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Monday, June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:31 PM :: 4110 Views

June 14, 1900: The Abolition of Slavery in Hawaii

A Surprise Revelation In The Miske Case: A Plot To Kill A Union Official

CB: … Honolulu businessman Michael J. Miske Jr. allegedly offered to pay $50,000 in 2016 to have a union official killed in an apparent dispute over access to jobs on Honolulu’s waterfront, according to unexpected testimony in federal court last week.

The startling allegation surfaced during a hearing last week, in which Norman Lani Akau III pleaded guilty to having been a willing participant for several years in a racketeering organization which Miske allegedly controlled and directed….

Akau is a veteran stagehand from Kaneohe who served for nearly a decade on the executive board of IATSE Local 665, the union representing technicians and stagehands working on television and film productions in Hawaii….

After declining to get involved in Fraser’s kidnapping, Akau then accepted a second offer to murder an individual, identified only as Victim 12, for the same $50,000 fee.

The intended victim’s car was equipped with a GPS tracker, which allowed Miller and Akau to follow it to a plate lunch restaurant on Sand Island, Inciong said.

Akau was carrying a gun in his backpack, and was supposed to shoot the victim when he came out of the restaurant. But at the last moment, Miller told Akau not to shoot because he had been unable to remove the GPS monitor, which could have tied them to the crime….

Responding to Watson, Akau made a passing reference to the intended victim as a “union rep.”

Watson then asked why this victim had been targeted.

Akau said the problem involved hiring for jobs on the docks, and that removing Victim 12 “would help the flow of jobs onto the docks.”…

Several of Miske’s crew, including his son, Caleb, and brother, John Stancil, had landed coveted jobs on the docks. It was widely rumored Miske had paid handsomely to allow the people he referred to jump to the front of the line for the union card necessary to land the highly paid waterfront jobs…

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported in 2019 that the FBI was investigating reports that some trying to get stevedore jobs paid up to $60,000 in cash for the privilege.

In addition to the murder-for-hire plots, Akau also admitted to taking part in a series of robberies in the period 2016-2018, often targeting other drug dealers….

read … A Surprise Revelation In The Miske Case: A Plot To Kill A Union Official

Federal Investigation Into Keith Kaneshiro takes aim at Pay-for-Play Donors

CB: … Federal investigators are using an age-old tactic in their grand jury probe of former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro.

They’re following the money.

Some of Kaneshiro’s top political donors have become central figures in the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation into corruption and abuse of power within the city prosecutor’s office.

Chief among them are Honolulu-based real estate agent Donna Walden and engineering consultant Dennis Mitsunaga, whose firm Mitsunaga & Associates has previously been the subject of allegations of pay-to-play politics….

Most recently, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat, the San Diego-based prosecutor spearheading the investigation, has called in several employees of Mitsunaga & Associates to testify before a federal grand jury.

At least one company executive, Arnold Koya, was booked into the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu after he refused to show up, according to a report from Hawaii News Now.

State campaign spending data shows Koya, like other Mitsunaga & Associates executives, has donated thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro’s political campaign to help him stay in office….

Wheat is focused in particular on Kaneshiro’s involvement in the City and County of Honolulu’s $5.5 million purchase of an apartment complex from Walden shortly after she and her investors bought it for $4.5 million. Kaneshiro wanted to use the building as a “safe house” for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

A grand jury witness who helped execute the deal told Civil Beat in 2017 that Kaneshiro advocated for purchasing the building from Walden and that Wheat took specific interest in the seemingly quick $1 million profit that came as a result….

Wheat is also looking into Kaneshiro’s prosecution of Laurel Mau, a former Mitsunaga & Associates employee who had sued the company for sex and age discrimination.

After Mau filed her lawsuit, Kaneshiro’s office pursued criminal charges against her based on affidavits and witness statements prepared by Mitsunaga & Associates and its attorney Sherry Tanaka. No other outside law enforcement agencies, such as the Honolulu Police Department or the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, were involved in vetting the case.

Instead, it was handled by one of Kaneshiro’s internal investigators, Vernon Branco, and two of his deputy prosecutors, Chasid Sapolu and Jake Delaplane, both of whom have come under scrutiny during Wheat’s ongoing criminal investigation….

Karen Nakasone, a state court judge, threw out Kaneshiro’s case against Mau in 2017, saying it was “highly unusual,” “irregular” and a “threat to the judicial process.”…

Silvert said Wheat appears to be trying to get someone at Mitsunaga & Associates to start talking about the company’s relationship with Kaneshiro, but based on the actions of Koya and others it seems like he might not be getting the cooperation he desires.

