• Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Judge rules to dismiss Waikiki beachboys case against Dive Oahu and city

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE / May 2018

    A visitor from Australia leaps from the storage container of Dive Oahu at Waikiki on May 25. A case against Dive Oahu and the city over the Waikiki beachboys contract was dismissed today by a Circuit Court judge.

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First Circuit Judge Dean E. Ochiai ruled this morning to dismiss the last remaining motions in Star Beachboys court proceedings against the city and Dive Oahu, the city’s current operator of the Waikiki beachboy concessions.

After hearing testimony in the case, Ochiai directed the defendants’ attorneys to draft a motion to dismiss the case.

“The court finds that there have been no genuine issues of material fact raised that would enable this complaint to move forward. The court gave an opportunity to the plaintiffs to file a second amended complaint and that second amended complaint still is deficient in the court’s eyes,” Ochiai said.

Shelly Rofrits, manager Dive Oahu, said the company was pleased with the judge’s decision and hopes that it will help all parties move forward.

“The judge sounded like he has dismissed everything. Now, we will work on fulfilling the city’s contract and making sure that everyone is happy and safe and enjoying the beach,” Rofrits said.

Dive Oahu has been embroiled in public controversy and court proceedings since the city’s spring decision to award the company a five-year contract to operate two beachboy stands on Kuhio Beach.

The change, which was challenged in court, also was marked by several protests from supporters of Star Beachboys and Hawaiian Oceans, which had previously held the city contracts. According to court documents, Dive Oahu also was subjected to harassment by unknown suspects that poured kerosene over surfboards and even set fire to a Kailua home owned by Dive Oahu’s owner Brian Benson.

Rofrits said there also has been unfair competition.

“There has been a lot of opposition on the beach to include previous stand owners illegally operating which has hindered our operation. They are selling as much as we are and we are paying rent,” Rofrits said.

Aaron Rutledge owner of Star Beachboys said his company has a commercial-use permit to operate in state waters and has been legally operating from a Kuhio storefront since losing its city concession contract.

Rutledge said he sought legal remedy because in his opinion Dive Oahu was a scuba diving company and was not qualified to run a city beachboy concession. He also criticized Dive Oahu for bidding on the city contract without having enough beachboys or a valid canoe permit to fulfill the requirements.

“They couldn’t even offer canoe rides all summer,” he said.

Rofrits said the operation got its canoe license on Aug. 31 and now has more than 10 beachboys providing services.

After Ochiai’s ruling, Rutledge said he fears that “the history and tradition of the Waikiki beachboys is officially coming to an end.”

Rutledge said he will go back to the Waikiki beachboys to discuss the ruling before deciding if the company should pursue other legal remedy.

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