Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, May 22, 2003




Adam Makekau, left, Pomai Kekaula and Luka Aholelei, right, talked with Det. Gay Ishihara yesterday about jobs with the HonoluluPolice Department. The department and 114 other booths drew 5,000 job seekers to the WorkForce 2003 job fair at the Neal Blaisdell Center. A job fair a year ago drew 3,500 to 4,000 job hunters and 90 employers.



Hawaiian Air's tickets 'hele on'

Hawaiian Airlines has installed self-service automated check-in machines at the main airports in the islands, allowing electronic-ticketed travelers to check themselves in and get boarding passes without waiting in line at a counter. Calling the system "Hele On," which means "hurry up," the airline said passengers can check in electronically on the day of travel and pick up their return boarding passes by machine.

Hawaiian has eight Hele On machines at Honolulu Airport, six at Kahului and two each at Lihue, Hilo and Kona. The machines also issue luggage tags for those checking baggage at the nearby counters and allow Hawaii-mainland travelers to select and change seat assignments.

Hawaii promoted to West Coast

Local hotels and tourism companies are joining the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau on a "West Coast Road Show" in California June 3-5 to market the islands to business travelers.

The show will center around two events in Newport Beach and San Francisco, where the group will meet with up to 300 corporate and incentive meeting planners, the bureau said. Kehaulani McGregor, the bureau's regional director of accounts, is organizing the events.


American Savings wins Fitch suit

NEW YORK >> Fitch Ratings isn't protected by New York State's reporter shield law, a federal appeals court said, as it ordered the third-largest bond ratings company to comply with a subpoena in a civil lawsuit.

Fitch, which is owned by Fimalac SA of France, refused to comply with a subpoena for documents from Hawaiian Electric Industries' American Savings Bank, citing the shield law. The law allows reporters to refuse to comply with some subpoenas seeking information given to them in confidence.

Fitch said it functions like a journalist, because it gathers facts about securities, analyzes them, and disseminates information. The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument, citing several distinctions between Fitch and the news media.

The subpoena was issued in a lawsuit between American Savings Bank and UBS AG's PaineWebber over securities in which the bank invested. American Savings Bank wanted to review dealings between PaineWebber and Fitch.

Ex-Miss Hawaii protests Wal-Mart

LAS VEGAS >> Dozens of past and present female Wal-Mart Stores employees donned "I'm anti-Wal-Mart" sashes and cardboard tiaras yesterday to protest the corporation's employment practices and gain support for a pending lawsuit.

The demonstrators joined Miss America 1992 Carolyn Sapp, a former Miss Hawaii, who has become a spokeswoman for the group that claims the retail giant discriminates against women.

"Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in America, pays women less than they pay men," Sapp said. "We're here to take a stand, to have a voice."

Through TV commercials and events across the country, the women plan to appeal for support as their lawyers prepare for a court hearing later this summer that could make the case a class-action suit.

Wal-Mart officials say the lawsuit represents isolated incidents and is not representative of the company.

Ripplewood may buy stadium from Daiei

TOKYO >> Ripplewood Holdings LLC, a New York-based investment fund, is considering buying Daiei Inc.'s baseball stadium, hotel and shopping mall on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, where it also owns a theme park.

Ripplewood, which owns Phoenix Seagaia, a 750-acre resort in nearby Miyazaki Prefecture, said it's in talks with Daiei and is examining whether the assets can help boost returns at the resort, said Ripplewood spokesman Atsushi Kuse. The baseball stadium is home to the Daiei Hawks, the top team in the Pacific League, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Ripplewood has been expanding its leisure interests in Japan and other Asian nations since it acquired failed Seagaia for about $200 million in 2001.

Daiei is considering selling the stadium, hotel and shopping mall to reduce debt, said Minoru Sano, a spokesman at Daiei in Tokyo. He declined to comment further.

In other news ...

>> PricewaterhouseCoopers, the nation's largest accounting firm, has agreed to pay $1 million to settle federal regulators' allegations that it engaged in improper professional conduct in its audit work -- the second time in less than a year it has been cited for that alleged infraction.

>> All Nippon Airways Co., carried fewer passengers on domestic flights in April, the first drop in eight months. The number of passengers on its overseas flights fell 30 percent, the biggest drop since December 2001.

>> Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest bookseller, reported a narrower loss for its first fiscal quarter, beating analysts' expectations

>> Nearly half a year into its restructuring, United Airlines says it's making better progress than expected and might move its targeted exit from bankruptcy up from mid-2004 to as early as this fall.


[Hawaii Inc.]


>> Xerox Hawaii has named Tion Buehler Kauai marketing representative and Aaron Efhan as a service technician in its Kauai headquarters in Lihue. Buehler was most recently a Xerox Hawaii marketing representative on Oahu. Efhan worked at Manpower of Hawaii, where he provided technical services to Xerox Hawaii as a subcontractor. 

>> Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired 13 new sales associates in its New Agent Training Office. They are: Erin Cooper, Terri S. Cordell, Jose A. Donate, Betty K. Ikeda, Daniel R. Kaslow, Mavis Nellas, Keiko Nunogawa, Reid K. Okumura, Holly Mayumi Urabe Osumi, Dawn Smutz-de Lugo, Lii Toomalatai, Deborah Tulipani and Theresia M. Wolfe. Cooper was most recently a supervisor with Chili's Restaurant in Waikiki. Cordell was a flight attendant with United Airlines. Donate was a flight attendant with Northwest Airlines. Ikeda was a customer service representative for Worldwide Assistants. Kaslow was a shop steward for the Local 5 Hotel and Restaurant Employees. Nellas was the regional sales representative with the Government Marketing Group. Nunogawa was a reservation representative for Hitex International Inc., a property management company. Okumura was an accountant for Encompass in Seattle. Osumi was the controller at Nagamine Okawa Engineers Inc. Smutz-de Lugo was a sales associate at Pier 1 Imports. Toomalatai was a claims clerk for Hawaii Medical Service Association. Tulipani was a property manager with Bradley Properties. Wolfe was a regional representative for Cal Hono Freight Forwarders and an account executive for Metlife Financial.


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