Thursday, June 21, 2001

Ewa land suit nets
$1.3 million for city

The city went to court for
compensation for cleanup
of the Ewa Villages mill site

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

The city will get $1.3 million in compensation for the removal of contaminants from the mill site at Ewa Villages.

The City Council yesterday approved a settlement reached with former landowner Campbell Estate, lessee Oahu Sugar Co., the Northbrook Corp. and Dole Food Co.

The city filed suit in U.S. District Court against those parties in 1999, claiming it is spending at least $1.3 million to clean up toxic substances on the 590 acres it took over through condemnation in 1993.

At least $150,000 has been spent to date on outside attorneys hired to argue the case for the city, and Council members recently approved an additional $75,000 for legal fees.

Council Policy Chairman Romy Cachola said the settlement ensures taxpayers will not have to spend more for a trial.

The city, under former Mayor Frank Fasi, took over Ewa Villages as the mill was closing to save homes and the plantation lifestyle of the area.

Dubbed the Ewa Villages revitalization project, the $100 million project sought to develop new housing neighborhoods to generate proceeds for financing the renovation and upgrade of existing homes occupied by plantation tenants.

But the project was plagued by the poor housing market of the mid-1990s.

City housing official Michael Kahapea was accused and later convicted of bilking more than $5.6 million from city coffers for relocation of businesses from Ewa Villages.

E-mail to City Desk

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