David C. Farmer, Successor-Trustee vs. Harmon
(Formerly Woo vs. Harmon & Nicholson vs. Harmon)
CV05-00030 DAE KSC
U.S. District Court For the District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
Steven Alm is the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii; brought indictment against Bumpy Kanahele; prosecuted cases involving Kamehameha Schools’ trustees and employees, and the Sukamto Sia bankruptcy fraud case.
Steven Alm is the brother of Robert Alm, Sr. VP of Public Affairs for Hawaiian Electric Company.
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (December 13, 2007):
February 19, 2002
Extraordinary Heroes and Scoundrels of Hawaii -
Edward Kubo Total Power Corrupts: Highest Law Enforcement Officer Real, Real Busy
By Malia Zimmerman
Edward Kubo, 48, as the state’s newly appointed United States attorney and highest law enforcement officer, has his work cut out for him.
As one of only 92 in this same position throughout the nation, reporting directly to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, Kubo oversees in Hawaii and surrounding territories prosecution of international drug traffickers, Internet crime and child pornography, and crimes against visitors and the military. But the most complicated cases come by way of more than 40 years of one-party rule in Hawaii and political corruption that inevitably follows.
Kubo has more independence to pursue the political corruption in the state, simply because he is not tied to the party in power. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican, and that is a considerably different situation from his predecessor Steve Alm, who had every reason to go after "safe" political corruption, or corruption that did not go too close to the top.
Alm was noted more for his work on weed and seed, or cleaning up communities from drug dealers, than for busting high-profile political powers that be. That focus was rewarded well by incumbent Democrat Gov. Benjamin Cayetano who recently appointed Alm a state judge over many other qualified candidates.
But if there was ever a time for a U.S. attorney to come to the rescue, it is now. Especially with every political office up for re-election in 2002 as mandated in the state constitution. The shake-up is breeding panic amongst long-time incumbents who want to find a place to continue their career in politics, and that panic is creating a money and power grab with more momentum than ever before.
The fanatical activity building everyday in Hawaii’s political arena is keeping Kubo busy, at work 7-days-a-week. Since he took office Jan. 4, 2002, the U.S. attorney’s office has taken on several major cases involving political corruption including some of the largest cases ever taken on by federal investigators.
Take the state Legislative Auditor’s report exposing abuse of federal and state funds set aside for special needs children. The state so far has spent $1.4 billion since 1994 to meet the Felix consent decree, or educational needs of special-needs children, much that is untraceable.
Questions are arising in state’s other than Hawaii including North Carolina, where federal investigators indicted Lenore Behar, who was appointed by U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra to set up and monitor Hawaii’s Felix program. Behar was under indictment for 46 counts of stealing federal and state monies from a similar program for children in her home state. She plead guilty in December 2001 to one count.
Besides the missing money and misappropriations relating to Felix and special education, there is the investigation into Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, who is accused of using state and federal funds to pay off contributors through city contracts and for demanding those who receive contracts pay up or lose out. The investigation, involving several city, state and federal agencies, goes right to the heart of the corruption in the Democratic Party and the way the Democratic machine is funded.
Then there is voter fraud and voting irregularities, including an absentee ballot system abused in 1998 and 2000, naturally ignored by Kubo’s predecessor. There is the 40,000-page document in the state Campaign Spending office and the state attorney general’s office documenting wide-spread campaign funding raising abuse and bribery by former Bishop Estate trustees involving many of the people still in office today.
After being under investigation himself for more than a year, including federal screenings, interviews with congress members and background checks, Kubo is ecstatic by the chance he has been given to make a difference in the place he was born, spent much of his childhood and raised his children.
He agreed to apply for the position of U.S. attorney after meeting and hearing President George W. Bush speak at the presidential inauguration in January 2001.
"I was approached by the Hawaii Bush Presidential Committee and asked if I would consider the position. Just after the inauguration, one of the best experiences in my lifetime, I agreed to seek the position. Just looking back on the inauguration and the speech the president gave, gives me goosebumps."
Kubo, the first public school graduate appointed to this position, for the last 30 years has put in considerable energy, enthusiasm and effort into his law enforcement career. After graduating from Waipahu High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he attended the University of San Diego School of Law, graduating in 1979. During law school, Kubo volunteered with the San Diego Legal Aid Society and interned with the University of San Diego Legal Clinic. Returning to Hawaii in 1979, he clerked for a year with Kobayashi, Watanabe, Sugita & Kawashima Attorneys at Law.
