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Saturday, April 26, 2003



Royal Kunia
developer files
for bankruptcy

Horita's Halekua Development
Corp. owes the city $220,335


A Herbert Horita company that is developing Royal Kunia on Oahu sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, owing between $50 million and $100 million in estimated debt.

One of Halekua Development Corp.'s larger creditors is the city, which is owed $220,335.

"This action is needed to buy time for the company," said company spokesman Jim Boersema. Halekua expects to emerge from bankruptcy within 120 days, clear off its debt and move forward with the development of Royal Kunia II, a 2,000-home subdivision in Waipahu, Boersema said. He declined to provide further details.

Halekua's assets are worth less than $50,000, according to the bankruptcy filing.

According to the bankruptcy petition, Halekua's five biggest unsecured creditors are:

>> Ayers Corp., owed $1.4 million.

>> Park Engineering, $702,082.

>> Larry Mehau's Hawaii Protective Association, $415,126.

>> AFW, $350,000.

>> Stubenberg & Durrett, attorneys, $276,515.

Other creditors are a unit of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the now-defunct Oahu Construction Co. and former City Councilman Jon Yoshimura.

Another Horita company, Royal Kunia Apartments Inc., declared bankruptcy in 1999 and sold off three townhome projects on 27 acres for $30 million.

Horita was the original developer of the Ko Olina Resort and Marina in Leeward Oahu, envisioning a string of hotels, condominiums and golf courses, but plans fizzled when Japanese backers withdrew funding in the late 1980s.

Halekua owes a total of $5 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors.

Steven Guttman, Halekua's bankruptcy attorney, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Because of Halekua's bankruptcy filing, the state Land Use Commission postponed a hearing in which Halekua was to argue why it should be allowed to keep 503 acres of undeveloped former agriculture land in Waikele classified as urban district.

As a condition of the rezoning, Halekua was to have developed infrastructure for an agricultural park and conveyed that park to the state by December of 1999. Since the developer had failed to comply with that requirement, the state Office of Planning had petitioned to have the land revert to an agriculture classification.


Star-Bulletin reporter Diana Leone contributed to this report.

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