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Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Perfect Title owner,
clients sentenced
to probation

Keanu Sai is allowed to argue
a case before the Permanent
Court of Arbitration

By Rob Perez


A state judge today sentenced the co-founder of the defunct Perfect Title Co. and a husband and wife to five years probation for their roles in the couple's attempt to retake the Aiea home they lost through foreclosure.

But Circuit Judge Sandra Simms denied the state's request to jail the three for 30 days, noting that all three had no prior criminal records.

Simms also gave permission to David Keanu Sai, a former researcher and co-founder of Perfect Title, to travel to the Netherlands in July to argue a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration about the legal existence of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Perfect Title, citing 19th century kingdom law, challenged the validity of land titles in Hawaii before shutting down in 1997.

Sai was convicted in December of attempted first-degree theft for helping Michael and Carol Simafranca try to retake the home they lost in 1996. The Simafrancas used research and documents provided by Sai and Perfect Title to argue they owned the home.

The Simafrancas were convicted of the attempted-theft charge, as well as first-degree burglary for illegally entering the residence.

Deputy Attorney General Dwight Nadamoto asked the court to impose probation and jail time, saying the defendants expressed no remorse for the suffering caused to the home's owners.

But Alvin Nishimura, Carol Simafranca's attorney, said the state showed no remorse for the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom and the wrongs that have happened to Hawaiians since.

"Any sentence other than no further action would only be a slap in the face to all Hawaiians who have struggled over the past 100 years," Nishimura said.

In issuing the sentences, Simms noted the defendants' strong beliefs about the kingdom and a growing awareness in the community about Hawaiian sovereignty.

"Sometimes when there's change, (when) there's revolution, it's painful," she said.

After the sentencing, Sai said he was pleased he would be able to attend the Netherlands hearing. "I got exactly what was needed," he said.

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