Happened To...

An update on past news

Saturday, April 3, 2004

Developer has disappeared
since resort idea failed

Question: What ever happened to would-be Big Island resort developer Charles Chidiac?

Answer: No word has been publicly available since 1997 on Chidiac, who proposed the "Hawaiian Riviera Resort" for a remote lava desert south of Kona in the mid-1980s.

In 1997 he appeared on the Public Broadcasting System program "Frontline," repeating charges of corruption in state government related to his attempts to build the five-hotel Riviera resort.

Honolulu private investigator Calvin Uhlig had dealings with Chidiac in the early 1990s, when Uhlig was an FBI agent.

"I can't tell you where he is," Uhlig said yesterday. He declined to explain further.

Star-Bulletin attempts to contact a younger man named Charles Chidiac, a possible relative who teaches aikido in Brussels, Belgium, were not successful.

Chidiac was born in Lebanon and had lived in Great Britain as well as in Honolulu in the 1960s.

In 1991, after two years of hearings, "phase one" of the Riviera resort was approved by the state Land Use Commission, but Chidiac had financial problems and sold the land to a partner.

Chidiac accused the state in 1992 of seeking bribes from him. Michigan investigator Stephen Dresch said Uhlig's contact with Chidiac began then. Other sources said the FBI dropped the corruption investigation about 1993-94 for lack of evidence.

Also in 1992, the Congressional Record shows the federal government named Chidiac as an "un-indicted co-conspirator" in a fraud case involving an Italian bank allegedly supplying billions of dollars to Iraq for weapons.

Chidiac tried unsuccessfully to revive the Riviera project in 1995-96.

Earlier, he endowed an annual $1,000 scholarship for Kau High School students, but Chidiac has no further connection to it, the Hawaii Community Foundation said.

Ever wonder what happened to a person, event or issue that has been in the news? We'll find out for you if you e-mail us at, call us at 529-4747 or write 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI 96813. "What Ever Happened to ..." runs Saturdays.


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