Deciding to take a stab at prosecution, he went to work for the City & County of Honolulu Prosecutor Toga Nakagawa for three years as a deputy city prosecuting attorney. For two years, from 1983 to 1985, he took a break from the prosecutor’s office and went to work in private practice as a senior associate trial attorney with Carlsmith & Dwyer Attorneys at Law. There he specialized in contract, personal injury and insurance litigation.
Charles Marsland, the first elected city prosecutor for the City & County of Honolulu, whom Kubo had worked for before, convinced Kubo to return to the city prosecutor’s office. In addition to his caseload, Kubo worked in two other aspects of law enforcement for several hours each day. He headed for 5 years the Jury Training Unit and was an instructor for police recruit classes and police refresher courses for the Honolulu Police Academy, teaching officers about the legalities of search and seizure laws, laws of arrest, and police testimony in court....
Then, 11 years ago, in December of 1990, Kubo made a decision that would change his life forever. He agreed to take on the job of assistant U.S. attorney offered to him by the then U.S. Attorney Dan Bent.
"My father was in the military and my mother was a substitute teacher. Because of what they taught me, I always believed in the importance of serving your country."
Many of the hundreds of cases Kubo has overseen, tried or assisted with, whether for the city or federal government, have left a lasting impression on him, especially those involving domestic violence or crimes involving minors. Many of the cases he’s overseen have made lasting changes on Hawaii’s case law.
One case in 1989 involved Boy Carvalho and his wife, whom Carvalho beat to death before the couple’s two children. The mother bled to death in Castle Medical Center, running the blood bank dry of 12 gallons of fluid before she died with 44 broken bones and knee caps shot off by a shot gun. But the defense used an unusual strategy to get Carvalho off the hook, by picking men only for the jury.
"The defense attorney began knocking off all women jurors. I objected based on a prior case that said jurors cannot be excluded because of race. I took the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court on a writ (legal demand for a specific action) and the Hawaii Supreme Court was the first in the nation to rule that women could not be excluded as a class."
Other cases Kubo took on as a deputy U.S. attorney include a case in 1999, United States vs. Kaisa Tai, et. al., where Kubo was the sole prosecutor assigned to the case involving an organized group of individuals who were transporting large quantities of both crystal methamphetamine and cocaine to Hawaii from Los Angeles, with some of the drugs destined to distributors in American Samoa. After a hard fought jury trial, two were convicted and sentenced, and one was acquitted, and the case is now on appeal....
The kinds of cases Kubo will now direct his assistant U.S. attorneys to take on are in line with that of the U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft, with the first priority being identifying and preventing terrorist attacks.
"9-11 has changed the priorities of the Bush administration and the federal government – with the number one priority being terrorism. The underlying priority for us is to make people safe, but to do so in a way that is balanced and fair and keeps in mind their liberties and rights."
Kubo also will focus on preventing gun violence by tracking down people who possess or sell firearms illegally and keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals. He’ll continue to address drug trafficking and addiction, help to prevent violence against military families and their property, and assist local authorities in their efforts to prevent attacks on visitors.
"I know there has been a great deal of crimes focused on the military people here and we are stepping up the effort to protect them and their families. This is important to me, probably because of my background growing up with a father in the military."
Kubo’s upbringing, partially in Germany because his father was transferred there twice in his youth to that snowy country, was different from most of his peers. His family moved every three years, and so he transferred to various new schools, including schools in Germany, where he spent third through fifth grade and his first three years of high school.
He took care of his own family, settling down in 1979 to raise three children: Diana, 22, Dawn, 20; and Ed, 19. He became a grandfather three years ago to Alayna.
"Today I carry my background with me. Because I suffered racial slurs in Germany, I learned to be more independent. My mother taught to be compassionate, to be fair and look at both sides. And my father, a U.S. Army veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, who retired as a Rank E-9 command sergeant major, taught me the importance of service to our country and getting the job done no matter what it took. These experiences and lessons are all going to help me with the tasks I’ll face in this job."
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Ed Kubo, United States Attorney, was the Prosecutor in the Lokelani Lindsey case; and in the theft, embezzlement and fraud case of former American Savings Bank assistant manager Marilyn DeMotta.
