THE PIRATES OF
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
May 29, 2008
Turtle Bay exec:
further development needed
By Kristen Consillio, Star-Bulletin
The new interim manager of the Turtle Bay Resort has determined that further development at the controversial North Shore property is necessary to keep the operation viable.
Local developer Stanford Carr, installed last week by resort lenders to head operations and find a buyer, said expansion outside of the existing resort's footprint is an option, since a new owner would need to satisfy the conditions of a 1986 agreement that calls for public parks and other amenities to be built by a developer - who would need to recoup the investment.
"It's got to have economic equilibrium - they can't maintain a vast amount of land like that," said Carr, who was recruited by the property's lenders, including Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo, because of his expertise in the Hawaii real estate market. "Raw land is probably the worst investment, you can't depreciate it. You just don't have the economies of scale at the moment."
Due diligence, feasibility studies and quantifying the costs of public improvements must be completed before determining the scope of any expansion, he said.
The isolated character of Turtle Bay located on one of the island's last remaining rural coasts has been an attraction for visitors seeking a neighbor island-type of resort on Oahu.
"It's very pristine and so that has an attraction, but again you have to have the right execution of the product," he said. "Like anything, it's got to be responsible development."
His first priority is to meet with the community to gain an understanding of their concerns and also with local representatives of resort owner Oaktree Capital Management L.P. to resolve maintenance issues at the 858-acre property with money budgeted by lenders.
New York-based Eastdil Secured LLC is preparing material to begin marketing resort assets, possibly within the month, Carr said.
Eastdil ceased marketing when Credit Suisse filed a $283 million lawsuit last December against Oaktree's local entity, Kuilima Resort Co.
Meanwhile, Gov. Linda Lingle has been campaigning for the state to acquire the resort to protect it from plans to build an additional 3,500 hotel and condominium units on the property.
Carr, a Lingle supporter, hasn't seen a proposal from the state yet, but said his role doesn't mean a state acquisition will be easier.
"Sometimes it could be even more difficult, it could go both ways," he said.
There is a "mutual trust" because of the long relationship he has with the governor, but the decision ultimately lies with the owners and lenders, he said.
"The state is competing much like the rest of the other interested buyers," Carr said. "Everybody wants a win-win situation. I'm born and raised here, I'm fifth generation, I'm going to do the right thing."
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IMAGES OF GOD’S BEAUTIFUL PUNALUU, HAWAII
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May 24, 2008
Turtle Bay under
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Advertiser
Local developer Stanford Carr has taken over management of the Turtle Bay Resort and the controversial plan to build five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and condominium units on O'ahu's North Shore.
Carr replaces Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LLC as Kuilima Resort Co.'s interim manager.
He also will be in charge of securing new investors for the 848-acre property, whose redevelopment has sparked opposition from community groups and has prompted Gov. Linda Lingle to seek a state buyout to preserve the land.
"There's a lot of work to be done on the property and there's a lot of work to be done in communicating with the community," Carr said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Carr's appointment is part of an agreement by lenders Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo & Co. and Kuilima to restructure the development company's $400 million loan, which had been the subject of a foreclosure suit.
Under the terms of the restructuring, Oaktree exits from day-to-day management of Kuilima but retains ownership of a 470-acre agricultural property just mauka of the resort.
The 470-acre property does not include the site of the controversial redevelopment plan.
Nicola Jones, who is stepping down as Kuilima's chief executive officer, said in a news release that the resort and its golf courses will operate as usual and that the restructured loan will make it easier to attract new investors.
"We're very pleased that a settlement has been reached, as this now reopens the door to a wide range of prospective investors," said Jones.
Carr is owner of Stanford Carr Development LLC, one of the largest residential developers in the state.
He also is a longtime Lingle supporter and was part of a local team that invested in Aloha Airlines before it shut down two months ago.
Last year, the Lingle administration awarded an $11.5 million nonbid emergency contract to begin building transitional housing in Ma'ili to a company owned by Carr.
