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Tuesday, November 22, 2022
November 22, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:47 PM :: 2277 Views

Does anyone really believe stadium project will pan out?

Hawaii Sent At Least 10 Foster Children To An Abusive Home At The Center Of A Drug Ring

CB: … At least a decade ago, Hawaii Child Welfare Services starting sending foster children to live in the Hilo home of Yvonne and Paul Caitano. The Caitanos eventually adopted five of them, which allowed them to take in five more foster children, according to one of the adopted kids..,..

But in 2018, the idyllic picture was shattered by accusations of abuse, raising questions about when state social workers got wind that something was amiss in a household taking in so many foster children. This account is based on federal and state court documents in cases involving the Caitanos, media accounts and an interview with one of the Caitanos’ adoptive children, who Civil Beat is not naming because she is a victim of alleged sexual abuse.

First, one of the children, after being returned to her biological parents, reported that Paul Caitano had sexually assaulted her. The 10 children were removed from the house and placed with other families or facilities. In April of this year, Paul Caitano was charged with 23 felony counts of sexually assaulting two girls in the household.

Eight months after the children were removed, Yvonne Caitano and four others were indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of illegally getting pharmacies to provide large amounts of opioids and powerful narcotics and illegally distributing them for profit.

The defendants included Dr. Ernest Bade, 80 years old at the time and later found to be incompetent to stand trial because of dementia, and four women who worked at his medical clinic — Caitano, her then-80-year-old mother, her adult daughter and an unrelated women. A federal judge, finding that office manager Caitano was at the heart of the operation, sentenced her in 2020 to five years in prison.

One aggravating factor was that one of the children living with the Caitanos, 14 years old at the time, was forced to take part in the drug operation. The girl was told to count out pills and put them in envelope for customers who drove to the house to buy them. If she miscounted the pills or the money, the girl reported, she’d get berated — or beaten….

The Bade drug ring garnered widespread media attention. But the Caitanos’ connection to the state’s foster care system has gone unexamined….

Clearly, the Caitanos’ role as foster parents was well-known in their community, as evidenced by letters written to the federal court judge pleading for leniency for Yvonne Caitano.

“Through the years, I have witnessed Yvonne conduct herself in a loving and nurturing manner – from fostering five children to later adopting them and giving them the loving home” that they lacked, one wrote. “In addition to her five children, Yvonne has always been there for many other less fortunate children.”

The teenager who spoke to Civil Beat took a different view. When her adoptive parents got into trouble, she said, “I was happy. It was a start to them getting what they gave us all those years.”…

The department would not respond to most questions, citing a provision of Hawaii law that keeps the identity of foster parents confidential. Specifically, the department would not say when it first got reports of abuse in the Caitano household….

read … Hawaii Sent At Least 10 Foster Children To An Abusive Home At The Center Of A Drug Ring

Former IBEW Local 1260 boss found guilty of fraud, embezzlement

SA: … A former union boss indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2019 for rigging a dues hike vote and using his members’ money to pay for his family’s lavish lifestyle was found guilty on all counts this afternoon.

After a four-week long jury trial before before Senior U. S. District Judge Helen Gillmor, Brian Ahakuelo, 61, the former business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1260, and his wife, Marilyn Ahakuelo, 59, were found guilty of one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, and 42 counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The couple was also convicted of embezzlement of a labor union asset, six counts for Brian and three for Marilyn, which each carry a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Brian Ahakuelo was also convicted of 19 counts of money laundering, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Marilyn’s sister, Jennifer Estencion, was found not guilty of conspiracy and 42 counts of wire fraud.

“The extensive testimony and voluminous documentary evidence produced during this trial supports the just and important verdict of guilt returned by the jury as to Brian and Marilyn Ahakuelo,” said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors, in a news release….

read … Former IBEW Local 1260 boss found guilty of fraud, embezzlement

City Hires Collection Agency to target TVRs

SA: … Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi put owners and operators of illegal vacation rentals on notice Monday that the city is hiring a collection agency to handle the fines —up to $10,000 per day.

The move is a major part of the tougher enforcement policies outlined in Ordinance 22-7 (Bill 41), which took effect in October.

“We have retained and are in the process of finalizing our own collection agency on this, which is something that the city hadn’t had before, and so we are playing hardball and I expect we are going to have some very strong results in the weeks and months ahead,” Blangiardi said.

Blangiardi said working with debt collection company Municipal Debt Collections is in addition to other enforcement efforts by the city Department of Planning and Permitting, which has dedicated a seven-person investigative team to monitor compliance. The city also has software that actively scans advertisements on websites to find violators, he said.

“It actually clears 60 websites a day,” Blangiardi said. “We’ve worked also closely with Airbnb and Expedia … not to have them advertising illegal vacation rentals. Thus far, we are getting good cooperation.”…

read … City to ramp up enforcement of fines for illegal Oahu vacation rentals

Lawyers clean up all details: ‘Unprecedented’ number of medical complaints among those exposed to Red Hill fuel

HNN: … While the Navy’s water is now deemed safe to drink by state health regulators and the Navy, military leaders described other problems.

