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Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Cocaine News: Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi Obtains Divorce -- After Trying to Keep Case Records Secret
By Andrew Walden @ 11:52 PM :: 17774 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics, First Amendment, Judiciary, Drugs

Rise and Fall of a Cocaine Ring: A chart of cocaine abuse in Honolulu shows sharp increase from 1990-1997 then a sharp decline about the time the Cocaine Ring was busted. Source

by Andrew Walden, September 24, 2020 -- Updated March 16, 2022

Calling her marriage to convicted drug dealer and “political consultant” Chad Tsuneyoshi “irretrievably broken”, Honolulu Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi is filing for divorce.  (Case: 1DV201007348) 

But she doesn’t want you to know.

(UPDATE March 16, 2022: The Tsuneyoshis have been granted an uncontested divorce effective March 3, 2022, according to Court records.  Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi did not respond to a request for comment.  The divorce was finalized just nine days after Heidi Tsuneyoshi announced she would seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination.)

In her suit, July 24, 2020, Councilmember Tsuneyoshi invoked “HCRR Rule 9” to seal case records. 

(According to Mrs Tsuneyoshi’s complaint, the couple has two children together, but both are over age 18.) 

It worked until Judge Brian A Costa, September 11, 2020, ruled on a request to unseal the record:

…the Court has reviewed the Complaint and it does not appear that it contains confidential information pursuant to Hawai'i Revised Statutes§§ 571-11 and 571-84, or Rule 2.19 of the Hawai'i Court Records Rules (hereinafter "HCRR").

…it appears that the Complaint may have been filed in the confidential section of the. file in error, and that the requirements of HCRR Rule 9 have not been followed.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs counsel shall review the Complaint to determine if it contains personal and/ or confidential information and if so, counsel shall submit a motion by no later than September 17, 2020….

Judge Costa was mistaken about one thing.  The Rule 9 filing was not “in error.” 

Responding to the court, lawyer Ann S Isobe, representing Heidi Tsuneyoshi, argues for the case to be kept secret, explaining:

“…the request for access has been made by reporter Nick Grube from Honolulu Civil Beat….

“… As the Court is well aware, Civil Beat is a non-profit news organization. They describe themselves as "watchdog and investigative journalists which keep the community informed on issues of public importance such as police accountability, (i~e. "the Kealoha · investigation, police accountability, the rail project, Covid-19 pandemic, etc.) Nick Grube is one of City (sic) Beat's most prominent journalists (Washington D.C. correspondent)….

“…Significantly, Plaintiff is a prominent City Council member. Her husband is a political consultant. Therefore, her position on the City Council would pique the interest of this new (sic) organization. However, her personal life should not be the subject matter of the news media….

“To allow the reporter to get into the Divorce files and beyond would not serve any purpose except to fuel gossip mongering….

“Without establishing the relevancy and probative nature of his request, Nick Grube and Civil Beat are simply going on a fishing expedition at this point. …”

This is what your elected officials think about freedom of the press.

The mention of “gossip” must be ironic humor.  Most Hawaii media organizations have gone out of their way to avoid mentioning the fact that Chad Tsuneyoshi is a convicted drug dealer and federal ex-con.

Judge Costa ordered the case unsealed September 21, 2020.

Read the entire case file here:

PDF: Tsuneyoshi Divorce Case File, Pt 2 of Tsuneyoshi Case File



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