“Everybody is playing hardball here and I know Mr. Wheat gets more energized when you play hardball,” Silvert said. “He takes it as a personal challenge so it may not be the right approach to try dampening the investigation into what’s happened here….

read … Federal Investigation Into Keith Kaneshiro Picks Up

Conventions pull out of Hawaii due to COVID restrictions

SA: … The Hawai‘i Convention Center has lost a lucrative 17,000-person American Association of Orthodontists meeting to Miami because the state could not guarantee what its COVID-related travel restrictions and social distancing requirements would look like next spring….

“AAO was a huge loss for our state. Their meeting planner needed to know today what she needed to plan for in April,” Orton said. “I couldn’t guarantee her, nor could anyone in government, that there won’t be restrictions.”

So the orthodontists are taking their convention to Miami….

Added to that is the fear that the counties could implement a 30% hike, or 3-percentage-point increase, in the transient accommodations tax, which could drive up hotel prices, hitting the group business segment hard, said Stephanie Donoho, administrative director of the Kohala Coast Resort Association….

SA: City’s tier system looks only forward

read … Conventions pull out of Hawaii due to COVID restrictions

Maui Police Department looking for new chief after Chief Tivoli S. Faaumu steps down

SA: … The Maui chief’s position pays $158,851 a year, and the minimum qualifications include U.S. citizenship and five years of experience in law enforcement with at least three years spent in an administrative capacity. Applications must be submitted by July 12.

The nine-member Maui Police Commission has responsibility for appointing the police chief….

read … Maui Police Department looking for new chief after Chief Tivoli S. Faaumu steps down

$11M Program Houses 181 Homeless So far

SA: … A new program called Oahu Housing Now began placing homeless clients into market- rate rental units in April using nearly $11 million in new federal COVID-19 funds….

since April, Oahu Housing Now has found homes for 74 households comprising 181 people. The goal is to house over 300 households by Sept. 1.

(DO THE MATH:  $11M / 300 = $36,667 per person / 12 mos = $3055.per month or $12,222 per month for a family of four)

So far, 33 of the families have minor children; and 33% of the clients are Native Hawaiian, and another 29% are Pacific Islanders.

Many came out of homeless shelters or homeless encampments, Morishige said….

KITV: Pastor Kim's goal is to build 100-sheds for the homeless by the end of the year.

read … Search is on for landlords to house homeless on Oahu

Bumfight Leads to 10-Year Prison Sentence

MN: … A witness described seeing Borge holding a wooden stick or club and hitting Brossart once to cause him to fall on his knees, Deputy Prosecutor Mike Kagami said. “He was no longer a danger” when he was hit a second time and fell back, Kagami said when the sentencing hearing began May 21.

Brossart’s injuries included “a brain bleed, numerous cuts about the head and face and numerous fractures to the head and face area,” Kagami said.

“It’s not your ordinary assault,” he said in arguing for Borge to be sentenced to prison. “This is probably the worst one without someone dying.”

Appearing by videoconference from North Dakota for the hearing last month, Colleen Brossart said, “Briar’s lucky to be alive.”

She said her son’s head was bashed in, and he was in a coma for 17 days and in the hospital intensive care unit for 30 days.

After being in and out of the hospital for a year and a half, the 27-year-old lives in a long-term nursing home and is unable to speak except to say yes and no, his mother said. She said he can walk but has trouble lifting one arm because of a stroke….

Defense attorney Hayden Aluli asked for Borge to be placed on probation.

He said Borge has no criminal record.

Since he was released on supervision in July, Borge has been involved in outpatient drug treatment, Aluli said.

“He is really doing well,” Aluli said. “He’s going to change his life from a homeless addicted community out in Paia to really strive to be a contributing member of society.”…

“The victim in this case, Mr. Brossart, has been reduced to a giggling dullard, an imbecile,” Kawano said. “I don’t say that to insult him. I say that just to have you know that his life has been destroyed. He’s barely capable of responding to just yes or no questions.”…

read … More Homeless Mayhem

Will Supreme Court Stop University Discrimination Against Asians?

AP: … The justices today put off a decision about whether they will hear an appeal claiming that Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants, in a case that could have nationwide repercussions. The court asked the Justice Department to weigh in on the case, a process that typically takes several months….

The presence of three appointees of former President Donald Trump could prompt the court to take up the case, even though it’s been only five years since its last decision in a case about affirmative action in higher education.

In that Texas case, the court reaffirmed in a 4-3 decision that colleges and universities may consider race in admissions decisions. But they must do so in a narrowly tailored way to promote diversity, the court said in a decision that rejected the discrimination claims of a white applicant. Schools also bear the burden of showing why their consideration of race is appropriate.

Two members of that four-justice majority are gone from the court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September. Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018.

The three dissenters in the case, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, remain on the court. Roberts, a moderating influence on some issues, has been a steadfast vote to limit the use of race in public programs, once writing, “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.” …

read … Supreme Court defers Harvard case on race in college admissions

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