Kailuan ruling appealed
Former members of the Kailuan residential cooperative, whose ground lease expired Dec. 31, have asked the Hawaii State Supreme Court to intervene in their eviction.
Gerard A. Jervis and Joseph A. Gomes, attorneys for the Kailuan Inc., filed a writ of mandamus yesterday asking the state's highest court to dissolve an order filed by Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kim on Jan. 18 that favored landowner Kaneohe Ranch.
"We believe that Judge Kim exceeded his jurisdictional authority and abused discretion in ruling on federal issues which are outside the jurisdiction of the State Circuit Court," said Jervis, representing former Kailuan leaseholders pro bono.
According to the terms of Kim's order, the Kailuan's former leasehold owners are required to surrender their homes by Feb. 15. In addition, Kim ordered the cooperative to pay to close cesspools on the property to bring it into compliance with federal environmental laws.
"It was ordered because the lease required it," said Rosemary Fazio, Kaneohe Ranch's attorney.
Fazio and Kaneohe Ranch will await word from the Supreme Court to see whether or not they need to respond to the Kailuan's latest filing.
"From what I've seen so far, the filing is premature and it doesn't have any merit," Fazio said.
The mood is somber but hopeful among the more than half a dozen Kailuan homeowners who still remain in the building, said Sara Way, who has lived at the Kailuan since 1995.
"I've got a little hope. I'm still going on prayer," said Way, who still hasn't found another place to live that would accommodate her wheelchair. "I've gone out in the back parking lot and cried and moaned. People ask me why I'm not packing, but I'm not packing because I don't know where to go."
If Kim's order stands, former leaseholders at the Kailuan cooperative will become the first multi-family residents in the state to be evicted at the end of their lease term, Jervis said.
Judge Kim said a landowner's agreement to sell or buy, with full and complete terms, is required to trigger the state law that would give the leasehold residents the right of first refusal to buy the property.