~ ~ ~
September 16, 1998
Federal agents have started
their own investigation into
Bishop Estate transactions
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
As a state grand jury investigation into the Bishop Estate begins its first day of testimony today, federal agents have started a separate grand jury investigation into estate-related matters.
The federal grand jury is focusing on political contributions involving former state Sen. Milton Holt, a Bishop Estate employee since 1987, whose 1996 campaign debts were paid for by local companies with business ties to the estate.
William McCorriston, attorney for the estate, said he recently delivered records subpoenaed by federal investigators for the grand jury. But he said he had no idea what witnesses or what additional records are being sought by the federal investigators.
Steven Alm, U.S. attorney, would not confirm or deny the federal grand jury proceedings. Reginald Minn, Holt's attorney, declined comment.
Holt, now a special-projects officer at the estate, was investigated by the FBI and the Honolulu Police Department after the state Campaign Spending Commission found that his unsuccessful 1996 campaign fund was missing $43,000.
The commission found that Holt loaned himself $11,000 and paid himself about $10,000 from his campaign funds.
Besides the federal criminal inquiry, Holt's alleged campaign violations are a likely target of the state's grand jury investigation, which has been convened at the request of state Attorney General Margery Bronster.
State investigators say Holt's campaign owed a combined $31,000 to local printer Ryan's Graphics and the Starr Seigle McCombs advertising agency.
But at the request of an estate employee, Holt's debts were paid off by five companies that received nonbid work from the estate, she said.
Sources have indicated that the state grand jury also is looking into allegations that two trustees -- Richard Wong and Henry Peters -- received kickbacks from Wong's brother-in-law Jeffrey Stone from a Hawaii Kai land deal.
Stone paid inflated prices for Makiki condos previously owned by Wong and Peters and, in return, the trustees gave Stone and his partners a sweetheart deal when they bought the 229-unit Kalele Kai upscale condominium project in Hawaii Kai, Bronster said.
Witnesses' testimony to the state grand jury was delayed this morning until the afternoon. One source close to the estate said the state grand jury had subpoenaed trustee Lokelani Lindsey as a witness.
The subpoena had implied the questioning would involve Peters' and Wong's role in the Kalele Kai project, the source said.
Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, declined comment yesterday when asked if Lindsey had been subpoenaed.
Yesterday, McCorriston responded to the kickback allegations, saying the estate did not give Stone and his partners a sweetheart deal.
The estate's interest in Kalele Kai had been dogged by financial problems relating to the project's original developer, California-based Bedford Properties.
But Bishop Estate later profited from the venture when Stone and his partners took over Kalele Kai and acquired the estate's interest at more than double its appraised value, McCorriston said.
"We know from the petition that the attorney general doesn't understand this business transaction," said McCorriston.
"It should worry everyone that some miscarriage of justice may be in place."
Hugh Jones, deputy attorney general, would not confirm whether the Kalele Kai transaction is a major part of the state's grand jury inquiry.
But he said the state wants to know how Wong and Peters were able to sell their high-end condos at above-market prices to Wong's brother-in-law who in turn profited from an estate deal in which he had little or no financial risk.
Renee Yuen, Peters' attorney, questioned the timing of the state grand jury, saying the state investigation is designed to boost Gov. Ben Cayetano's election efforts.
She believes Bronster is forcing the issue of a grand jury because federal officials won't likely reach an indictment in their grand jury before the November elections.
Bronster has denied that politics has played a role in her investigation, saying the timing has to do more with stonewalling and delay tactics by the estate.
As part of her yearlong investigation of the estate, Bronster last week petitioned the state probate court to remove at least three trustees, alleging they engaged in a pattern of self-dealing, cronyism and mismanagement.
~ ~ ~
Conflict of Interest with First Hawaiian Bank
and U.S. Attorney's Office?
Nation of Hawaii
Following is an excerpt of the Nation of Hawaii's letter to the Department of Justice, a paragraph regarding the relation of brothers Steven and Robert Alm, with Robert Alm's biography below.
Robert Alm is Senior Vice President of First Hawaiian Bank. Steven Alm is the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawai`i, who brought the indictment and political prosecution against Mr. [Bumpy] Kanahele last year.
