Thursday, August 8, 2013

Musings: No Good From Bad

Kauai landowners who got vacation rental certificates improperly will be allowed to keep them, under a directive from County Attorney Al Castillo's office.

Planning Director Mike Dahilig yesterday told a stunned County Council that he must renew TVRs approved by his predecessor, even if the original applications were flawed or incomplete. Some 84 percent of the files are missing documents required by law. 

But Mike said he can move to revoke the improperly issued certificates only if he has evidence they were fraudulently obtained.

Though many people never proved they were eligible for the valuable life-of-the-property permits — as exposed in the 20-part Abuse Chronicles — the flawed applications were essentially legitimized when former Planning Director Ian Costa and his deputy, Imai Aiu, approved them in 2008-10, according to the county attorney's directive.

Anything after a bad application, how can it be good?” asked an incredulous Councilman Mel Rapozo.

Deputy County Attorney Ian Jung said technically it wasn't a bad application because the former director had signed off on it.

Councilman Tim Bynum said a fundamental component of the TVR law was requiring applicants to prove use prior to 2008. “The most key thing, they didn't even bother, they didn't even ask for it,” he said of Ian Costa and his staff. “This is not incompetence. This is a decision to fail to implement the law. That is unacceptable and now look at the consequences we're dealing with.”

Though Costa and Aiu were never named, both Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and Chair Jay Furfaro referenced their shockingly poor performance.

The damage that bad managers do sometimes is irreversible,” JoAnn said. “I hope the mayor is listening, because it's not only in planning, it's in all parts of county government. There is no substitute for a good manager.”

Jay said he plans to write a performance evaluation and will put it the personnel jackets of the former directors “as a documentation of the poor management that got us where we're at.”

The Council also got irritated when Mike prevaricated about numbers. In a power point presentation, he said the department had compiled 657 unique TVR files: 158 are considered “inactive,” 75 are appealing the loss of their permit because they renewed late, and 413 are “active without issues.”

Mel asked how many of the 413 had incomplete files. “It's not overwhelming, but it is significant,” Mike hedged. After Mel repeatedly pressed him, Mike finally replied that “upwards of 84 percent” were missing one or more documents.

I would encourage you to be forthright and just put it on the table when we're asking,” said Councilman Gary Hooser, who with JoAnn had also been given the run-around by Mike. “When you know 84 percent are incomplete and others ask about the numbers and you say you'll get back to us, that bothers me.”

Mike also told the Council the department was “going after the low-hanging fruit” by issuing cease and desist notices to 101 TVRs that missed their annual renewal deadlines. Ian Jung said the tardiness ranged from a few days to two years, but all would be treated the same. Mike said those that have not appealed “are ripe” for a second level of enforcement: “tighten the screws.” The owners could be fined, or referred for criminal prosecution if they keep operating.

Mel asked whether Mike had pursued the photos of a bare lot with no house that had been given a TVR certificate. “Not yet,” Mike said, prompting JoAnn to ask why that wouldn't be a low-hanging fruit case.

Several Councilmembers expressed dismay that the law was passed five years ago, but the department is only now creating a system for managing the TVR certificates. And even that action was prompted largely by the Abuse Chronicles and a threatened Council investigation.

“They are moving, but to where?” Mel said. “The concern is that the illegals will be allowed to continue and I disagree with that entire rationale."

Tim, Mel and Gary said Mike's report on the depth of the TVR debacle underscores the need for a Council investigation.

It's clear the Administration does not want to look at what happened, at least not publicly,” Gary said. "In my opinion, past actions are being swept under the rug."

"I think that discussion's important, not just to us, but the public," agreed Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura.

Many of the TVR certificates were approved after Mayor Bernard Carvalho took office. In late 2010 he moved Costa and Aiu to other county agencies, and put Mike, a former county attorney, in charge of planning. As documented in the Abuse Chronicles, some of the improper permits were signed by Bambi Emayo and Vil Baliscan, who continue to work as TVR inspectors.

The question now is whether Ian, Imai and Bambi just decided on their own to blow off the TVR law, or if they were acting at the direction of others.


Anonymous said...


Illegal & Fraudulent applications DO NOT get a pass. Deny those renewals & let those illegal TVR owners bleed to death with legal bills fighting this in court!

Who the hell does Al Castillo think he is making giving them a pass. Fire him!

Anonymous said...

The ordinance was illegal in the first place. 'Nuf said

Anonymous said...

