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Suit seeks to block evictions at Kahuku Village

The 233-page filing also claims city and state officials acted illegally to aid a developer

By Andrew Gomes

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:54 p.m. HST, Nov 06, 2013


An attorney representing many Kahuku Village V residents has launched a new salvo in a fight to keep his clients from being evicted from their rental homes -- a 233-page lawsuit filed in state court Monday.

Attorney Tony Locricchio filed the suit in Circuit Court on behalf of 33 families at the village known as KV5.

The suit seeks to halt several eviction proceedings being handled in state District Court, but also alleges a wide array of misdeeds by city and state officials -- including the mayor and governor -- that helped a Florida developer create fee-simple lots at KV5 for sale to village occupants or outsiders if occupants declined to buy.

KV5 was the subject of a three-part series that concluded Tuesday in the Star-Advertiser, and Locricchio had long planned to file a comprehensive lawsuit he referred to as "the big one."

"The massive size of the complaint is a result of 11/2 years of preparation,"the suit said.

Lex Smith, a Hawaii attorney representing KV5 developer Continental Pacific LLC, called the lawsuit "utterly baseless" and said he is confident that Continental will prevail against all claims.

Much of the lawsuit makes allegations that state officials failed to enforce a statute protecting Native Hawaiian burials. The suit claims that burials, or iwi, were destroyed by the developer and that fines provided for under state law were not issued.

The suit names officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources as defendants, from top officials to a reburial specialist and an archaeologist with the department's State Historic Preservation Division.

The departmentsaid it could not comment because it hasn't seen the lawsuit.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state attorney general's office also are defendants in the suit, which seeks to have millions of dollars in fines applied against government officials for not upholding the law.

Continental has said that it has followed the historic-preservation law, including one instance where it stopped work to build two model homes after discovering iwi. Another burial was discovered by a Continental archaeologist where no work was being done and was treated properly, the company claims.

The lawsuit also names two past directors and the current head of the city Department of Planning and Permitting along with Mayor Kirk Caldwell for not stopping construction after residents complained about iwi being desecrated.

"(Our) demand to shut down the entire Kahuku Village project with the notice of discovery of the historic burial site and iwi ... was denied by the city and the developer,"the suit said.

The suit alleges that Continental has received preferential treatment from the city because Smith, the developer's attorney, was chairman of Caldwell's campaign and helped name George Atta as the head of the Planning Department.

City officials had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Locricchio alleges in the suit that the city, under Continental's influence, tried to retaliate against him with $40,000 in fines for building a floating model home in the yard of his Maunawili residence.

The attorney claimed that the city notified his mortgage lender and threatened to put a lien on his home if the fines were not paid. Locricchio contends that the structure is registered as a boat and is not subject to building permit requirements.

Locricchio said in the suit that he built the structure, which essentially is a studio connected to buoys that can be collared around pilings, as a United Nations demonstration project for use in Micronesia. The model was adapted for KV5 where 25 homes are in a flood zone.

Locricchio promoted the model as a solution to let 25 flood zone residents buy their lots from Continental and spend less than $20,000 to build a floating home largely from recycled materials.

Continental offered flood zone residents house lots outside the zone for $150,000, and moved to evict those who turned down the offer in December.

Locricchio contends that building a traditional new home and putting in a septic tank and other infrastructure would bring the total cost to $750,000 for flood zone residents. Because of this, he contends that Continental's $150,000 offer wasn't an offer at all and that Continental should not be allowed to evict tenants based on rejection of a false offer.

Continental earlier this year rescinded eviction proceedings for flood zone residents after the Planning Department said those 25 residents could continue renting in place for as long as they live or until 2040 at the latest.

Despite the reprieve, several floodway residents joined as plaintiffs in the new lawsuit.

Other plaintiffs live outside the flood zone, including Glen Maghanoy, who calls Continental's written offer to sell him his residence for $150,000 "not a proper offer."

Locricchio also contends in the suit that District Court judges have been biased and that evictions shouldn't be possible because lots weren't properly created for sale under the state's condominium law.

Continental received approval to create and sell homes and lots as condominiums, or "CPR homes." Locricchio filed a complaint with the state in March seeking to revoke the CPR designation.