The Nation of Hawaii believes that as the current United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, Mr. Steve Alm should be more forthcoming regarding his brother's current employment status with First Hawaiian Bank. The brother of US Attorney Steve Alm, Mr. Robert Alm, is currently Senior Vice-President at First Hawaiian Bank and has policy making responsibilities in financial management and other areas which could impact this case.
The Nation of Hawaii is concerned that this situation seems to indicate a possibility for self-dealing and the potential for a serious conflict-of-interest....
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August 31, 2000
Feds seek to deny Sia bail
following FBI arrest
By Peter Wagner, Star-Bulletin
A federal grand jury has indicted former Honolulu investor Sukamto Sia on charges that he knowingly hid nearly $8 million before declaring bankruptcy in late 1998 and thereafter spent $757,249 in tax refunds that should have gone to his bankruptcy estate, according to documents unsealed today.
Federal authorities today will ask that the Singapore businessman be held without bail pending trial in October.
"We view Mr. Sia as a flight risk," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Omer Poirier. "There's a large amount of money involved."
The 41-year-old Sia, a citizen of Singapore, was to appear before Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren today to seek bail. Kurren denied overnight bail yesterday during an arraignment hearing at which Sia pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Trial is scheduled Oct. 31 before Judge David Ezra.
Sia was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a bankruptcy creditors meeting in Honolulu yesterday, after a federal grand jury returned the indictment against him on three counts of fraud.
The maximum penalty for each charge is five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Yesterday's indictment alleges that Sia concealed $7.6 million of $20 million received in 1997 sale of a Gulfstream jet. It also charges that Sia spent two state tax refunds totaling $757,249 that should have gone to his bankruptcy trustee.
According to testimony during yesterday's creditors meeting, some of the tax money was spent on earrings and a diamond ring for Sia's mother, who lives in Singapore.
U.S. Attorney Steven Alm announced Sia's indictment at a news conference yesterday, saying Sia misled creditors by claiming in a recently filed amendment to his bankruptcy papers that the entire proceeds of the Dec. 15, 1997 sale of his private jet went to a lender called Finova Capital Corp.
Alm said only $10,164,873 went to Finova while $7,835,126 ended up in four Virgin Island companies owned by Sia.
John Edmunds, Sia's defense attorney, could not be reached for comment.
An undisclosed number of FBI agents closed in on Sia yesterday, surprising him as he sat in a downtown office during a scheduled meeting with creditors.
Government officials said multiple agents were needed in the arrest in case of a confrontation, since Sia is known to travel with several body guards.
Alm said the FBI took advantage of a rare appearance by Sia in Honolulu.
The creditors meeting, which began at about 9:30, was interrupted at about 11 a.m. when the agents entered the room and led the surprised Sia away.
"I got to about one-tenth of the questions I wanted to ask," said Steve Jones, an attorney hired by the bankruptcy trustee to investigate Sia's holdings. "I've got a lot more questions to ask."
Jones said Sia's arrest on criminal charges will have no effect on his bankruptcy, or on the trustee's continuing efforts to unearth hidden assets.
Sia's 1998 bankruptcy filing, initially a Chapter 11 reorganization, listed more than $296 million in debts and 9.3 million in assets. The Nov. 8 filing came a month after his arrest in Las Vegas for bouncing $13.5 million in checks at several casinos. The bankruptcy was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation last May.
Before the bankruptcy, Sia was the majority owner of the Bank of Honolulu, Hawaii's smallest bank.
The bankruptcy trustee gained control of Sia's 76 percent stake in the bank. Sia resigned his post of bank chairman shortly before the bankruptcy filing.
The trustee for several months has been looking for a buyer for Sia's shares through Sheshunoff & Co., a Texas bank broker.
Sia in September asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to dismiss the case, saying his worldwide creditors would be better off pursuing individual claims against him in Asian, European and American civil courts than trying to divide his meager bankruptcy assets.
But trustee Guido Giacometti, arguing against dismissal, charged Sia was hiding assets in undisclosed safe deposit boxes, unrecorded bank stocks, and millions of dollars in mortgage assets transferred to an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.
According to yesterday's indictment, Sia chaneled $7.8 million from the roughly $18 million sale of a Gulfstream G-IV aircraft to Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to four companies he did not disclose in bankruptcy filings. The companies are Arton PTE, Ltd.; Elevator Holding, Ltd.; Cyber Enterprises, Ltd.; and A-B-C Pacific, Ltd.
