Business Briefs


POSTED: Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yucaipa appeals Aloha name ruling

Mesa Air Group's go! still could get the Aloha Airlines name.

Yucaipa Cos. has appealed a ruling from federal Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King that denied it the opportunity to rebid for Aloha's intellectual property and follow through with a plan to license the name to Mesa.

The case will now be heard by three judges on the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel in Pasadena, Calif.

Attorney Jim Wagner, who represents Aloha Chapter 7 trustee Dane Field, said the appeals process could take about six months.

King ruled last week that Yucaipa, the former majority owner of the now liquidated carrier, cannot bid for Aloha's intellectual property because Yucaipa had a previously announced deal to license the name to Mesa for 10 years for a minimum $6 million. Mesa, which has been blamed by many former Aloha employees and other local insiders for Aloha's demise, wanted to re-brand its go! aircraft as Aloha.

An earlier auction won by Yucaipa for Aloha's intellectual property was invalidated by King because a newspaper reporter was not allowed to view the “;public”; proceedings.

King blocked Yucaipa from bidding for Aloha's intellectual property because he considered Mesa to be a co-purchaser. He said Mesa, which was sued by Aloha for predatory pricing and using proprietary Aloha information, “;inflicted great harm”; on the company and upon thousands of Aloha employees and their families.

Hilo Hattie bankruptcy losses hit $4M

Hilo Hattie had an operating loss of $307,997 for the month ending May 2 and has bled $4 million since filing for bankruptcy in October.

The company, which has to file monthly operating reports with federal Bankruptcy Court, also disclosed it had net revenue of about $1 million during the month, bringing its total to $8.9 million since filing for bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 expenses from April 5 to May 2 amounted to about $88,000, including trustee and legal fees.

Since filing for bankruptcy, the company has expended a cumulative $545,527 for Chapter 11 expenses.

Vasconcellos places third in SBA event

Vaughn Vasconcellos of Maui-based Akimeka LLC finished third in the U.S. Small Business Administration's national competition in Washington, D.C., for Small Business Person of the Year for 2009.

Vasconcellos was chosen earlier as Hawaii's Small Business Person of the Year for his work with Akimeka, which provides information technology for the military medical industry.

The Molokai native has grown Akimeka from a Hawaii company with 20 employees in 2001 to a firm with a staff of 161 with offices in Texas, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Its annual revenue is now nearly $20 million, with a 54 percent increase in its revenue base in the past five years.

On the move

» Jon Whittington, executive vice president of retail lending at Central Pacific HomeLoans, has received the Mortgage Bankers Association designation of Certified Mortgage Banker, which is the highest professional honor in the real estate industry. Whittington is the first residential Certified Mortgage Banker in Hawaii.

» The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's board of directors has appointed M. Nalani Fujimori to executive director. She has more than 10 years' experience with legal aid, as well as with death-penalty appellate work through New York University's Death Penalty Fellowship Program. She also assisted in the filing of a class-action lawsuit concerning the sexual harassment of female inmates.

Grant will fund training facility

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.2 million to Chaminade University for conversion of an existing campus building into a nursing training facility.

The project is expected to create 330 jobs and generate $25 million in private investment for Hawaii.

“;This EDA investment will train potential nurses ... and graduates will fill critical positions in hospitals in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands,”; said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.