To date, 20 sales have been completed or are under contract, including 15 to KV5 residents.






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LMO wrote:
A stalling tactic by a nefarious attorney on behalf of a group that feels they are entitled to something for free, that will burden the rest of us taxpayers. I the end, Locricchio will make a bunch of money of this suit, and his clients will have to move.
on November 6,2013 | 01:58AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
Google " Kahuku Plantation Evictions" and you get a different story. I don't trust the stinking city. It smells bad when Kirk Caldwell's campaign chair is the attorney for Continental Pacific. This is bad stuff.
on November 6,2013 | 07:36AM
DAGR81 wrote:
The fact remains that these people were stupid not to accept the bargain price offer and move on with their lives.
on November 6,2013 | 08:19AM
DiverDave wrote:
"Locricchio contends that building a traditional new home and putting in a septic tank and other infrastructure would bring the total cost to $750,000 for flood zone residents". So why would they want to? No one that wants to stay there are talking about a "new" home, they want to stay in their existing home. For Free! If their current dwelling is substandard and unsafe then it should be condemned and the folks told to get out for their own safety. Just like anywhere else. They had a chance to put up, now it's time to shut up, and get out.
on November 6,2013 | 12:40PM
Mythman wrote:
The suit addresses the machine the insider thugs use to rule over the rest of us and has merit thereby, regardless of any issues connected to CP etc. There must be changes to the land use system that has grown corrupt, not fair and this suit raises all the relevant points. The circuit court, however, is part of the machine - it is their court, the court of the insiders, not a forum for a fair and unbiased review of all the tangents and elements that are part of the decision making process at risk. Hawaii is at a critical place - clean up the corrupt system or perish as a community ruled by the majesty of the law. It's our choice to make.....
on November 6,2013 | 04:05AM
allie wrote:
The company bent over backwards and took losses by sellign homes at such a low price. But those protesting want their homes free. Handouts and dependency are Hawaii's way after all.
on November 6,2013 | 07:11AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
This whole island stinks. It's the same people running the corruption. Good for Locrrichio - the plantation people are lucky to have him.
on November 6,2013 | 07:38AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Like I said on Sunday, Don't mess with these land developers. They have enough power to to take your land like how they did it in the medieval days. Just take the money they offer and run. Oh. After you say thank you, that is. Thanks.
on November 6,2013 | 04:25AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
The developers are smart or devious to hire Kirk Caldwell's campaign chair Lex Smith as their attorney.
on November 6,2013 | 07:40AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Take away today's fancy technology and you will see that nothing else has change on this world. Same old strong arm, bully tactics live on. Just keep good notes.
on November 6,2013 | 04:27AM
qtpa2t wrote:
The lawyer is nuts....I have seen his "floating" house. Pigs will fly before that thing floats. He loves to bully people with his lawyer talk.
on November 6,2013 | 05:24AM
allie wrote:
waste of time type dude
on November 6,2013 | 07:11AM
Workingrl wrote:
full of hot air kind a guy with his lawyer speak.
on November 6,2013 | 11:17AM
Russmari wrote:
Hang in there Kahuku old timers...let's pray that justice prevails!!!
on November 6,2013 | 05:41AM
Mythman wrote:
The day will come when even CP will be stabbed in the back by their local government friends. The honorable thing to do for CP is to contact the FBI and inform on the local government and its associates who solicited something from them in return for favorable decisions. Now that would change things. How about it, Reynolds? You have this kind of guts? The same guts the old timers who are fighting local corruption and the attorney, Mr Lo have?
on November 6,2013 | 05:58AM
loquaciousone wrote:
On TV they used to have a show called "WORLD WORST TENANTS". These guys would make those tenants look like saints. What gives them the idea that they have the right to squat on someone else's property. There must have been a sale on brass balls recently.
on November 6,2013 | 06:11AM
Mythman wrote:
That's right, show everyone you are a C&C insider, Mr Loq - I thought more highly of you.
on November 6,2013 | 06:39AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Bottom line is that they refused the right to own the property when given the chance to buy at a ridiculously low price. They don't own the property and they gave up the right to protest.
on November 6,2013 | 08:06AM
false wrote:
Locricchio would sue his parents for malpractice if it meant publicity. I would join it, if it resulted in his disbarment
on November 6,2013 | 06:17AM
Mythman wrote:
You are not looking at the thugs and crooks involved, Mr False. Why is that? You usually are far more reasonable and rational. What is your motivation?
on November 6,2013 | 06:39AM
false wrote:
You like lawyers who do what he's done? Crooks, what crooks? All these guys are too dumb to be crooks. Smart crooks know where there's money. There's no money here - it's a floodplain. And will stay that way until the ACE gets millions to remediate. Not going to happen with Schatz and Mazie on duty. No, maybe in 20 years. So $150K times what, 20 houses? CP has spent a multiple of that on their EIS, planners, lawyers, archiology. And for what? It's a fight over pennies. You want a good crook story, look into the ORI Mismanagement Fiasco and HUD charging the city $8 million in fines.
on November 6,2013 | 06:59AM
soundofreason wrote:
Will be dismissed via summary judgment.
on November 6,2013 | 06:21AM
false wrote:
L MF AO
on November 6,2013 | 07:00AM
sailfish1 wrote:
This kind of thing happens all the time everywhere. In this case at least the renters were given first choice in buying the property at a reasonable price. Those who didn't buy need to move out. This is called PROGRESS!
on November 6,2013 | 08:35AM
false wrote:
There were so many undisclosed issues by the "Kahuku Housing Corporation" when it was established in 1971 till 2006, by self appointed individuals, that were "buddies" with Campbell Estate (Trotter) or "high up" (luna) in the plantation company. The corporation was to oversee the logistics while collecting rent and escrow. It was promised that the existing homes and property would be offered only to plantation employees or their next of kin by blood. There was never an official list of names (employees, wife, son or daughter) that were interested in purchasing of such property. Only the people involved with the "Kahuku Housing Corporation" were informed and as such, ended up with prime houses and property. Today, since Continental owns the land, some tenants criticized Continental for terminating leases because they can make more money selling empty lots to the GENERAL public at market price. Whatever happened to the offer or public notice to daughters or sons of former plantation workers? This whole Kahuku housing situation became a political game from 1971 to 2006 for those involved in this scam especially when money (rent/escrow) invested by plantation workers were never returned or accounted for. SA should do an investigation from 1971 to 2006.
on November 6,2013 | 09:31AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Just another example of the building society of people expecting things to be handed to them. People who want all of the good stuff for free. I'll call them the obamasociety, he'll like that. It goes very well with obamacare.
on November 6,2013 | 09:43AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I'm sorry, I just cannot empathize with a group that has been offered lower than market value for their homes/lots. The new owners showed good faith in that gesture. These people just want to continue to pay low rents. I have news for them, the gravy train has ended.
on November 6,2013 | 10:19AM
Mythman wrote:
So the only way to win, some of you say, is for the renters all to walk away and move on. Well, what about the wrongful acts of government officials that took place. We just forget about these too? Try to think more clearly, folks. Government is alleged to be fair and objective so everyone has a fair chance at justice. When it is bought and paid for or leans in the direction of its pals and relatives, it loses value for everyone else. Come on, now. Even though Hawaii stinks with corruption, there is not a good reason to let it continue forever. Make a stand. The developer will be ok, they are very rich without Kahuku.
on November 6,2013 | 12:14PM
false wrote:
Hey, it's not winning or losing - tell the renter buy your home right right right now at these prices and rates. Barrow. Flip it if you want. Why waste time or money with carpet bagger with baggage and history. Take advantage of CP, who wants to get out of there asap.
on November 6,2013 | 01:00PM
mikaele1 wrote:
The tenants are getting bad advice by Locricchio who is in this for is own interests. The claims he is making do not help the tenants but will further alienate the developer against any good will they have with getting a sub market lot. if you are renting you are not an owner or entitled to any special treatment. The original purchase offer was substantially under market. that was the gift and it is now is probably gone.
on November 6,2013 | 11:03AM
Alex57 wrote:
If you don't own the land and are not willing to buy it when offered to you then leave already. Locricchio is unethical and should be disbarred.
on November 6,2013 | 01:41PM
RandolphW wrote:
"Save Kahuku Village"
on November 6,2013 | 05:00PM
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