No need go Vegas. The big gamblers can be found at the Kauai County planning commission.
Coco Palms developer Tyler Green said he and his partner, Chad Waters, were required to pledge all their own assets in an effort to secure an $18.5 million demolition loan from Utah loan syndicator Private Capital Corp.
A review of the company's website shows it typically charges interest rates of 12 to 24 percent for its short-term loans. Current mortgage lending rates are about 3.1 percent.
But the developers had to accept what Green characterized as Private Capital's “very, very hard terms” when nine months of negotiations with another loan syndicator fell through after the primary deal-maker was hospitalized.
Planning commissioners, who yesterday could have begun moving to revoke Coco Palms' permits, expressed skepticism about the lending process. After all, it wasn't the first time they'd heard a shuck and jive, "check's in the mail" story from the developers. Commissioners questioned why the first deal was dependent on just one person, and whether the developers ultimately would be able to secure the $130 million required to rebuild the iconic resort once demolition is pau.
“I'm losing faith in the process,” Commissioner Louis Abrams said.
Though commissioners didn't seem convinced by the developer's assurances that the money was coming any day, they did agree to wait for an update on Monday before launching the permit revocation process.
Which gives the developers six days to rub their lucky rabbit's feet, fondle good luck charms, breathe on the dice and pray.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old ruins of Coco Palms continue to molder.
Yet another attempt to resurrect the past occurred yesterday when the KIUC board of directors tapped former member Allan Smith to assume a vacancy created when Karen Baldwin resigned. But Smith, who was elected to the Board in 2007 and stepped down in 2014 due to work demands, didn't fill Baldwin's seat.
Instead the Board appointed member Teofilo “Phil” Tacbian to finish out Baldwin's term, which expires in 2018. Smith was then appointed to Tacbian's term, which ends next year. Net result: Smith will be up for election in 2017, and Tacbian was gifted an extra year.
The Board justified its decision as wanting to give members the earliest possible opportunity to confirm Smith's appointment via an election, which is admirable. But its actions also deprived members of a say in whether they wanted to be stuck with Tacbian, one of the co-op's biggest duds, for an extra year.
And in still another effort to return to the good old days, when “water ran free, as nature intended,” a group of protestors converged on A&B headquarters in Honolulu to rail against HB 2501. The compromise bill allows A&B and others to continue diverting water under revocable permits for no more than three years while the Department of Land and Natural Resources updates the permitting process.
I understand that some East Maui taro farmers are frustrated. They've been fighting water diversions for a long time. But in their desire to stick it to A&B, they're forgetting that water users on other islands would also be impacted if all the permits were yanked. This would create hardships for many small farmers and ranchers, and their needs must be considered, too.
The protest attracted opportunists like Gary Hooser, who is always trying to latch on to other causes, especially those that involve Native Hawaiians:
And since Hooser gets to decide what constitutes “justice” — remember the "rescue game?" — you can be assured that it, and thus peace, will never be achieved.
Hmmm. “No justice, no peace; no water, no justice.”
Or here's another way to look at it: “No water, no food; no food, no activists.”
Which seems to be a good segue to this video: