinion?

SA: … One area where two differ significantly is the Thirty Meter Telescope, the controversial Big Island project that has been delayed for years due to protests and legal and regulatory delays.

Roth is a big supporter of the TMT and astronomy in general. His son is employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory operated by the California Institute of Technology, a TMT partner, and his wife works for Subaru Telescope.

Marzo said Hawaii County police shouldn’t be harassing the Mauna Kea protesters….

read … 2 candidates vie to replace Harry Kim as mayor in Hawaii County election

Former Governors: Democratic Party should not endorse for mayor

SA: …The Office of the Mayor is nonpartisan and is for very important reasons. From an ethical perspective, the party should continue to be involved in partisan races but should not be involved in nonpartisan races….

signed: George Ariyoshi, Ben Cayetano, Neil Abercrombie, Colleen Hanabusa

read … Party should not endorse for mayor

More than 30,000 trans-Pacific travelers have arrived in the islands since Thursday

HNN: … More than 30,000 trans-Pacific travelers have arrived in the islands since Thursday. On the first day of travel, more than 10,000 flew in from the mainland or inter-island.

“It was way more than I anticipated,” said Ige.

But the governor does expect arrivals to slow to 3,000 to 4,000 thousand per day.

“We anticipate that the build back of the travel industry will be slow,” he said.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association says about about 25% of its hotels in Hawaii are now open with 45% expected to open by December 1….

read … Ige surprised by pent up travel demand, but warns of slow recovery

Ige Withholding TAT Funds from Counties

TGI: … Because of the combination of withheld state taxes and retroactive salary raises, the county is considering several steps to balance its $261.1 million operating budget….

An Oct. 8 memo from Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama to Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, sums up the predicament, noting the “ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19 continues to affect the state’s tourism industry” and Gov. David Ige’s suspension of the distribution of the transient accommodations tax has caused a budget shortfall

Historically, the county received about $14 million in TAT funds….

Over 550 employees across 17 departments will receive raises as part of a Hawai‘i Government Employees Association collective bargaining agreement signed by the state. This resulted in a $1.63 million shortfall.

Only departments with HGEA employees were affected, Matsuyama said. That includes those in Bargaining units 3 (clerical), 4 (clerical supervisory), 13 (scientific and professional), and 14 (ocean safety).

The council had approved arbitration awards throughout the last year, in January, March, May 2020 and in November 2019. And, since the bill was not signed by Ige until this September, funding had lapsed for 11 grant-funded positions in the Office of the Presecuting Attorney, Planning Department and Fire Department.

read … County revising $261.1 million operating budget

Hawai'i Island voter receives ballots for dead person, former resident

KITV: … Hawai'i Island resident Kent Kane his main concern is voter fraud, after his family received two invalid ballots- one addressed to someone who died ten years ago, and another for a former resident who moved away 20 years ago.

"I'm sure there are many others, thousands of ballots that have gone out, to people who have moved or who are deceased," Kane said. …

Kane is not alone. State Sen. Kurt Fevella, who represents 'Ewa Beach, said many elderly in his district do not trust the mail-in system.

"You know they get stuff stolen all the time from the mail, their social security checks, mail not getting to them," Fevella said. …

The Kaua'i Elections office has received about 10,000 ballots so far and the count in Honolulu stands at approximately 180,000. Neither county could provide the number of ballots being challenged, meaning the signature on the envelop does not match the one in the system, or ballots with no signature at all.

Both Maui and Hawai'i counties have received more than 20,000 ballots--1.1% were challenged on the Valley Isle, and less than half a percent on the Big Island. …

read … Hawai'i Island voter receives ballots for dead person, former resident

DOH reports 39 new COVID-19 cases statewide; fifth death reported at Life Care Center

HTH: … a fifth COVID-related death was reported Friday at Life Care Center of Hilo, bringing the number of Big Island deaths attributed to the virus to 40.

According to an update posted to Life Care Center’s website this morning, a total of 53 residents and 16 employees have tested positive for the virus….

read … DOH reports 39 new COVID-19 cases statewide; fifth death reported at Life Care Center

Arcadia confirms resident with coronavirus died

KHON: … Arcadia Independent Living Center reported its first COVID-19 death on Monday, Oct. 19.

The facility said that the resident died on Friday, Oct. 16. The woman was a resident at Arcadia for over 25 years.

To date, the retirement home in Nuuanu saw four employees and two residents test positive for the virus.

read … Arcadia confirms resident with coronavirus died

Since tourism relaunch, police have issued 4,500 warnings for violating COVID-19 orders

HNN: …Honolulu police said they’ve issue 4,500 warnings and 470 citations since the launch of the traveler testing program Thursday, which has brought tens of thousands of trans-Pacific arrivals to Hawaii.

Police also said several people were arrested for violating Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency orders.

Caldwell said that the visitor industry isn’t doing enough to inform tourism about the rules.

“I’m a little discouraged by the fact that our partners in the visitor industry have not started to educate visitors," he said.