Rev. Bob Nakata, co-chair of the Defend O'ahu Coalition, which opposed the Turtle Bay expansion plan, said Carr's links to the Lingle administration may mean that he's "more susceptible to public pressure."
"He doesn't want a public relations disaster, because he has other business interests in town," said Nakata.
Oaktree, a $54 billion private investment firm, acquired Turtle Bay in 2000 and recently revived plans for a multibillion-dollar development that would include five new hotels and 3,500 hotel rooms and condos.
But the plan immediately ran into opposition from community leaders who want to retain the North Shore's rural way of life.
In December, Credit Suisse filed a foreclosure suit against the company after it defaulted on a $285 million loan.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a Lingle-backed plan, in which the state would seek to acquire the undeveloped portions of the resort. Under the plan, the state would buy areas surrounding nearby Kawela Bay and Kahuku Point while a private investor would take over the hotel, the golf courses and other developed areas.
Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, welcomed the management change, saying it adds clarity to the sales process. Neither Credit Suisse nor Wells Fargo has a local presence, making it difficult to negotiate a deal with all parties, said Liu.
"This presumably creates the type of certainty that makes it better for investors and buyers," said Liu.
Reach Rick Daysog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 23, 2008
Turtle Bay buyout
By Derrick DePledge, Advertiser Government Writer
In a bold idea that stunned preservationists, Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday said the state should buy the 880-acre Turtle Bay Resort to help preserve O'ahu's North Shore from further development.
The announcement was a surprise to Turtle Bay's developer and to the activists who have fought the expansion of the resort and other projects in a region known for epic surf breaks and country charm.
State House and Senate leaders questioned how the state would finance such an expensive purchase and where the idea fits within other proposed spending this session on infrastructure improvements at the University of Hawai'i, K-12 public schools and public housing projects.
Lingle, who made the proposal in her State of the State speech, described the North Shore as an important escape valve for urban O'ahu and a refuge for residents who prefer a slower, more rural lifestyle.
She did not explain how the state would purchase the resort, which could cost about $500 million, but suggested a mix of state and federal funding sources and even a worldwide Internet fundraising campaign to "Save Hawai'i's North Shore."
Lingle cited the state's previous role in preserving Waimea Valley and Pupukea-Paumalu on the North Shore and in keeping Kukui Gardens in Chinatown as affordable housing as examples. She said the idea began in conversations surrounding her second inaugural address in 2006, when she said the state's economy had to shift away from real-estate development.
"I have thought hard about what I am proposing, and I believe in my heart that this is the right thing to do for those of us living today, and for those of us who will be born in the decades ahead," Lingle said. "And I believe this will be a defining moment for all of us — a moment that communicates to young people that we care more about their future than about our present."
Turtle Bay has the only resort-style hotel on the North Shore, along with condominiums, restaurants and two golf courses. Kuilima Resort Co., which is developing the resort for the Los Angeles private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management, has plans to build up to five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and condominium units and four public parks on the Turtle Bay footprint.
The expansion plan was agreed to by developers, the city and the state in 1986. For the past two years, Kuilima Resort has been looking for a buyer or partner to help with financing. The city in October gave Kuilima an additional six months to meet conditions required for the expansion.
Credit Suisse, an international lender, filed a $283 million mortgage foreclosure lawsuit against Kuilima Resort in December for late principal and interest payments. The lender has asked the court to appoint an outside receiver to take control of the resort property and operate it while the foreclosure case is pending. Kuilima Resort has opposed that request.
Nathan Hokama, a spokesman for Kuilima Resort, said yesterday that the developers "were caught off guard" by Lingle's announcement but would be open to speaking with the governor about a possible state purchase. He said Kuilima Resort continues to move forward with the development of the resort as planned.