And Al Castillo was in Las Vegas during the meeting. How convenient is that?

Anonymous said...

We have a low hotel occupancy rate because all the tourists are in our neighborhoods in these illegal TVRs and the county says that's OK?

Anonymous said...

Sure hope that voters remember the mess that Carvalho has created by his gross mis-management -- and DO NOT re-elect him!

Anonymous said...

This falls back on the current mayor. He's been in office how long??? What has he done to bring resolution to this issue? Nothing. He continues to hire unqualified friends, er managers to very important posts. Qualifications desired by a professional: proper education, integrity, experience and positive can-do attitude. Qualifications desired by Carvalho: no-questions asked loyalty, ability to keep your mouth shut, willingness to avoid, defer and prevaricate.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to run for Mayor? Let's get rid of the King and Queen!!!

Anonymous said...

so what about all of the TVR's who are blatantly operating and who never even applied for a permit or were turned down to begin with? Who is going after them? they number probably two to three times the amount of owners who went through the whole process, and gave the County everything that they asked for and paid the fees, and have been paying taxes and their income, property taxes, increased trash pickup fees-renewing every year-basically complying with everything asked of them-and still being blamed and trashed by this blog and many others-People! Com'on-they are not the problem here-it is the others who don't give a #!*!! and have been getting away with this for several years now-and probably laughing all the way to the bank!

Anonymous said...

The Mayor may have gotten the message, his last 4 hires were good people, appropriate credentials and backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

This is so wrong. I hope the council will fight back.

Anonymous said...

At least fire Bambi -- who could ever trust that guy?

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how Ian Costa can screw up so bad and still have a county job. Who is he protecting?

Anonymous said...

RICO charges for these criminals. I mean all of them TVR owners, realtors, listing agents and all who conspired to commit these fraudulent criminal acts.

This is a classic case of rackets and right now they are getting away with it.

These people are no better than an illegal drug dealer on Kauai. They have violated the rules and regulations as well and committed crimjnal acts in doing so.

If DLNR caught someone violating fish and game rules and laws those person(s) would be subjected to the written laws.

How come these people get away with criminal acts. These people are no better then the killer(s) that are on the loose on Kauai, free from committing unsolved murders.

And some TVR owners have the audacity to complain that they are now paying commercial taxes on their TVR's.

Something has to be done! Al Castillo and all if the cronies should be fired!

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:46am.

amen!! i'd be interested to know from the people that made this mess "why and how" this all happened. then wouldn't council be able to go after fraud of those two???

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:07 am

Who are the 4?

Anonymous said...

The 4
Housing Director
CPI Manager
Transportation Planner
ADA Coordinator

Anonymous said...

Theyʻve had 5 years to get it in order. BUT, that goes for the council too. 5 years to follow up which obviously hasnʻt happened.

I know Mel has been on this like a bad rash but you can only scream at a wall that doesnʻt listen for so long until you throw in the towel.

"The question now is whether Ian, Imai and Bambi just decided on their own to blow off the TVR law, or if they were acting at the direction of others."

Probably playing big shots with clout and of course some ʻgood take care $$$$ʻ.

Like how Aiu got his sister in government jobs who didnʻt know crap and then being allowed to design (and screw up) the ʻnewʻ choked out Rice St. Sure looks good on a little boot lickers resume. She is also responsible for some bad bad decisions regarding Hawaiian burial treatments when she got an automatic approval to be considered an ʻexpertʻ for the 1st time in her life. How the hell does that work? Only in the coconut republic.

I would love to see how long these clowns would last in positions outside of Hawaii.

Anonymous said...

These unqualified people needs to be fired. The only reason the county hasn't filed for bankrupcy is because they keep on finding ways to nickel and dime the people with taxes. Mark my words if nepotism keeps going on in the way it has under this crony filled admin the county of Kauai will be bankrupt like Oahu in less than 10 years. Then the county of Kauai will have legitimate furloughs and not made up ones. We need a county manager and qualified people in our county departments!

Anonymous said...

Illegal rentals are a problem everywhere.
Critical new comers are a problem everywhere
The county has many great workers, committed and productive.
The county also has an inordinate number of whiners,
relentless and selective

Anonymous said...

Yes, I heard a lot of those whiners: Chemcorps executives.

Anonymous said...

The council shouldn't have to cross-examine the Planning Director to obtain the straight truth. He should offer it and collaborate to fix it. It's like they don't want to admit that their inspectors failed. Why do these people get so much protection?

