Airline president requests security
The Pacific Wings partner accuses a state-contracted guard of abusive treatment
WAILUKU » The president of Pacific Wings said his company is seeking federal security after he and one of his air carrier employees were allegedly hurt and arrested by private guards contracted by the state.
James Greg Kahlstorf: He was arrested and accused of harassment after a meeting with security
James Greg Kahlstorf said if Pacific Wings can't receive security assurances, it will ask permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation to temporarily cease carrier operations until his business can figure out a way to obtain a comfortable level of security.
"I don't think anybody feels safe," said Kahlstorf, a Pacific Wings partner. "It's a pretty shocking situation."
Kahlstorf's request comes after Wackenhut security officers detained him and two Pacific Wings employees, and then turned them over to police.
But Pacific Wings employees also said they were beaten, and they blamed security officer Robert "Butch" Tam Ho.
Wackenhut officials declined to comment for this article. State transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said a department representative is investigating the incident.
And Lowrey Leong, Transportation Security Administration security director for Maui County, said his office is looking into a complaint by Wackenhut about an alleged violation of regulations by Pacific Wings.
"We can't really comment on it until we get all of the facts," Leong said.
According to Kahlstorf and other Pacific Wing employees, a confrontation with the private security officers occurred after one of the company pilots was arrested on Thursday.
Pilot Roman Sarkissian, 29, was charged with entering a restricted area at the Kahului Airport without authorization. He posted $50 bail.
That same day, Kahlstorf said he called for a meeting with Wackenhut officials to resolve several complaints, including Sarkissian's arrest. But during the meeting at the Kahului Airport manager's conference room, Tam Ho refused to answer why Sarkissian had been arrested, and there was an exchange of words, Kahlstorf said.
According to Pacific Wings employees, Tam Ho left the meeting and returned 10 minutes later with security personnel, telling Kahlstorf he was under arrest for harassment. After placing him in handcuffs, Tam Ho shouted to other Pacific Wings employees to leave the conference room.
Kahea Reinhardt, a Pacific Wings customer-service manager, said Pacific Wings security coordinator William T. Goshorn said he was leaving, but Tam Ho pushed him out of the room and then struck him repeatedly.
"The whole time, Mr. Tam Ho was beating him, (Goshorn) was just trying to put his hands up and cover his face," Reinhardt said.
Reinhardt claims that acting airport manager Dale Tsubaki unsuccessfully tried to step between Tam Ho and Goshorn. Kahlstorf also accused Tam Ho of beating him while he was handcuffed.
Kahlstorf, 42, was arrested for harassment and resisting arrest. He was released on $300 bail. Goshorn, 30, was arrested for third-degree assault and released on $200 bail.
Kahlstorf said since Thursday's incident, Sarkissian and Goshorn have left Maui and several employees are considering quitting.