“The local folks are abiding. If they see visitors not abiding, it’s going to create resentment between local and visitors.”…

read … Since tourism relaunch, police have issued 4,500 warnings for violating COVID-19 orders

Piñata: Honolulu Council Opens Grant-in-Aid Applications

PBN: … The City Charter-mandated GIA fund, which is administered by the Department of Community Services, was established by a voter initiative to "serve economically and socially disadvantaged populations, or provide services for public benefit in the areas of arts, culture, economic development, or the environment," according to county officials. GIA proposals must be submitted by 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23 in order to meet the deadline.

In 2019, more than $9 million in GIA were awarded to nonprofits across Oahu. For more information about the process of submitting a GIA application, click here.

Earlier this month, the City and County of Honolulu also launched a $10M arts and culture relief and recovery fund using CARES Act money, according to previous reporting by Pacific Business News.

The recovery fund consists of two grant programs — Malamalama and Hoola — and an organization can qualify for either program, but not both. According to officials, each grant is a one-time reimbursement for "costs incurred from the implementation of safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19." …

read … City and County of Honolulu opens Grant in Aid Applications

Renters In Hawaii Are Struggling. So Are Their Landlords

CB: … Philip Garboden, a professor in affordable housing at the University of Hawaii, says Honolulu has more single-family homes as part of its housing stock than average, and by extension more mom-and-pop landlords who may not have the resources to withstand long bouts of missing rent.

He conducted a recent survey that found more than 38% of Hawaii landlords surveyed are struggling to stay profitable and the residential vacancy rate has more than doubled, up to 9.2% compared with 3.9% prior to the pandemic….

read … Renters In Hawaii Are Struggling. So Are Their Landlords

Kaimuki association calls on state to institute moratorium on commercial evictions

HNN: … Melissa Bow, president of Kaimuki Business Professional Association, said rent is one of the biggest concerns of her members.

While the city’s Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund has been helpful, Bow says it was enough for some owners to only pay a month’s worth of rent.

The association has drafted a resolution that calls for a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions and a prohibition on late fees for commercial tenants.

She’s hoping it gets the attention of the City Council, the mayor or the governor.

“The purpose is to get landlords and tenants to work together and it’s something that the governor is saying, like we need to do this in order for all of us to survive,” said Bow….

read … Kaimuki association calls on state to institute moratorium on commercial evictions

Katherine Kealoha wants phone hearings during pandemic

AP: … A former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor who is in jail while awaiting sentencing for a conspiracy conviction in Hawaii’s largest corruption case wants to participate in hearings for a lawsuit her uncle filed against her by telephone because of the pandemic.

Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, is suing her because she framed him for stealing a mailbox at the home she shared with her now-estranged, retired police chief husband. The framing was central to a criminal trial against Katherine and Louis Kealoha, where a jury convicted them of conspiracy in a plot to frame Puana to keep him from revealing fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle.

In a neatly handwritten letter to the judge and filed in court Monday, she also asks for access to hard drives for her civil, ethics and criminal cases because the paper files are too voluminous for her cell at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center….

Her letter also says she hasn’t been able to communicate with her lawyer in the lawsuit, Kevin Sumida, and isn’t sure he’s still representing her and her husband, who filed for divorce last year….

read … Convicted ex-prosecutor wants phone hearings during pandemic

Scrapping a guilty plea, trial possible for former Maui officer in wire fraud case

HNN: … Brandon Saffeels allegedly sent text messages and made phone calls telling a woman he could make her DUI go away if she spent time with him.

Safeels was scheduled to plead guilty to wire fraud, but Monday afternoon, he told a judge he was not trying to get anything from her, including sexual favors.

The judge ended the hearing without Safeels making the anticipated guilty plea.

Prosecutors are now free to take Saffeels to trial on additional charges….

AP: Judge rejects plea in former Maui officer’s sex solicitation case

read … Scrapping a guilty plea, trial possible for former Maui officer in wire fraud case

Aloha Aina Party facing questions as election approaches

ILind: … Control of the LLC, and presumably the party, appears to have been changed by two back-to-back filings with the state Business Registration Division on September 25, 2020.

The first, received at 11:26 a.m., reported that the prior list of officers/directors/members/managers of the LLC had been replaced by just two, Daniel Decker and Black Pen Capital LLC, both at a common post office box address on Saratoga Road in Waikiki.

The second filing, received at 3:11 p.m. on the same day, named Black Pen Capital LLC as the sole member of the Aloha Aina Party LLC.

Both filings were signed by Daniel Decker on behalf of the Aloha Aina Party LLC. Decker had been listed in previous filings among the members or managers of the party.

Black Pen Capital turns out to be a Nevada company created by Decker in April 2016, and later registered to do business in Hawaii. However, the business registration system maintained by the Nevada Secretary of State currently lists the status of Black Pen Capital as “revoked.”

However, the company continues to be registered in Hawaii. As of September 29, 2020, it reported having a single member, Forerunner Consulting, Inc, state business records show.

Forerunner Consulting Inc. is a new company incorporated in Hawaii on August 14, 2020. On October 5, it listed two officers–Landis W. Ornellas Jr. (president, secretary, and director) and Daniel Decker (vice-president, treasurer, and director).

To make the circle complete, the registered agent for Forerunner Consulting is Black Pen Capital, business registration records show….

ILind: The former treasurer has essentially “changed the locks” and taken control

ILind: It’s an LLC…It’s a political party…It’s two things in one!

read … Aloha Aina Party facing questions as election approaches

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