"It's hard to say at this point what (Lingle's) plan would be, because we just don't know all the details," Hokama said of Lingle's idea. "I don't know if the governor knows all the details either — what does it mean when the state takes over the property? Do they go into the development business? Do they operate the hotel? I think that her speech mentioned that she was going to consider selling the resort. So, what does that mean to the employees who are out there?
"So I think there are so many ramifications that need to be considered."
Lea Hong, Hawaiian Islands program director for The Trust for Public Land, a preservation group, said the state should look at creative and strategic ways to purchase the resort.
"I do think it's possible," Hong said. "It's a big, big task and certainly we need to think of ways to raise the money for this. Nobody wants this to fall on Hawai'i taxpayers."
Lingle, in her speech, mentioned the slower state revenue growth projections that have led to budget restrictions and talk by lawmakers of fiscal restraint this session. Lingle said revenue estimates have been off by $353 million since the Legislature adopted its two-year budget last spring. But the state's economy remains fairly strong, she said, and her administration still anticipates a healthy budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year in June.
The governor acknowledged that her Turtle Bay idea was only a first step to start the discussion and she invited House and Senate leaders to assign lawmakers to work with her and preservationists toward a purchase plan.
"I think this is something the whole island will get behind. And, actually, I think the state will understand, as Maui and Kaua'i, in particular, increasingly become more congested," said state Sen. Clayton Hee, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku), chairman of the Senate Water and Land Committee.
State Rep. Michael Magaoay, D-46th (Schofield, Mokule'ia, North Shore), who supports Lingle's idea, said the future of Turtle Bay is pivotal to other long-term development plans for the North Shore. Seven other developers have ideas for new housing, a hotel and a wind farm between Kahuku and Punalu'u over the next decade, as residents decide how much growth is appropriate in a region already bustling with locals and tourists.
Magaoay said people came together last year to help save Kahuku Hospital, which is now part of the state's public hospital system, and are ready to help plan their future.
"Basically, we're starting from ground zero and we will need to talk with the community about exactly what people want," he said of Lingle's Turtle Bay idea.
But state Sen. Robert Bunda, D-22nd (North Shore, Wahiawa), said he doubted the Legislature is ready for such a purchase. He asked why Lingle would announce the idea without first talking with North Shore lawmakers and without more specifics about financing.
"I don't think it can fly," Bunda said.
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), warned North Shore lawmakers to be prepared for the community reaction. "We're pretty certain we will have positive community interest in this, for them, they really need to brace themselves," she said. "Rep. Magaoay, Sen. Hee and Sen. Bunda are up for re-election this year. They're going to need to find a way to discuss with their community what can and cannot be done."
Three years ago, state lawmakers increased the conveyance tax on higher-end properties and used some of the proceeds to fund land conservation. Lawmakers also discussed protecting important agricultural lands.
"We've got to be sure that this is where people want to be, that this is what people want to preserve," Hanabusa said of Turtle Bay.
Privately, several lawmakers said they thought Lingle's proposal was an effort to add some punch to her speech in a year when the governor and lawmakers will be handcuffed on spending for new initiatives.
If Lingle were serious, some said, she would have done more to flesh out the idea and brief community leaders before announcing it publicly. There is no money in Lingle's supplemental budget for the purchase and the idea is not in any of the 180 bills the governor will submit.
Lingle's address, her sixth since taking office, was largely thematic, focusing on concepts such as personal responsibility, innovation and energy. She had previewed some of her initiatives when she released her budget proposal in December, such as infrastructure investments at state harbors and airports, and outlined $102 million in tax relief last week.
Her new initiatives include:
Creative academies in public schools to nurture artistic talent.
A commission on higher education made up of the presidents of major universities and business and community leaders.
Re-establishing an energy division within the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
A Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.
Lingle's speech was the most forceful when she came back to the theme she first hit during her second inaugural address — the fundamental transformation of the economy away from land development.
"It is as certain as night follows day that we cannot speculate or sell ourselves into prosperity," Lingle said. "Instead, we have to be willing to invest in those education and workforce programs that will prepare people to succeed in an increasingly competitive world."
