Thursday, July 3, 2008


KIBBLE AND BITS: Well we’ve seen it all now. As absurd as the political parrying over the proposed Honolulu rail system has been until now it appears that the Governor has done a political 180 and is going to sign the petition being circulated by the anti-rail people to get the matter on the O`ahu ballot in November.

Let’s see... a brand new transportation system that’s being forced on people who don’t want it, costs hundreds of millions of dollars in a boondoggling scheme by a corrupt administration where the issues are ignored and the whole thing has degenerated into a , partisan, name-calling, NIMBY clash with everyone trying to tell those who don’t want it they’re just selfish, backward and against progress.

It reminds us of something.... can’t quite place it... Oh well, it looks like Mufi’s unified command will be able to push it through regardless of Lingle’s provincial misgivings. Maybe Hanaman should get Barry Fukunaga to help.

Ya gotta say one thing about Linda- she’s consistently inconsistent.


Also in the news today is a report of a threat by whale-artist-turned-developer Wyland to buy and re-establish Coco Palms as a hotel despite recent moves to form a partnership and turn the former royal grounds into a Hawaiian cultural park and preserve the location in perpetuity (Honolulu Advertiser: Sunday, January 13, 2008 A Boost for Hawaii land preservation- link no longer available)

Given Wyland’s past reputation for lack of sensistivity to local culture it should be no surpirse that he isn’t waiting to see, or more likely isn’t even aware of- the plans which have involved talks with the Office of Hawaiian affairs, legislative leaders on Kaua`i private organizations and Hawaiian cultural practitioners and activists.

But also in the article is this bit of history revision which in this case is more like the reality of the situation that caused the property to be up for sale after a recent failed development venture.

Coco Palms Ventures, which bought the Wailua resort in 2006 for $12.3 million and put the 18.8-acre property up for sale last September, shelved plans to restore the resort made famous in Elvis Presley's film "Blue Hawaii" in favor of other projects on the East Coast and due to a slowdown in the residential resort market.

For those who might have forgotten the “two local guys from Princeville” who were developing the property turned out to be huge Maryland based shopping center builders and land speculators Richard Weiser and Walt Petrie of the Weiser Companies, Inc. and Petrie Ventures.

When the bottom fell out of the real estate market a couple of years back their speculative development businesses there went sour and they could no longer afford their little Kaua`i venture. So to get out of it without being sued they insisted on putting in a spa in an area where they were told and knew they couldn’t develop.

Then they apparently falsely claimed that they had to abandon the project, not because they no longer had the money but because the spa was “essential” to the resort and they couldn’t go forward without it.

This put dozens of local real estate agents and others who put time and energy into selling units there not just out of business but unpaid- in many cases for more than a year of work.

Not the least of these was real estate agent and former Mayor Marianne Kusaka who, according to a very reliable source, told the source that she had to return millions of dollars in advance money when the project went belly up.

Kusaka publicly denied she was “out there looking for a commission, or looking to sell condos”. but basically ran the sales office where the sales people worked for her without getting paid after the project “fell through”.


Finally today someone mentioned another reason Kaipo Asing might have to take the Mayor’s job temporarily- his pension. Right now it’s based on a salary in the 30 some-odd thousand a year range. Even a short stint at the mayor’s job- at 75 grand- would seriously bump up his retirement payments under the County’s pension scheme.

And yesterday we erred in forgetting the top person who could be out of a job Dec. 1- Gary Heu, the Administrative Assistant and current temporary Mayor.


Anonymous said...

Your description of the monies being returned was a bit vague. The millions were sales deposits being refunded, not commissions to Kusaka. No doubt she and the other worker bees got min wage + a promise. Now that the promise is gone, no cash.

I hear the real killer was undergrounding the utilities. Couldn't be done in the time they had to complete the job before all those deposits could be withdrawn. You've got to figure 50%+ were flippers based on the cancellation rates I've heard on other projects here. There's still roughly 15% of Waipouli Beach resort unsold and another 20% would love to escape.

Anonymous said...

the mayor's salary for this year is $107,000, rising by 7% in each of the next two years barring further action by the salary commission.

Andy Parx said...

Thanks for the $107,000 figure- I should never trust info on the county web site.

The sales team in fact did not receive a penny according to two sources very close to the team and others peripherally involved. The deal was that they were working together and were to split a payment giving each an equal share when it was over.

Kusaka received her advance payment personally and had to return it. I’ve heard two slightly different numbers so cannot confirm- and so am reluctant to report- exactly how many millions were involved. Her payment was separate from the sales team as I understand it.

Anonymous said...

Even if your rumors are true, I rather doubt any advance payment came to millions. It's not like she's some crackerjack real estate sale agent or even someone with power any more to get permits throught etc.