Friday, July 25, 2008


YOU GOT A PERMIT FOR THAT BONE?: Well it’s only taken the State a few years but it appears that Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Tom Finnegan has uncovered the existence of a secret investigative grand jury that may actually pursue criminal charged against convicted land-rapist and alleged murderer Jimmy Pflueger.

The article also says that former Mayor Marianne Kusaka may finally get her come-uppance and share a cell with Pflueger if he lives long enough to land in one, especially given his penchant for spending the family fortune on attorneys.

Kusaka could face obstruction charges if not conspiracy for her role in allegedly stopping county workers from stopping Pflueger’s illegal activities.

But it remains to be seen, not as much how many people the grand jury calls, but who they hear from since they may not know many who might have valuable information

Because there are at least a few “friends of Jimmy” out there who saw Pflueger in action when he created his “water-skiing lakes” and one “acquaintance” spoke to us a few years back.

Our source, who has asked we not use his or her name for fear of retaliation, told us that Pflueger regularly regaled both our source and disgraced former Kaua`i business honcho Gary Baldwin with how he had turned all reservoirs in the area on his land into lakes for water skiing during the 90’s- all without any permits.

Both Baldwin and Pflueger were in the auto business and our source suggested that others in the rent-a car and car sales business were friendly with Pflueger and might also be able to provide information under subpoena.

The source told us that during a social visit with Pflueger bulldozers and land moving equipment were ubiquitous on Pflueger’s properties.

And our source reported that Pflueger bragged about how he had been busy over the years moving land to raise the level of his “water-skiing lakes” to allow for better rides- and even took them to see the activity.

Is Baldwin- who was known to be a prime go-between for Kusaka and Pflueger and who has paid his dues for a con-job before he came to Kaua`i and now reportedly lives in the northwest- going to be called by the grand jury?

We don’t know but would strongly suggest they find out what he knows.

Pflueger’s responsibility for the Pila`a mudslide, where a storm washed down a mountain on the Marvin Family’s beach kuleana land after Pflueger illegally grubbed and graded a mountain creating a new road, was extensively documented in hours, days and weeks of community and government official’s testimony before the County Council early in the decade.

That resulted in the largest EPA fine in history for among other things killing the reef at Pila`a beach.

Parenthetically, it also led to a new grubbing and grading ordinance that has never been “activated”. Despite Department of Public Works (DPW) guarantees that they would set a short timetable for creating administrative rules to implement the ordinance they never have.

But included in those hearings and viewings of what became know as the “Developer’s Gone Wild” videos were details of illegal activity throughout Pflueger’s lands..

A review of the tapes and transcripts of the meetings would certainly provide the grand jury with a plethora of evidence of Pflueger’s habit of re-designing the land and reservoirs without any engineering plans or permits.

Although Kusaka has reportedly been called to testify we wonder how many DPW employees with knowledge of Pflueger’s illegal activities- the ones who apparently did “get the memo” from Kusaka telling them not to investigate but didn’t tell the authorities about it- will be called to tell what they know and when they knew it under oath.

Many of the statements by Kusaka allies in the DPW such as county engineer Caesar Portugal and others like Wally Kudo and Ian Costa came after pointed questions by then Council member Gary Hooser and are damning to say the least.

Throughout the months of testimony they repeatedly attempted to make excuses for why they hadn’t shut down Pflueger’s apparent and apparently illegal operations.

Despite testimony of violations that had been seen and even photographed they failed to even charge Pflueger with obvious violations of the county’s grubbing and grading ordinance which requires engineering studies and permitting in order to do the kind and scope of work Pflueger was doing.

Hooser and dozens in the public were incredulous with their “he won’t give us permissions to look” excuse to the point where it would have neared comedy if it wasn’t tragic- such as when the suggestion was made that they go up in a helicopter for a look and they responded “oh- that’s a good idea”.

Or like when it was suggested they did have the right to inspect properties with probable cause to believe violations had occurred their response was “oh we never do that” despite the fact that inspectors of all stripes commonly enter properties after going through the proper procedures during every council meeting for many months.

And, oh - all this happened before the Ka Loko dam break.

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