Advertiser staff writers Jim Dooley, Will Hoover and Treena Shapiro contributed to this report.
Reach Derrick DePledge at email@example.com.
February 2, 2007
North Shore changes
The trust is re-evaluating its property, taking public comment
and preparing to draft a plan
By Kristen Consillio, Star-Bulletin
KAMEHAMEHA Schools, the state's largest private landowner, is re-evaluating the future of roughly 26,000 acres of land it owns on Oahu's North Shore.
The $6 billion trust is conducting a master plan for its North Shore property, which includes 15,000 acres of conservation land, 9,000 acres of agricultural land and 2,200 acres of rural community land zoned for commercial, agricultural and residential use.
Kamehameha Schools wants to make changes to improve what it deems underutilized land and infrastructure to support diversified agriculture, educational, cultural and economic projects.
"With the changes that are happening in agriculture, particularly biofuels and further diversification of agricultural in general, the land on the North Shore that is currently not under cultivation could be viewed as candidates for some of those uses," said Kekoa Paulsen, spokesman for Kamehameha Schools. "We don't have any preconceived ideas."
THE master plan includes 15 acres of commercial land along Kamehameha Highway throughout Haleiwa, some of which is underutilized, Paulsen said. Its largest commercial holdings in the area include the land beneath the North Shore Marketplace and Haleiwa Shopping Plaza.
Architecture firm Group 70 International Inc. won a contract to conduct the master plan. Kamehameha has held more than a dozen small-group meetings since last July, with three to 10 people at a time, and a planning workshop with about 150 North Shore residents in November.
Ward Research mailed about 2,000 surveys this week to randomly selected area residents to get broader input on what is needed in the community.
Additional meetings are scheduled through August. A plan is expected to be completed by September and implemented shortly afterward, said Giorgio Caldarone, Kamehameha Schools' regional asset manager, adding that full implementation could take 10 to 15 years.
"We're not doing another Turtle Bay. We're not doing another big resort -- it's almost the exact opposite of that," he said. "It's really about making the North Shore a better place by looking at traffic issues, infrastructure and preserving and enhancing agriculture."
Bart Smith, a Pupukea resident who attended one of the early community meetings last year, is concerned about any potential new developments on the North Shore.
"I think they have a lot of valuable land that could be put to good use," Smith said. "The main thing for people is to keep the country country."
NORTH SHORE resident Mary Barter, 61, said there remains widespread concern that the re-evaluation will merely result in more development in the largely rural area. "The community hopes that they did listen to what we have to say and that the meetings aren't just a PR exercise," she said.
Pupukea resident Larry McElheny, 62, who also attended one of the meetings, said, "They're obligated to periodically re-evaluate the best use of their lands. It's a perpetual trust -- it's not a typical business where they have an exit strategy and in 10 years they're going to sell and move on."
Kalani Fronda, Kamehameha Schools' land asset manager, said the trust is looking to strengthen sustainable activities and is considering "value-added" agricultural products, alternative energy, senior assisted living and affordable-housing projects -- proposals that came out of the community meetings.
Fronda said some vacant agricultural land could be repositioned for commercial use as a transportation hub and for entertainment venues, cultural activities and retail projects.
March 9, 2006
Proposed development at Turtle Bay
Some are concerned about renewed plans to build 3,500 units
By Allison Schaefers, Star-Bulletin
On a big wave day at the North Shore, it takes Peter Cole an hour and a half to get from Haleiwa to his country home at Sunset Beach....
The popularity of the North Shore has inflated property values, stretched community services and created traffic jams -- and resurrected a two-decade-old master plan at Turtle Bay Resort that would bring 3,500 new hotel and condominium units to an otherwise rural area stretching from Kawela Bay to Kahuku Point.
"That would just be immense," said Cole, who first opposed the plan when it was presented in mid-1980s because of potential negative impacts on the region's environment, traffic conditions and quality of life.
