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
Address to be determined.
Former mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii
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January 10, 2003
Kamehameha Schools agrees
to pay a $10,000 fine
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
The Kamehameha Schools has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to settle the state Campaign Spending Commission's 2 1/2-year-old investigation into the estate's political activities.
Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the $6 billion charitable trust agreed to settle with the commission, ending the only remaining investigation of the Kamehameha Schools' former trustees Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Lokelani Lindsey, Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis. The fine, which will be paid to the Hawaii Election Campaign Trust Fund, requires the approval of the commission's five-member board, which will meet on Thursday.
Kamehameha Schools' Chief Executive Hamilton McCubbin said the agreement avoids a costly, protracted legal battle and will allow the trust to focus resources on its educational mission.
"It resolves one of the last remaining issues relating to the former management of the trust," McCubbin said.
Bob Watada, the commission's executive director, said he did not seek a larger fine against Kamehameha Schools since the former trustees who took part in the political activities have resigned and the estate's current managers and board of trustees have implemented significant reforms.
Watada also noted that former staffers such as the late Namlyn Snow, who headed the government relations division, have either died or have left the trust, while recipients of the estate's political support such as former state Sens. Milton Holt and Marshall Ige have been convicted of criminal charges.
"I think it's clear the Kamehameha Schools has taken steps to make sure that they don't get involved in political campaigns," Watada said.
The commission began its investigation in April 2000, looking into more than $200,000 in polling that the trust conducted on behalf of several prominent state lawmakers during the 1990s.
The commission also was looking into tens of thousands of dollars in political fund-raising tickets that the trust funneled to its employees and outside contractors.
Watada said evidence included in more than 40,000 pages of internal trust documents and witness interviews indicated that the trust operated an in-house network that distributed fund-raiser tickets to trustees and their relatives, staffers and to the estate's engineering, architecture and law firms.
Recipients included Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, former Mayor Frank Fasi, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and former Honolulu City Councilman Arnold Morgado.
Under federal tax law, charities like the Kamehameha Schools can lose their tax-exempt status for making political contributions.
In the early 1990s the trust also hired a pollster, QMark Research & Polling, to conduct political research in the districts of their biggest legislative supporters, including former state House Speaker Joe Souki and former state Sens. Holt, Ige, Robert Herkes, Donna Ikeda and Whitney Anderson.
The estate's former trustees had argued that the polls were conducted to gauge public sentiment on controversial issues such as land use and leasehold reform in those districts.
But Watada noted that the polls also asked specific questions about candidates the trustees supported.
The polls were delivered to the legislators in unmarked envelopes in an apparent attempt to conceal their source, he added.
Neither the trust nor the candidates declared the polls as campaign contributions as required by law. A poll is considered a campaign contribution if its findings are shared with a limited number of candidates and if its value exceeds $1,000.
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November 26, 1987
Stranger Shakes Up Honolulu Politics
By ROBERT REINHOLD, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
A mysterious lawyer with a checkered past comes to Hawaii from the mainland and wins a dramatic fraud suit against the powerful silver-haired Mayor of Honolulu, threatening his anticipated bid for re-election.
Then the lawyer, who smuggles Bibles into China in his spare time, gets an anonymous death threat. Was it from the Mayor?
A few weeks later, a man the police say was hired to kill the lawyer undergoes a religious conversion before the hit and says another lawyer offered him $50,000 for the murder in a dispute unrelated to the one with the Mayor.
If this sounds like an improbable script for ''Hawaii Five-O'' or ''Magnum, P.I.,'' it's not. It's happening in Hawaii, and has clouded the future of Honolulu's wily Mayor, Frank F. Fasi.
It all began with a project to build 1,500 middle-income homes on 269 acres of pineapple fields near here in central Oahu. Mayor Fasi promoted the plan as an effort to ease one of Hawaii's chief problems, the shortage of affordable housing on this extremely costly island.
The city spent nearly half a million dollars for engineering studies and for advertisements promoting the project in 1986 before the plan was rejected by the State Land Use Commission, which has restrictions on developing agricultural land.
Enter the mainland lawyer, Martin Wolff. On behalf of a private nonprofit group called Hawaii's Thousand Friends, which is concerned about losing prime agricultural land, Mr. Wolff brought a civil suit charging that the housing project amounted to a fraud against the city treasury.
In his arguments, he pointed to an ad in The Honolulu Advertiser on April 9, 1986, as an example of the fraudulent nature of the project. It promised ''A Home of Your Own'' and proclaimed that ''an impossible dream is about to come true.'' Mr. Wolff said the advertisement was ''all puffery - nothing to do with reality,'' and he contended that the developers never intended to build the housing.