Suck it up and tell the truth people.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:11 pm

how is the current planning director supposed to answer questions about inspectors back in 2008 when he wasn't the director then?

like what the guy said earlier, council should ask ian and imai on the council floor, out in the open, and get the answer from THEM why THEY approved the applications. DUH!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that if one goes down all will fall down. I think that they all have dirt on each other. I believe they know more about the fraudulent TVR applications then their temporary amnesia is willing to remember. They are singing the gas theft music. I wonder if they really found the missing million dollars or they just pretend that they found it.

Anonymous said...

You all are assuming that the TVR owners got their permits fraudulently just because they didn't have the proper documents in their files-well the application did not require these documents in the first place on the original applications-and then after the fact have now been required to provide them with their next renewal-which by the way the County has now just upped the renewal fee from $150 to $500 and did so 1 day before this years deadline so anyone who came in on July 31st had the wrong amount with them--these homeowners are being treated unfairly time and time again-but continue to do everything asked to comply-and still you suggest that they are all criminals?
It's criminal to change the rules over and over again and expect no backlash-The County Council are the ones who created this mess-not the Planning Department who have just been trying to follow the ordinance-the whole problem is because everyone put the cart before the horse and didn't think things through before passing the ordinance and asking for compliance-and now they are so caught up in this that they don't have the time to go after the TVR owners who are operating illegally without a permit-

Anonymous said...

well the application did not require these documents in the first place on the original applications

That is totally false. The original TVR law required very specific documentation.

Anonymous said...

the original application was not that "specific" and when the app's were turned in the County tax office and the Planning department checked each application packet for completeness-if it didn't have the documents they would not accept it until it did-

Anonymous said...

@ 7:49 & 8:12
You are so full of it.

Anonymous said...

To 7:49 AM

Here is the language directly from the ordinance. Would you please enlighten all of us as to the documents you claim are required? Nothing in the Ordinance requires actual proof of taxes paid (nor income tax returns, which the county is now demanding illegally)

'''"into consideration among other things the following guidelines

1. The applicant had a State of Hawaii General excise tax license and transient accommodations tax license for the purpose of the lawful operation of single-family transient vacation rentals for a period long enough to demonstrate actual payment oftaxes D BILL2294D2 JI Iki 3

2. That prior to the effective date of this ordinance applicant had deposits for reservations by transient guests in exchange for compensation for use of subject property as a vacation rental

3. That applicant had transient guests occupy subject property in exchange for compensation prior to the effective date of this ordinance with a pattern of consistency that evidences an ongoing and lawful enterprise"

Any and all other demands by the county are outside the scope of the ordinance and therefore illegally demanded.

Anonymous said...

From the original ordinance signed into law March 7, 2008

Ordinance 864
Section 8-17.10

(e) The owner, operator, or proprietor shall have the burden of proof in establishing that the use is properly nonconforming based on the following documentation which shall be provided to the Planning Director as evidence of a nonconforming use: Records of occupancy and tax documents, including all relevant State of Hawaii general excise tax filings, all relevant transient accommodations tax filings, federal and/or State of Hawaii income tax returns for the relevant time period, reservation lists and receipts showing payments.

Andy Parx said...

Dahilig was the assigned Planning Commission/Department deputy county attorney while Ian and Imai were approving the original permits. Then he was appointed director- i.e. he was the one who directed the legal aspects of the original applications.

Joan Conrow said...

Good point, Andy.

And let's not forget Deputy County Attorney Ian Jung, who was also giving the planning department advice on how to handle TVR applications.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank the county of Kauai for creating an environment of fraud and corruption that has directly led to a decrease in quality of life for me and my family here on Kauai. We own property, are working people and pay taxes. The home next to ours is owned by off island owners, who got a TVR permit without proper documents, is in a documented county flood zone, no on island manager etc. Does not pay for commercial garbage pickup, etc. Numerous times we have had to "deal" with the people who rent this tvr when they did not know what to do when the property floods regularly and cannot get their rental cars out, or where to go when forced to evacuate for tsunami warnings, or what to do when water stops flowing in the house, or electricity is out, etc. The guest renting this TVR door have POUNDED on our doors & windows DEMANDING help!!!!! We have had to call police many times because of loud partying after legal time limits,domestic fights,etc. we do not ask to be property managers for this house that is in a residential neighborhood. It is a disruption to our lives that has been forced on us due to the lack of proper investigation, and the basic act of the TVR dept doing their job properly.
Who is protecting the good people in residential neighborhoods, who are just trying to work, pay their taxes and have a basic quality of life on Kauai from this TVR scourge. Let the guest stay in the empty hotel rooms first before negatively impacting our families in residential communities.