According to a filing in bankruptcy court last year, A-B-C was an insolvent corporation in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, controlled by insiders associated with Sia's numerous business interests.
The transactions took place in December of 1997, 11 months before Sia filed for bankruptcy in Honolulu in November of 1998. Under U.S. bankruptcy law, all transactions within a year of a bankruptcy filing are subject to the court's authority.
The grand jury indictment also alleges that Sia spent two state tax refund checks totaling $757,249 that were supposed to be deposited into the account of his bankruptcy estate.
One of the checks, for $468,338, was deposited into Sia's account at First American Bank on April 24, the government says.
According to the indictment, Sia's attorney, David Neale, explained in a July 5 letter to the trustee that "Sia had received the refund, believed it was his, kept it, spent it and cannot immediately pay it back."
Besides the Bank of Honolulu, Sia's local dealings also included selling the state the old Aloha Motors site on Kapiolani, where the Hawaii Convention Center now sits.
~ ~ ~
July 10, 1998
Alleged drug-debt murder punishable by death
A murder apparently committed over a $100 drug debt could lead to life in prison or perhaps even the death penalty for a man accused of being a career criminal.
A federal grand jury yesterday indicted Richard "China" Chong for murder, firearm and drug offenses in the shooting death of William Noa at a Makaha beach park in September of last year.
Because the murder was allegedly committed with a gun and involved drug trafficking, Chong could face the death penalty.
U.S. Attorney Steve Alm said he is still evaluating whether to recommend the death penalty....
~ ~ ~
July 25, 2000
lawyer to represent
The Texas man specializes
in death-penalty cases
By Debra Barayuga, Star-Bulletin
A federal magistrate has appointed Texas lawyer Richard Burr, an expert in capital punishment cases, to represent Richard Chong in his recent motion to withdraw his guilty plea and stand trial.
Burr represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh during his trial and more recently Eugene Frederick Boyce, a drifter who was found unfit to stand trial for the slaying of a Big Island park ranger last December.
Chong, charged in what would have been Hawaii's first death penalty case in decades, pleaded guilty under a plea agreement for using a firearm in the 1997 killing of William Noa Jr. in a drug-trafficking offense.
U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren said yesterday it would be appropriate that Chong be represented in his limited motion by a death-penalty-qualified attorney because of the seriousness of the case. He set a status conference for August 8 to set a date for Chong's motion.
Burr of Houston is expected to meet with Chong as early as next week. Honolulu attorney Birney Bervar has agreed to be co-counsel.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson had argued against appointment of another death-penalty-qualified attorney for Chong, saying it would cost unnecessary time and expense. He had argued last week that Chong's motion, just days before he was to be sentenced, was simply a ploy to allow him to stay in Hawaii longer in hopes the death penalty will be dismissed.
Chong was to have been sentenced to a life term without parole yesterday for pleading guilty to Noa's murder.
But U.S. District Judge Alan Kay put off the sentencing, saying it was of "grave importance" that Chong be represented in his motion.
Three attorneys who represented Chong for the past year and a half, including Marcia Morrissey, a death-penalty-qualified attorney from Santa Monica, Calif., said they could not represent him because they felt his plea was "in his best interest" and he agreed to the plea knowingly.
~ ~ ~
June 30, 2001
to life in
He originally faced death for murdering a father of 6
over a $100 drug debt in 1997
By Debra Barayuga, Star-Bulletin
Life for a life.
That is the prison sentence Richard Lee Tuck Chong was given yesterday for using a firearm to shoot another man to death almost four years ago over a $100 drug-related debt.
It was agreed to by government prosecutors and his defense attorneys in a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.
U.S. District Judge Alan Kay acknowledged yesterday that Chong had led a difficult life -- most of it behind bars. But he said Chong must be punished for taking the life of William Noa Jr. by paying with his own life.
Federal authorities tried Chong because the murder involved a drug-trafficking case and local law enforcement officials wanted a stiffer sentence for him. Former U.S. Attorney Steve Alm had sought the death penalty because the murder was committed with another crime, Chong's long criminal record and the manner of the murder.
Chong, 50, who suffers from various ailments, will be sent to a maximum-security facility on the mainland where he will spend the rest of his life.
The sentencing ends a 4-year-old case that could have been the first death penalty trial in Hawaii since 1957.
