Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Yakuza, triads, Mafia in Hawaii? A San Francisco case alleges international crime syndicate link to isle union

Not all of the peeved union members' allegations involve money. They accuse Local 3 bosses of doing business with international organized crime, including Japan's Yakuza and the Triads of China, in the Pacific Rim islands of Guam, Samoa, Marshall Islands and the Philippines.

by Larry Geller

Courthouse News has reported a corruption case that reads like a wild international Yakuza-Triad-Mafia mish-mash. The story is very appropriate for the day before Halloween. Yakuza, triads and Mafia in Hawaii? This case could be easily translated into an international crime novel. It’s so juicy, perhaps it actually will end up on one day.

For now, you’ll have to read it over at the Courthouse News website, not only because it’s copyrighted material I can’t reproduce here, but because it’s well written, and very scary…

I’ll snip part of the Hawaii connection, but this isn’t representative of the alleged thuggery (e.g., union goons threatening the wife of an employee at her home only to meet with the employee, who was unexpectedly home as well, armed and ready to defend the two of them). Remember, the statements below are allegations.

"The defendants, along with [defendant] IUOE vice president Russell Burns, concealed the true current purpose and operation of [The Hawaiian Stabilization Fund] from members of Local 3, District 17. Specifically, they concealed that it is used as a quasi-political action fund, which is operated by Local 3 to advance political agendas on the island, and as a slush fund abused by employees of the fund to enjoy extravagant trips, expensive lunches, limousines, and the like.

"Defendant Burns and the trustees of fund have always been more concerned with protecting this secret slush fund than in detecting and stopping misuse of fund assets," the class claims. "For example, between 2006 and 2012 embezzlement and credit card fraud were rampant at the fund. Specifically, defendant Perry Artates embezzled roughly $90,000 through improper credit card-based charges in one year. But, instead of firing Artates and suing to recover the stolen funds, defendant Alvin Kobayashi simply assisted Burns in concealing the full magnitude of the misconduct, in violation of their fiduciary duties. …

[Courthouse News Service, Members Call Union a Hotbed of Corruption, 10/30/2013]

My hope is that the paid reporters will pick up on this. The Courthouse News story and this case deserve to be expanded and told in greater detail. That’s what I pay the Star-Advertiser a subscription for. Or Civil Beat: You could do it.

Meanwhile, my thanks and appreciation to CN for their usual great coverage of Hawaii cases, many of which would remain “disappeared news” had they not covered the stories.


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