Three months ago, the lawyer convinced a jury in State Circuit Court here that the project, called Waiola Estates, was merely an effort to gain publicity for and thus promote the gubernatorial ambitions of one of Mayor Fasi's associates, D. G. (Andy) Anderson, the former Managing Director of the city. The jury ordered the Mayor, Mr. Anderson and Alvin K. H. Pang, the former city housing director, to repay the city $483,000.
The case has stunned Honolulu's political establishment and touched off a series of complex events, including an effort by Mr. Wolff to impeach Mr. Fasi. The fraud case has encouraged a wide range of challengers to his expected bid for a fifth term next year.
Mr. Fasi has been an extraordinary phenomenon in Honolulu, part La Guardia, part Napoleon, loved or loathed. The 67-year-old Mayor, a native of East Hartford, Conn., settled in Hawaii after World War II and was elected Mayor of Honolulu, as a Democrat, in 1968. He lost a re-election bid in 1980, switched parties, and won again in 1984.
Acclaim and Resentment
He won acclaim in an earlier term for buying buses and setting up a city bus line when the private bus company was immoblized by a strike. But city employees still resent the day several years ago when he bulldozed an unsightly lot near City Hall where they parked and had it landscaped one weekend before anybody could stop him.
In March 1977, he was indicted for bribery over a condominium project, but the main witness, the developer, refused to testify against him.
The mention of Waiola Estates and Mr. Wolff ruffles Mr. Fasi's smooth feathers. ''This guy came in here to become well known by attacking somebody in high office,'' he said. His only purpose for Waiola Estates, the Mayor added, was to provide affordable housing to hard-pressed residents.
''I don't know how he did it,'' Mr. Fasi said.'' ''He convinced the jury that we never intended to build the houses. That's absolutely ridiculous. We still have not given up on building. It is unbelievable he won, but we're going to appeal.''
For his part, Mr. Wolff, who is 39 and wears a crew-cut, has called the Mayor ''a blemish'' on the Republican Party and vows to see him out of office. He said he had decided that Mr. Fasi ''thumbed his nose'' at the law when convenient.
Mr. Wolff, who describes himself as an ''international lawyer,'' specializes in bringing malpractice suits against other lawyers. It was that habit, not his fight with the Mayor, that may have led to the death threat against him.
Last month, the Honolulu police arrested another lawyer, Leonard Appell, whom Mr. Wolff was suing for malpractice, and charged him with hiring a man to murder Mr. Wolff. Mr. Wolff says the man underwent a religious conversion and called to say, ''I cannot kill you.''
''Gee, I'm glad to hear that,'' Mr. Wolff said he answered.
Trouble seems to find Martin Wolff like pigeons find bread crumbs. A few years ago, when he was in the former American trust territory in the South Pacific now called the Republic of Palau, working for the national Congress, he said his car was firebombed.
Divorce Led to Conversion
Before moving to Hawaii about two years ago, Mr. Wolff, a Rochester native, spent eight years in Templeton, Calif., a town near San Luis Obispo. Court records there show that Mr. Wolff was involved in numerous local disputes. He was the defendant in 13 civil suits and the plaintiff in 15 others between 1977 and 1984, and he often assailed public officials.
He says his divorce from his first wife four years ago precipitated a religious conversion and he became a missionary of a fundamentalist sect, the First Assembly of God. He ships Bibles to Tonga, Palau and China, he said.
But Frank Fasi is a chief concern of his now. After the fraud verdict, he filed impeachment charges and, although they were dismissed, he said he would try again if Mr. Fasi seeks re-election.
''If the man has any common sense left and decides to retire with a modicum of dignity, I'll allow that to happen,'' Mr. Wolff said. ''As a card-carrying conservative Republican, I feel duty bound to clean house.''
Democrats have seized on the case. Marilyn Bornhorst, a City Council member planning a mayoral race, said: ''Fasi says the laws don't count because he is doing affordable housing. I'm for government by law, not by men.''
But others, like State Representative Fred Hemmings, a Republican, have defended the Mayor, saying the case was politically motivated.
Whatever the motivation, there is considerable surprise at the Mayor's predicament. ''The Mayor's guilty of a lot of things,'' said the editor in chief of The Advertiser, Buck Buchwach, ''but everybody was surprised at the verdict. Nobody expected in a million years, he'd be hooked.''
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January 9, 1978
Honolulu's mayor beats a rap
When a Honolulu grand jury indicted Three-Term Mayor Frank Fasi for bribery last March, Special Prosecutor Grant Cooper thought he had an airtight case.