“One of our biggest battles right now is the battle against misinformation,” said Dr. Jennifer Espiritu, chief of public health at Tripler Army Medical Center.

She says her own children went to a public school that was impacted by the tainted water.

Medical leaders say there’s no evidence so far of long term-illnesses from drinking the water that was contaminated with jet fuel, but added a simple test can’t diagnose a direct link.

Espiritu also says she’s battling medical “misinformation” and that illnesses like cancer take decades to show up.

“I’ve been posed with the question why can’t I perform an examination or a test on someone that tells me why they are having their symptoms and whether it’s related to the jet fuel exposure that happened a year ago,” Espiritu said.

“There is not a magic test that does that and I don’t know why there is a perception that there is.”

Early in the crisis, military medical teams saw 6,000 people for illnesses. Now military officials say an unspecified and “unprecedented number” of patients are complaining of skin, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and neurological issues.

Military leaders acknowledge frustration over delays in medical care for service members and that concerns over a policy gap went up to the Department of Defense.

“For civilians that are on the water distribution system and reservists that they can’t get medical care,” said Wade.

The Defense Health Agency plans to open a local clinic for patients with potential jet fuel exposures.

“People are absolutely having health care problems. That I believe. People deserve to be seen, that I believe with all my heart. Whether the two are connected, we can’t make that leap now,” said Espiritu….

SA: Military plans health clinic in response to Red Hill

KITV: Hawaii family continues to suffer physically, financially from Red Hill fuel leak

read … Military: ‘Unprecedented’ number of medical complaints among those exposed to Red Hill fuel

Legislative Agenda: We can sell a Carbon Tax Pyramid Scheme if we call it ‘Carbon Cashback’

SA: … The funding for the carbon rebates would be generated by a carbon tax levied on companies that import fossil fuels to Hawaii…. 

(Translation: Its a pyramiding fuel tax hike which will impact drivers, airlines, businesses, agriculture, hotel, and electricity costs.)

CB: ‘Carbon Cashback’ Bill, Or Just Another Tax?

IM: Hawai`i Carbon Tax Promotes Imports Over Local Production -- All locally produced products would cost more because farmers and commercial product producers would have to pay more for fuel and electricity. Imports would have embedded fuel and electricity costs that would not be affected by the carbon tax.

read … Carbon cashback rebates for all residents, for years to come

Transparency at HPD questioned after rising violent crime stats kept out of Waikiki safety summit talk

HNN: … In August, a gun scare in Waikiki sent beachgoers in a panic as an erratic suspect threatened officers. There was a similar scene in March when police took down a man threatening bystanders with a knife.

Residents say crimes like these involving violent offenders are happening far too often.

“We’re swarming with these chronic troublemakers,” said resident John Deutzman. “It’s so many of them that you can’t walk down the street without running into one of them.”

But if you attended the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s Waikiki Safety Summit last week you might have left with an entirely different impression of crime in the state’s no. 1 tourist destination.

Honolulu police presented a slideshow showing that burglaries, car break-ins, catalytic converter thefts, robberies and assault are all down in Waikiki compared to last year.

According to the data HPD shared, theft was the only crime that had risen.

It’s a story that made headlines in the paper.

But after a closer look at HPD’s PowerPoint, Hawaii News Now noticed data for many violent crimes was missing. Offenses like murder, felony assault, felony sex assault and weapons violations ― all of which are up in Waikiki.

In fact, HNN obtained an internal memo from HPD’s Crime Analysis Unit comparing this year’s statistics to last year.

It shows from Jan. 1, 2022 through Nov. 11, the number of felony assaults in Waikiki increased 42% compared to the same time last year ― jumping from 78 to 111….

Data also shows a spike in felony sex assaults in the tourist district. They’re up 43%, from 56 to 80.

Weapons violations, meanwhile, increased 12% year over year (from 33 to 37).

There were also two murders in Waikiki so far this year, compared to one over the same period last year….

PDF: Public Safety Briefing

read … Transparency at HPD questioned after rising violent crime stats kept out of Waikiki safety summit talk

Officer in Makaha crash case granted city lawyer

SA: … The chase reportedly began shortly after 3 a.m. Sept. 12, 2021, after the three officers broke up a party at Maili Beach Park and then allegedly followed a Honda sedan driven by Perkins-­Sinapati. Nahulu, driving a subsidized police vehicle, allegedly led Smith and Bartolome, who were driving blue-and-white marked patrol cars, on the pursuit.

According to court documents and attorneys for the plaintiffs, none of the officers turned on their lights, sirens or directed Perkins-Sinapati to stop driving before allegedly bumping the back of the Honda and causing the crash in which the occupants were ejected.

Gouveia’s attorney, Eric Seitz, has said Nahulu had an ongoing feud with Perkins-­Sinapati, which allegedly prompted the car chase.….

read … Officer in Makaha crash case granted city lawyer

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