TWO major discoveries rocked Hawaii this week. Thanks to a team of Japanese and American scientists, including University of Hawaii physicist John Learned, we discovered that neutrinos have mass. And, thanks to House Speaker Joe Souki, we learned the difference between just working for a real estate company and having a conflict of interest.
Neutrinos, it turns out, don't have a mass of zero, as scientists used to think. Instead, they have about one-five millionth the mass of an electron. That's about as much substance as Souki's argument that Bishop Estate's $132,000 payoff for his help putting together a land deal in Pukalani didn't create a conflict of interest.
What conflict? Souki was just holding down his day job at a Maui real estate company, where he did such fine work last year that they jumped his pay from $40,000 to more than $150,000. So what if he owns the company, Joseph M. Souki Realty? Critics are ''just trying to put a spin on it,'' Joe says, but it doesn't take a neutrino detector to be suspicious about Souki's subsequent attempt to kill a bill to limit Bishop Estate trustee compensation.
He failed. The implications? Goldman Sachs said this week it might go public, which could mean as much as a $2.5 billion profit for the Bishop Estate. Under the compensation terms Souki tried to defend, that'd come to $50 million for the trustees.
That's a lot of neutrinos.
Bishop Estate Archive
John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
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