Chong avoided the death penalty by agreeing to plead guilty to premeditated murder -- using a firearm in a drug-related slaying -- less than a week before he was to stand trial in January 2000.
But just days before his July 2000 sentencing, he asked to withdraw his plea so he could go to trial. He maintained he did not shoot Noa with premeditation. He claimed the medication he had been taking had affected his ability to think clearly.
Kay denied the request, finding that Chong clearly understood what he had pleaded to and that he did so intelligently and voluntarily.
Chong admits he shot Noa, 33, but did so because he feared for his safety.
In court yesterday, Chong apologized to Noa's family.
"I hope you guys no have to carry hate against me -- I never do it purposefully," he said.
He concluded by saying, "I hope you guys be all right."
But Raynette Oliva, the mother of Noa's six children, said their lives have not been the same since.
The children, ranging from 3 to 10 years old, sat in a front row of the courtroom and sobbed as Oliva tried to explain the pain and anger they have felt since their father was killed.
Oliva said they still ask, "When is he coming home?" "Why did this man do this to Daddy?"
Even the 3-year-old daughter, who was born a month after Noa was killed, asks when he will return, Oliva said....
Defense attorney Marcia Morrissey tried to show the judge a different side of Chong.
He was born to an abusive father who had a history of psychiatric disorder and a mother who only saw her children on weekends because she worked in Honolulu.
By the time he was 8, Chong had been made a ward of juvenile court and sent to an Army facility for "throwaway kids" where he was given strong antipsychotic drugs, assaulted by his fellow inmates and undernourished, Morrissey said.
Children who survived the facility and are now grown have told horror stories about what it was like there.
"Growing up in a virtual gulag, the fact that he survived at all is a small miracle," said deputy public defender Michael Weight.
Chong was later sent to the Koolau boy's home until age 17. Before he turned 18, he was committed to the adult state prison, becoming the youngest inmate ever admitted.
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September 28, 2001
By Rosemarie Bernardo, Star-Bulletin
Richard Lee Tuck Chong was found dead Tuesday in his cellblock at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif.
Assistant federal public defender Michael Weight, who represented Chong in a federal murder case, said he was notified by the penitentiary's chaplain of Chong's death.
It is believed Chong, 50, took his life Tuesday night, Weight said.
"This was a calculated decision on his part," he said.
Weight declined to provide further details of Chong's death.
Chong, known as "China," was the first person to face the death penalty in Hawaii since the 1950s, but at the end of June, Chong was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of William Noa Jr. over a $100 drug debt.
Chong had a history of violence that included sexually assaulting and robbing a 48-year-old woman, holding an ice pick to an inmate's throat while sodomizing him and robbing two woman at a Manoa home.
Chong was transferred from the Oahu Community Correctional Center to the San Bernardino Penitentiary in August before he was sent to the penitentiary at Lompoc.
~ ~ ~
March 21, 2001
Federal prosecutor Alm tapped for judgeship
Gov. Ben Cayetano has named outgoing U.S. Attorney Steven S. Alm to the Circuit Court.
Alm was named yesterday to the vacancy left by Circuit Judge Kevin Chang, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court.
The appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
Alm, who has headed the federal prosecutor's office for seven years, had been expected to be replaced by the new Republican administration.
He previously served nine years as a deputy prosecuting attorney for Honolulu and was an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law.
Alm initiated the Weed and Seed crime reduction program, which involves cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It has led to a 70 percent reduction in crime in the Kalihi-Palama/Chinatown area.
He is also active in neighborhood activities at Mayor Wright Homes and Kuhio Park Terrace and teaches in the National Guard's Youth Challenge Program.
~ ~ ~
April 12, 2005
Prosecutor to refile campaign-donation charge against lawyer
By Ken Kobayashi , Advertiser Courts Writer
City prosecutors will seek to reinstate an illegal campaign donation case against a prominent Honolulu attorney that was thrown out by the Hawai'i Supreme Court earlier this year.
The decision was disclosed after Circuit Judge Steven Alm dismissed the case against Edward Y. C. Chun, 73, as mandated by the high court, but Alm said the dismissal was "without prejudice," meaning that it can be refiled.
City Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Van Marter declined to comment, but cited papers he filed in court saying the criminal charge would be refiled if it were not permanently thrown out. The case would also be resolved similar to an earlier plea agreement, the papers said.
