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Tuesday, November 7, 2023
November 7, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:14 PM :: 3549 Views

Homeowner Politics and Housing Supply

USACE awards $53 million contract to Pono Aina Management for temporary elementary school construction

Insurance Division: Nearly $700M Paid on Maui Wildfire Claims

Democratic Party Selects Three Names to Send to Governor Green for Senate District 5 Vacancy

Special prosecutor back in Hawaii -- Which politician will he arrest next?

HNN: … The special prosecutor assigned to weed out public corruption in Honolulu eight years ago is back before a federal grand jury, spurring talk about more charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat has been before the panel several times recently.

“Mr. Wheat only comes to town when there’s business to be done,” said Victor Bakke, a deputy city prosecutor turned defense attorney….

Wheat’s return to the panel “means there’s even more information or allegations of corruption.”…

Wheat is currently prosecuting former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and employees of engineering firm Mitsunaga and Associates, a business with strong political ties.

Kaneshiro, Dennis Mitsunaga, Terri Ann Otani, Aaron Fujii, Chad McDonald and Sheri Jean Tanaka are all charged with conspiracy. That trial is set for February.

Then in October, Wheat will lead a team of assistant U.S. attorneys in another conspiracy trial against even more former Honolulu administrators, ex-city Managing Director Roy Amemiya, ex-corporation counsel Donna Leong and Max Sword, once the chair of the police commission.

Wheat’s grand jury appearances lately have Bakke and Kau thinking there could be additional charges against current defendants or new arrests connected to previous cases….

The legal experts do not believe Wheat is starting a whole new case.

One possibility: Katherine Kealoha’s former attorney, Kevin Sumida, who allegedly committed perjury while testifying at her trial.

Wheat provided video evidence to the court then to show that Sumida took documents while on the stand then allegedly lied under oath about it.

Usually, the statute of limitations for this would expire in June 2024….

read … Appearance of special prosecutor spurs talk of expanding corruption probe

Mafia News: Sabrina Grace Claims She Was Robbed at Gunpoint in Gameroom

KITV: … About eight months ago, Sabrina Grace was held at gunpoint at a game room, (uhhhh…) trying to help a woman get her property back (yeah, right).

(CLUE: Game room owner at somebody else’s gameroom demanding money.  What happens next?)

“The boy had told me, if I didn’t give the key to the safe and the games, which it wasn’t (one of) my game room(s) so I don’t have, then he was going to kill me,” said Grace. “It’s very scary when someone pulls a gun at you.” 

(Really Obvious Question: Connected to cockfight killings?)

On Monday, Nov. 6, Grace participated at a gun violence rally at Honolulu Hale to ask county officials for change. Many other locals were in attendance including Sen. Kurt Fevella. They were calling on the mayor and other county representatives to help end gun violence in our communities….

REPLY: Gun Violence: Westside Legislators Push Back Against Grace, Fevella

read … Gun violence rally calls out city officials at Honolulu Hale

Lahaina: Damage to Water System will be Excuse to Block Rebuilding

CB: … Rebuilding the water system is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and could be a limiting factor in rebuilding the town….

Testing will be followed by a mass flushing of the system until the water runs clean. Approximately 2,200 service lines were impacted and may need to be replaced.

Restoring the system could take two to three years and could hold up redevelopment efforts, according to John Stufflebean, the director of Maui County’s Department of Water Supply who based the estimate on other comparable wildfire disasters. …

“People wouldn’t be able to live there until the water system is back in place,” he said. “In other cases, that was the limiting factor, getting water back into the areas.”

Waiting that long to rebuild will be “disastrous” for Lahaina families who will probably, in the meantime, have to pay the mortgages on their burnt properties as well as rent elsewhere, according to John Sarter, whose Puapihi Street rental property burned down in the blaze.

“I worry a lot of the families that have been here for generations are just going to give up,” he said. “If people get delayed two to three years, they’re going to go bankrupt.”

Sarter, a longtime general contractor, is hoping the restoration of the water infrastructure can happen in tandem with rebuilding efforts….

“There is no reason it can’t happen concurrently,” he said.

Either way, bringing the water system back into service won’t be cheap.

A rough estimate is approximately $80 million, Stufflebean said….

($80M = One more make-work ‘toxic clean-up’ contract for a politically connected 8a Corp..  But we cant pay to rebuild the water system?)

read … It Will Be Years Before Clean Water Is Restored In Lahaina - Honolulu Civil Beat

Maui County Plans to Hire 3 Law Firms to Defend Itself In Fire Lawsuits

IM: … Maui County wants to hire three law firms to defend itself from the approximately 50 lawsuits naming the county as a potentially liable entity in the Maui Fires of August 2023.

The County`s liability could be several billion dollars based on its lack of addressing the 2018 Lahaina fire and its 2023 pre-fire, fire, and post-fire responses.

The law firms are Honolulu-based McCorriston Miller Mukai Mackinnon, California-based Meyers Nave, and Dallas, Texas based Baron & Budd.

Maui Corporation Counsel Victoria J. Takayesu identified the three law firms in a letter sent to Maui County Council Chair Alice L. Lee on October 20, 2023.

A hearing will be held by the Maui County Council`s Government Relations, Ethics, and Transparency Committee on Monday, November 13, 2023 at 9 a.m….

read … Maui County Plans to Hire 3 Law Firms to Defend Itself In Fire Lawsuits

Online scammers target EBT recipients causing them to lose hundreds of dollars in food stamps

KITV: … Dozens of Oahu residents who rely on the Hawaii State's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) said they were hacked. Now, they are out hundreds of dollars in food stamps.

The issue has been circling around social media. Recipients said it is preventing them from buying food.

A Kaneohe resident who asked to remain anonymous told Island News she lost more than $1,700 in a matter of minutes. She said she receives a little more than $2,000 a month in snap benefits for her family of six and now has less than $300 left.

She said she was one of the luckier ones. Some families had as little as $1 left in their accounts and they found out as they were at local grocery stores buying food for their children.

“I didn’t think it was possible to scam EBT cards. I’m still baffled how they did that online and without the physical card. Our card is still in our possession,” she said.

All her purchases were made at a Sam's Club. She knows the time and date but not which specific location.

The head of Benefits and Employment for the State's Department of Human Services said they are investigating the issue. Scott Morishige asks all residents who have been affected to be patient as they are working on issuing new cards. …

SA: Food benefits stolen from 242 EBT cardholders in Hawaii 

KHON: More than 200 EBT accounts compromised by thieves | KHON2

DHS: Department of Human Services | EBT Fraud Alert – November 2023 (hawaii.gov)

read … Online scammers target EBT recipients causing them to lose hundreds of dollars in food stamps

Lahaina Fire News:

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