Turtle Bay Resort's master plan, which included five lodging structures, was expected to be completed by 1996 but never came to fruition due to its then-struggling financial position. Oaktree Capital, which acquired Turtle Bay in 1999 and has spent $60 million upgrading the once-dilapidated hotel, is now moving forward on the original development master plan that was approved years ago, said Doug Carlson, a spokesman for Kuilima Resort Co., the developer of Turtle Bay....
While hotel workers union Local 5 supported the development in the 1980s, the union is now opposed to the project.
"We don't think it's going to create the quality jobs that our workers need," said Eric Gill, financial secretary-treasurer for Local 5. "Turtle Bay Resort pays workers less money and offers substantially less benefits than our other Oahu hotels."
The union, which has been involved in a consumer boycott of Turtle Bay Resort since 2003, has filed an injunction to stop the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting from giving Kuilima Resort Co. the necessary permits to move forward on the project, Gill said.
Local 5 joined North Shore community groups to rally in front of the resort in January to protest further development of the area, and the region's neighborhood board members have been flooded with calls, said Creighton Mattoon, chairman of the land and planning committee for the Koolauloa Neighborhood Board....
"I think community sentiments on development vary from total support to total opposition to many positions in between," Mattoon said. He gets two to three calls a week about the proposed project.
While some have told Mattoon that the project would be good for economic development and would create jobs, others are concerned that its environmental impact statement is too old and needs to be re-examined....
Others are worried that the region's two-lane main transportation artery cannot support the development, he said.
Population and visitor growth has created "a mathematical problem that didn't exist 20 years ago," said Carol Philips, president of the North Shore Neighborhood Board....
"People like the country: That's the sole reason that we live in the North Shore," she said. "The atmosphere of the North Shore will change as a result of this development. I think it's just starting to sink in for the community that this could be an impending reality."
Read the complete story at...
April 5, 2006
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SANDY BEACH BATTLE APPLIES TO TURTLE BAY
To understand why Rep. Michael Magaoay's call (Advertiser, April 2) for a re-examination of the Turtle Bay expansion project is so sensible, just reflect on the struggle over development near Sandy Beach.
In early 1987, the City Council was considering a special management area permit to allow a luxury housing development on an elevated plateau across the highway from Sandy Beach.
An unprecedented array of community interests sprang up to oppose the permit. Tour operators, visitor industry labor unions, artists, environmental organizations and community leaders and ordinary citizens of all stripes urged the City Council to slow down and consider what was at stake.
They asked the council to take into account the city's own study of O'ahu's scenic coastal resources, then only months away from completion.
But the community appeal for common sense didn't prevail. Instead, five council members rammed the permit through.
Their failure to listen to the community resulted in a history-making conflict and political showdown involving leading politicians, the Hawai'i Supreme Court, Bishop Estate, the Legislature, neighborhood boards, community groups of all stripes and litigation that went unresolved for 15 years.
The City Council has an opportunity to make a better decision at Turtle Bay.
It seems only rational that the permit given 20 years ago for Turtle Bay expansion should be fully re-examined in light of today's environmental, economic, social and cultural realities and current projections of future needs.
Hopefully, a majority of the council will see it that way.
For more, GO TO > > > Paradise Paved
April 8, 2005
called for grand jury
Investigators say the worker directed firms'
contributions to campaign coffers
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
City prosecutors have convened a new grand jury that will focus on the activities of Dennis Mitsunaga, a key Democratic Party fund-raiser and ally of former Gov. Ben Cayetano.
An Oahu grand jury subpoenaed an employee with the local engineering firm Mitsunaga & Associates Inc. this week for a hearing Thursday, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Mitsunaga, who heads the engineering firm, is a major target of prosecutors' three-year investigation into the campaign of former Mayor Jeremy Harris. The employee, Terri Otani, is listed on state business records as secretary, treasurer and director of Mitsunaga & Associates.