"We obviously wanted it dismissed with prejudice," Chun's lawyer, Dale Lee, said. Lee said they are "in discussions" with the prosecutor's office.
Chun was accused of advising two Food Pantry officials to write $5,000 in checks to former Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign. They were told they would be reimbursed. The legal limit is $4,000.
As part of an agreement, Chun pleaded guilty in 2003 to the misdemeanor charge of violating the donation limit. Chun was sentenced to 10 days in jail, but did not have to serve the time pending the outcome of the appeal.
In February, the high court reversed the conviction. The court found the charge was defective because it did not allege Chun acted "knowingly, intentionally or recklessly." The high court also said Alm should not have insisted that Chun plead guilty rather than no contest.
Alm yesterday said if the high court wanted the case dismissed permanently, it would not have sent it back to him or it would have directed him to permanently dismiss the case.
Alm also said it was not his "blanket policy" to insist on guilty, rather than no-contest, pleas. In its ruling, the high court condemned such a policy and said requests to grant no-contest pleas should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Alm said he should have made clear that it is his "usual" practice not to accept no-contest pleas, although he takes "full responsibility" if he left the misconception that he categorically denies requests to plead no contest.
Defendants who plead no contest say they are not challenging the prosecution's case but usually do not formally acknowledge guilt. They are found guilty by the court. Alm said guilty pleas are preferred because they show that defendants accept responsibility for their actions.
Honolulu Advertiser - Apr 12, 2005
~ ~ ~
November 1, 2006
Kamehameha list shortened
By Rick Daysog, Advertiser Staff Writer
A court-appointed panel yesterday selected three finalists for an opening on the Kamehameha School's board of trustees.
In a filing in state Probate Court, the seven-member trustee selection committee named local attorney Allen Hoe, First Hawaiian Bank Senior Vice President Corbett Kalama and former city budget director Ivan Lui-Kwan as its top candidates to replace Constance Lau, chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.
Lau, who has served on Kamehameha School's board since 1999, announced that she would step down as a trustee when she became HEI's CEO in May. She agreed to remain on the board until her successor was named.
Probate Judge Colleen Hirai will select Lau's replacement from the list after a public comment period. The deadline for the public to submit letters is Dec. 4.
Lau's replacement will serve the remainder of her five-year term, which expires on June 30, 2008. The appointee could qualify for reappointment for a maximum of two five-year terms.
For the year ending June 30, 2005, the estate paid its trustees about $100,000 each, while board chairwoman Diane Plotts earned $110,500.
Before 1999, when the estate implemented wide-ranging governance reforms, board members earned as much as $1 million each.
Established by the 1884 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the Kamehameha Schools is the state's largest private landowner and one of the nation's largest charitable institutions.
The selection committee includes former Honolulu police chief Francis Keala; Hawaiian Electric Co. executive Robbie Alm; the trust's former court-appointed master Ben Matsubara; Kamehameha Schools alum Michael Rawlins; attorney Melody MacKenzie; Queen Li-li'uokalani Children's Center president Claire Asam; and George "Keoki" Freeland, executive director of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
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Steven Alm is expected to testify regarding his business, professional, personal, and political relationships with Robert Alm (aka Robbie Alm), Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Judge Barry Kurren, Judge Robert Faris, Judge Lloyd King, Judge Samuel King, William S. Richardson, Constance Lau, Diane Plotts, Douglas Ing, Francis Keala, Robert K.U. Kihune, Gilbert Tam, Dee Jay Mailer, Edwina Clarke, Nathan Aipa, Colleen Wong, Louanne Kam, Lyn Anzai, Earl Anzai, Milton Holt, Lokelani Lindsey, Henry Peters, Richard Wong, Ben Cayetano, John Waihee, Edward Chun, Sukamto Sia, Guido Giacometti, Susan Tius, Bumpy Kanehele, Francis Keala, Constance Lau, Dee Jay Mailer, Edwina Clarke, Robert Clarke, Hawaiian Electric Co., American Savings Bank, Walter Dods, First Hawaiian Bank, Senator Dan Inouye, Mark Bennett, J.P. Schmidt, Judge Barry Kurren, Faye Kurren, The Nature Conservancy, Colbert Matsumoto, Benjamin Matsubara, Walter Dods, Steven Guttman, Curtis Ching, Carol Muranaka, James Nicholson, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, and other entities to be named upon discovery.
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