Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Musings: Superferry Spends Large

I know the sun rose today, because that’s what it does every morning, right? But I swear it actually got darker when Koko and I were out walking, and the sky looked like it wanted to rain so badly it could cry.

I’m headed over to Honolulu this morning, so this will be a quickie post — and all about the Superferry — starting with a referral to Ian Lind’s blog, where he reports that Hawaii Superferry disclosed less than 6 percent of its 2007 lobbying costs.

If you’ve been wondering how much it costs to buy the kind of influence HSF has — at least, the reportable kine spending — the answer is $379,431.52. That the amended filing occurred at all is due to Ian, who complained to the Ethics Commission that significant expenses were missing from the original report. HSF initially claimed the company had spent just $21,791.56, which we all know doesn’t buy diddly. Then Dan Mollway guys apparently put the squeeze on HSF to comply.

Ian’s posting prompted Larry Geller at Disappeared News to write an open letter to Mollway wondering if the Ethics Commission is planning a formal hearing into the matter, since the state lobbying law provides for administrative fines against those who "Willfully file[s] a statement or report containing false information or material omission of any fact."

This filing, which occurs many months after the company got its special session legislation seems to me yet another indication of the disingenuousness that characterizes the HSF business model.

And you have to wonder, how come the dailies weren’t on this? After all, Ian first wrote about the discrepancy back in May 2007.

Ian has another post today about the Argent Group, and its role in securing the federal loan guarantees for HSF. It’ll be interesting to dig into the documents he’s linked when I have some time.

Meanwhile, a report in Marine Daily News notes that Austal USA, which built the big boat, has launched the Independence, its prototype Littoral Combat Ship. It states:

As the prime contractor, and the only shipyard with a track record of building large (over 100 metres in length) high speed aluminum vessels in the USA, Austal is confident of its ability to deliver a low risk JHSV [Joint High Speed Vessel] platform to the US Navy and Army.

But no, the Superferry — the largest high speed aluminum catamaran constructed in the US — doesn't have anything to do with the military.

2 comments:

Andy Parx said...

“And you have to wonder, how come the dailies weren’t on this?”

I think you meant “Is it any wonder the dailies weren’t on this?” when you look at where the money went to- just look at the bizillions of ads for the SF in the papers and especially on their web sites.

MauiBrad said...

"As the prime contractor, and the only shipyard with a track record of building large (over 100 metres in length) high speed aluminum vessels in the USA, Austal is confident of its ability to deliver a low risk JHSV [Joint High Speed Vessel] platform to the US Navy and Army."

Yes, the HSF is a demonstration project, not for how it operates, but instead it is a demonstration project for the making of large aluminum hull ships in the U.S. most of the rest of which they are hoping will be for the Navy, Army, and Coast Guard.

Aloha, Brad