Council moves to recover Ewa Villages scam funds
A City Council committee gave preliminary approval yesterday for city attorneys to pursue legal action to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid restitution stemming from criminal cases related to the largest fraud case against the city.
Former city housing official Michael Kahapea is serving a 50-year prison term for stealing $5.8 million in connection with the Ewa Villages relocation fraud and an additional 10 years for similar acts related to redevelopment projects at West Loch and Middle Street.
Defendants in relocation scams who might owe money to the city:
» Donald G. Hall Sr. and his former wife, Shirley, were each ordered to pay $114,000. According to court records, the Halls were divorced shortly after being sentenced, and Donald Hall died last year. The Halls were the owners of a moving company that fraudulently billed the city for work performed in connection with the Ewa Villages relocations.
» David Brian Kaahaaina was ordered to pay $127,711 for doing bogus moving work.
» Claude Hebaru was ordered to pay $407,781 for moving work he never performed.
» Clayton Haumea, who did moving work for the city but kicked back a portion of the payments to city official Michael Kahapea, was supposed to pay restitution of just more than $47,000.
» Donna Hashimoto-Abelaye was ordered to pay $67,915 for overbilling the city for relocation work at Ewa Villages.
» Harry Akana was ordered to pay $56,100 also for overcharging the city for moving costs.
Kahapea was convicted of being the mastermind behind a bid-rigging scam in which the city paid $5.8 million to various companies for moves that were never done or were done at inflated prices at Ewa Villages. He was also convicted of stealing in similar fashion from the West Loch and Middle Street projects as well.
At least seven other people were convicted in connection with at least one of those cases.
All were sentenced in 2001 to five years' probation and were also ordered by a state judge to pay nearly $1 million altogether in restitution.
But city attorneys told councilmembers that the probationary period has been completed, and it appears that a large chunk of the restitution has not been made. They asked the Council for permission to pursue legal action.
The people who apparently owe money are Donald G. Hall Sr. and his former wife, Shirley, owners of a moving company that fraudulently billed the city for work performed in connection with the Ewa Villages relocations; David Brian Kaahaaina, who did bogus moving work; Claude Hebaru, who was paid for moving work he never performed; Clayton Haumea, who did moving work for the city but kicked back a portion of the payments to Kahapea; Donna Hashimoto-Abelaye, who overbilled the city for relocation work at Ewa Villages; and Harry Akana, who overcharged the city for moving costs.
At least one other person was named by city attorneys, but court records indicate that he might have paid his restitution.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, chairwoman of the Council's Executive Matters Committee, which is made up of all nine councilmembers, said that city attorneys have asked councilmembers not to discuss the case prior to a final vote at the next Council vote on Jan. 24.
"If moneys are owed to the city, then we should try to collect," she said. "Of course, there may be cases where, if the person doesn't have any money, I don't know if we can spend money to go after someone who doesn't have any money."
Because court-supervised probation is over, the city Corporation Counsel's Office might have to go to court to collect, those familiar with the details said.
Six of the seven have separate, freestanding orders of restitution that will allow the city to move forward with collection even though probation is over.
Attempts to reach the seven through their attorneys were unsuccessful.