The flamboyant Fasi, 57, a former junk dealer given to gestures like throwing a birthday party for himself at Aloha Stadium and inviting 20,000 guests, was charged with entering into a "corrupt understanding" with Local Developer Hal Hansen.
Granted immunity from prosecution, Hansen talked a lot. He alleged that Fasi was to have received $500,000 disguised as campaign contributions from Hansen in exchange for the contract to build a $50 million city-sponsored condominium called Kukui Plaza; the mayor.
Hansen said, had already received approximately $65,000 in goods and cash. Fasi insisted that the charge was part of a "political vendetta" against him by Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi, who had narrowly defeated him in the 1974 Democratic primary and was hoping to avoid a challenge by Fasi for reelection.
Last month, however, Key Witness Hansen shattered the prosecution's case. Claiming that he had been coerced to testify and that he feared the evidence would be used against him in a federal case, Hansen refused to testify in court. Circuit Judge Toshimi Sodetani held Hansen in contempt, jailed him for two weeks, then brought him back to the witness stand last week. Again Hansen kept mum, and Prosecutor Cooper, a prominent Los Angeles defense attorney hired by Hawaii to handle the case, had no choice but to move for dismissal.
Said Cooper to the court as Hansen was set free and Fasi taken off the hook: "Justice has been thwarted." So, too. may be Ariyoshi's hopes for a second term.
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William F. “Bill” Remular, 63, of Waipahu, an architect, businessman and public official, led a many-sided life that also included service as a Navy officer. Remular, who died Feb. 12, 1997 in St. Francis Hospice after a long illness, was born in Santa Monica, Calif. He moved here in 1948. He was graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1951 and later from the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s in architecture. He then entered Navy service, going through Officers Candidate School. He was commissioned an ensign with the Civil Engineer Corps, eventually attaining the rank of commander. He later took over his father’s import business, involving products of Lorenzana Food Corp. of Manila, and was named “Small Businessman of the Year” by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce here. A registered architect and corporate member of the American Institute of Architects, he worked for several architectural firms and as a civilian with Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Air Forces. Later, he served as deputy director of the city Building Department under both Mayors Eileen Anderson and Frank Fasi....
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October 12, 2003
Latest scandal recalls ’70s case
R.M. Towill Corp. had been investigated for
questionable gifts to then-Mayor Frank Fasi
Harris campaign got $319K
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
The old adage that history repeats itself might apply to R.M. Towill Corp.'s recent campaign finance woes.
The 73-year-old engineering firm, one of the state's largest, figured in the 1970s scandal that rocked Honolulu Hale during the tenure of then-Mayor Frank Fasi.
During the Kukui Plaza scandal that plagued the Fasi administration, separate state and federal grand juries indicted the engineering company's former head, Richard Towill, for allegedly filing a false corporate tax return.
The 1975 federal indictment, based on an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, charged that Towill awarded $13,850 in bonuses in 1969 to employees who were required to make political contributions with that money to Fasi and other local politicians.
Two years later, a separate Oahu grand jury, prompted by an investigation by Special Prosecutor Grant Cooper, indicted Towill, Fasi and former Fasi campaign treasurer Harry C.C. Chung on related charges.
The federal jury acquitted Towill in 1979 and the state dropped their cases against Towill, Fasi and Chung.
In the latest scandal, Honolulu police, working with the city Prosecutor's Office, in July arrested three Towill executives -- Vice President Roy Tsutsui, comptroller Nancy Matsuno and engineer Kenneth Sakai -- on suspicion of violating state campaign spending laws. HPD also arrested a retired Towill employee and six people linked to Towill's subcontractors.
The donors were not charged and Tsutsui, Matsuno and Sakai have since sued HPD's top white-collar investigator, Maj. Daniel Hanagami, saying he violated their constitutional rights.
Martin Plotnick, who was hired as a special investigator assigned to Cooper in the 1970s investigation, said he sees similarities between the two controversies, based on what he's read in the local newspapers.
But Plotnick, who is president of local market research firm Creative Resources Inc., recalled that the previous scandal apparently involved less money and was limited to a much smaller circle of Towill employees.
"It appears to be on a much bigger scale today," Plotnick said.
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Frank Fasi is expected to testify regarding his business, professional, political and personal relationships with Hugh Jones, Paul Alston, YY Valley Corporation, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, Wallace Fujiyama, James Duffy, John Marshall, James Nicholson, John Waihee, Gerard Jervis, Gilbert Tam, Robert Kihune, Herbert Horita, Hal Hansen, Judge Colleen Hirai, William Remular, Diane Plotts, Chris Hemmeter, Mark Hemmeter, Gensiro Kawamoto, and others to be named upon discovery.
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