Campaign investigators have alleged that Otani helped direct tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from dozens of local engineering firms and architects to the campaigns of Harris, Cayetano, ex-Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana and other prominent Democrats.
Mitsunaga has served as fund-raiser for those campaigns....
Otani said she was unaware of the grand jury proceedings and referred all questions to her attorney Lynn Panagakos, who denied any wrongdoing on her client's part....
Prosecutors previously disclosed that Mitsunaga was a focus of their three-year criminal investigation of the Harris campaign. Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee said last year that a local engineer told investigators that Mitsunaga was instrumental in securing state and city jobs for him.
Michael Green, Mitsunaga's attorney, said Mitsunaga played no role in the awards of nonbid government contracts and that his client does not know any of the members of the city and state boards that issue contracts....
Harris' attorneys have denied any link between the awards of city contracts and campaign contributions.
Otani is the latest member of Mitsunaga's circle to face a criminal investigation.
Mitsunaga's brother Dwight pleaded no contest in October to misdemeanor charges of exceeding campaign spending limits and making a political donation under a false name to the Harris campaign.
Dwight Mitsunaga, who is president of Pacific Architects, was fined $2,000 but was granted a deferral which allows him to get his criminal case dismissed if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Mitsunaga's cousin, former Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawaii Chairman Wesley Segawa, also pleaded no contest to money laundering and making illegal contributions to the Harris campaign last December.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins fined Segawa $6,000 and ordered him to perform 300 hours of community service.
Read the complete article at:
October 2, 2004
Harris campaign donor
is fined $2,000
The architect pleaded no contest
to charges of illegal donations
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
A state judge has ordered a local architect to pay $2,000 after he pleaded no contest to charges of making illegal political donations to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.
District Judge Lono Lee granted Dwight Mitsunaga's request for a deferral, which allows him to get his criminal case dismissed if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Mitsunaga is president of Pacific Architects Inc. He also is the brother of local engineer Dennis Mitsunaga, who was a key fund-raiser for Harris, former Gov. Ben Cayetano and ex-Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana and a major target of investigations by the prosecutor's office and the state Campaign Spending Commission.
Earlier this month, prosecutors filed a criminal complaint alleging that Dwight Mitsunaga made a political donation under a false name to the Harris campaign and exceeded the $4,000 campaign contribution limit for the mayoral race.
Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee said Mitsunaga and his company made more than $16,000 in illegal campaign contributions.
Randal Lee argued for a sentence of probation, saying it would bar the company from receiving state and city contracts and send a message to anyone who violates the state's campaign spending laws....
Randal Lee declined to discuss his investigation into Dennis Mitsunaga yesterday, but Bob Watada, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, said several government contractors interviewed by his office have indicated that they were solicited by him for campaign contributions....
Dwight Mitsunaga's company, Pacific Architects, received more than 20 city contracts totaling $2.5 million since 1990, city records show.
Pacific Architects also received a number of state contracts and was one of the firms that worked on the controversial renovation of the University of Hawaii president's residence at College Hill.
The 2001 College Hill renovation initially was priced at $170,000 but soared to more than $1 million.
Read the complete article at:
September 17, 2004
Isle agency accepts federal reforms
The state's overseer of public housing will adopt HUD suggestions
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
The troubled state agency that oversees Hawaii's public housing has agreed to increased oversight by its outside board, to provide ethics training for staffers, and to implement new accounting and procurement procedures.
The state Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawaii's nine-member board yesterday approved a 23-page agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development calling for significant reforms of its operations.
HUD, which provides millions of dollars in federal grants to HCDCH annually, designated the HCDCH as a "troubled public housing agency" earlier this year, according to Mike Liu, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing.
The designation means the federal agency can withhold funding or can place the HCDCH under receivership if the changes aren't in place within a year, Liu said.