Anonymous said...

The FBI needs to step in and do the job that the county (attorney, mayor, council) are unwilling to do. Ian Costa simply can't be that incompetent. He willingly and knowingly granted TVR permits when it was clear to a 3rd grader that it was wrong. The logical conclusing of corruption is not off-base. Does anyone have any level of confidence in this three ring circus? Someone with integrity, please, investigate and bring charges to set a clear and concise example. Crime pays? Or, crime doesn't pay. Right now, the actions of our 'leaders' seem to indicate that they believe crime pays.

Anonymous said...

To 10:05 AM
Old version. Lines quoted are from final version, approved by the County Council 1/15/2009 and accepted by the mayor 1/24/2009.

Anonymous said...


I quoted the first bill. Your lines are from the second ordinance.

Anonymous said...

to 218
Exactly my point. Second supercedes first

Anonymous said...

Most of the people applied under the first ordinance and were supposed to provide the documents it required.

Anonymous said...

The Feds did their due diligence. They were relieved from their position because they were investigated and found guilty.

Ian and Imai was rewarded for their criminal mischiefs with other top paying county positions. This is how the cabal operates.

Remember the crying incident that the mayor and Ian had on camera saying "we need to stick together". It was all due the fact that some people turned in these cronies.

They spit and slapped the Feds in the face by doing what they did. They feel that they are untouchables and feed their power hungry egos by hiring more cronies.

The lot that was given a TVR permit without an existing home is a portrait of how obvious criminal acts occurred during the process.

Anonymous said...

so don't just jump on the bandwagon for every TVR on the island as being illegal-that is sort or "TVR racist" like behavior-report the ones that you know are a problem like the example above that does not have an island manager to the Planning department-this way they either comply or have their license taken away-they are required by law to have a TVR on-island manager.
And certainly do not blame the TVR owners for the low occupancy rate(if there is one)for the Hotels-however it seems most all visitors do want to stay in a vacation rental vs a hotel which saves them $$ for their families-and that savings is passed onto the economy of the island-spent shopping for food, on activities for their family to enjoy and back to in our pockets-if it were you and your family visiting what would you want to do?

Anonymous said...

For years we've watched a bunch of greedy realtors and off island TVR owners and their attorneys, divert our attention from the real issue, by painting those of who cared about our neighborhoods, as just a few radical whack jobs. And thru the years our numbers look like they'd dwindled.
But Oh Contrare!
True, as the vacation rental issue trudged on, a lot of us fell by the wayside because we just got plain worn out. We got busy with families, jobs...but that NEVER, ever meant we approved of TVR's outside the VDA!
Realtors and attorneys? Vacation rentals ARE their jobs!
Too bad WE weren't getting paid to be at every inconvenient morning, afternoon and evening meeting all the way in Lihue.
And we knew what would happen years down the line too; no one would take the blame for all the illegal TVRs that got approved.
Kaipo foresaw this mess and did a darn good job of warning us.
He's one person who's fault it isn't!

Anonymous said...

But the law's the law now, and not a contest between a lot of men paid to grin and lie and yell and finagle for whatever somebody wanted them to grin and lie and yell and finagle about.
-- Kurt Vonnegut , Player Piano , 1952

Anonymous said...

I like Kurt...but
I still don't think this is over.
If a bad law is a bad law, sometimes it has to, and will,
be changed.
I think that's the law....

Anonymous said...

You can try to make everything different, but it is always more of the same

Anonymous said...

Not if I can get federal funding for Kauai's liaison office to the department of justice.

If we can't have a commission against corruption on Kauai, we will at least have an office that is a direct line to our big brother.

All of this corruption on Kauai must end.

The unsolved murders (cold cases) must have qualified people to solve the cover ups.

I will accomplish this.

Anonymous said...

Joan, your thoughts about the recent Coco Palms sale?

Anonymous said...

The Hanalei TVR map posted in one of your previous blogs makes a most powerful point to the level of misfeasance and fraudulent approval of the TVRs; The approvals are a de facto establishment of a decentralized 'resort' roughly the same volume as Princeville and is totally against zoning and community limits. The shoreline, sewage, safety and community impact aspects require the gov to redress the mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Care to share the map link?