HUD, which will work with the HCDCH to implement the reforms, oversees about 3,000 public housing agencies nationwide and 100 to 200 of them have been designated as troubled agencies, Liu said....
In 2002, HUD accused the state agency of mismanagement and of violating procurement laws in awarding a $771,000, nonbid contract to a company headed by the former husband of the agency's then-executive director Sharyn Miyashiro.
HUD also demanded the resignations of all nine members of the HCDCH board and ordered the state agency to repay the $771,000 to the federal government.
The contractor, Punaluu Builders, is headed by Dennis Mitsunaga, who is a longtime political supporter of former Gov. Ben Cayetano and a campaign fundraiser for isle Democrats. Mitsunaga's relative Wesley Segawa was chairman of the HCDCH's board at the time.
Segawa and seven board members resigned in 2002 and were replaced by appointees of the Lingle administration. HCDCH repaid the $771,000 in January.
Read the complete article at:
November 5, 2002
Subpoenaed executive rebuffs
Campaign Spending Commission
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
The state Campaign Spending Commission has opened an investigation into a local contractor linked to the campaigns of several isle Democrats.
The commission recently subpoenaed Mitsunaga & Associates Inc. executive Terri Ann Otani for an interview last week, according to people familiar with the state probe.
But Otani declined to appear, citing her constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Otani's attorney, David Gierlach, said his client has no plans to testify before the commission. He declined further comment. Bob Watada, the commission's executive director, also declined comment.
State business records list Otani as secretary, treasurer and director of Mitsunaga & Associates, a local architecture and structural engineering firm.
Otani also assisted the political fund-raising efforts of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono's aborted 2002 mayoral campaign.
Mitsunaga & Associates is headed by Dennis Mitsunaga, a friend of Gov. Ben Cayetano. Since 1994, Mitsunaga & Associates has received more than $8.3 million in state contracts and $3.6 million in city contracts.
Mitsunaga also is at the center of a dispute between and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawaii, which is headed by Mitsunaga's ex-wife, Sharyn Miyashiro.
HUD has criticized a $771,000 nonbid contract to Mitsunaga's company, Punaluu Builders Inc. and has called for the resignation of the state agency's board by Nov. 15.
Cayetano said the report was politically motivated.
Read the complete article at:
December 9, 2000
Oaktree becomes sole Turtle Bay owner
By Andrew Gomes Advertiser Staff Writer
California-based investment firm Oaktree Capital Management LLC has assumed complete ownership of Turtle Bay Hilton Golf & Tennis Resort, and is continuing with a previously announced multimillion-dollar renovation.
Late last month, Oaktree settled a year-old lawsuit against local developer Bill Mills, who joined with Oaktree in 1998 to buy the North Shore resort, sell most of it and split the profits. Oaktree, which lent Mills $52 million for the acquisition, alleged in its suit that Mills received $2 million in kickbacks from the seller and a broker.
On Wednesday William Deuchar, the resort’s former court-appointed receiver, announced that a judge had accepted a settlement. Yesterday Oaktree confirmed that the settlement provided for the company to take over the 484-room hotel, golf course and undeveloped parts of the 1,100-acre property. Mills is no longer involved with the resort, the company said.
Other terms of the settlement, which was sealed by the court, were not disclosed. Neither Mills nor his attorney returned phone calls seeking comment.
Deuchar, who is working with Oaktree during a transition period, did not say whether Oaktree intends to rekindle plans to sell the hotel. Mills and Oaktree had contracted Atlanta-based hotel broker Hodges Ward Elliott to market the Turtle Bay, but that listing expired in October.
An Oaktree representative said the company will evaluate its options. Deuchar said the hotel is not currently listed.
Meanwhile, Oaktree said it expects to complete $6 million to $8 million of exterior renovations in June or July. The work started about a month ago. Interior renovations will follow. Total cost to upgrade the property is estimated at $20 million.
$ $ $
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Originally Posted: March 13, 2006
Last updated June 28, 2009, by The Catbird
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