Release: No.: Hawaii County/Sulla 1
Date Mailed: January 6, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sherri Kane
LAWFARE IN HAWAII COUNTY:
Hawaii County Officials, Complicit with Drug Dealer and Land Thief, Steal Affordable Housing from Low Income Families
Hilo HI (1-6-20)—Hawaii County officials directed a known drug dealer, indicted forger and land thief, to administer an affordable housing transaction that defrauded a Ukrainian-Armenian developer, and resulted in the theft of 11.7 acres of ‘Waikaloa Highlands.” The project had been approved to serve 80 needy low income families.
According to public records, Hilo lawyer Paul J. Sulla, Jr.—an indicted deed forger and hallucinogenic drug (Schedule 1 DMT) trafficker—conspired with Hawaii County officials to convert affordable housing land into his own ‘for-profit’ shell company for a $1.5 million gain.
Sulla’s actions provided Hawaii County officials with the ‘legal’ excuse to breach the affordable housing deal, and convert low income housing into a more lucrative commercial development. This crime is especially heinous considering the need of so many low-income families, who recently lost their homes due to volcanic eruptions.
On December 4, 2019, Sulla was indicted by a 12-member grand jury for a 2016 forgery of a County deed to steal a Pahoa Hawaii church property and convert it into an illicit drug compound.
Multiple other Sulla forgeries and criminal complaints remain neglected on the Big Island, which has empowered Sulla and County officials to transact this latest round of deed forgery and theft.
Sulla’s pattern and practice of forging documents to steal valuable properties would not be possible without the aid and assistance of Hawaii County lawyers, housing officials, and State land administrators, who have continued to conceal Sulla’s dirty-dealings and their own ongoing complicity in these heists.
“If there is all this noncompliance going on, why hasn’t the County taken enforcement actions instead of just leaving us to do what amounts to what some people consider the death penalty in land use law?” asked Land Commissioner Gary Okuda of Ron Kim, Planning Program Co-manager, and Deputy Corporation Counsel for the County.
The Commissioner was referring to the ‘elephant under the carpet’ that law enforcers have neglected. How is it possible that Sulla, aided-and-abetted by Hawaii County officials, continues to forge deeds and steal properties, yet no one has been able to bring him to justice?
Steven Lim, lawyer for the defrauded Armenian and Ukrainian investors, asked, “Who would have been the person from the County that would be responsible for that?”
Jeff Darrow, Planning Program Manager, Deputy Corporate Counsel replied, “This would have been the members of the Office of Housing and Community Development, as well as our Corporation Counsel, and I believe that Mayor as well, and the parties, the Applicant themselves.”
Darrow was referring to Susan Akiyama, Housing Administrator; Amy Self, Deputy Corporation Counsel at the time; Mayor Billy Kenoi (who left office under a cloud of suspicion, having been indicted and exonerated for crimes unprovable with the evidence struck by Judge Dexter Del Rosario, who was reported to have dismissed three counts of tampering with government records after the prosecution rested its case); and Neil S. Gyotoku, Housing Administrator.
Lim noted that, “the County Office of Housing and Community Development, which I’ll call OHCD, prepared all the documents for the transfer.”
Administrator Gyotoku questioned under oath, testified that even though the altered deed had been under County control at the time the forgery occurred, he had no idea how the forgery happened.
When attorney Lim subpoenaed the records to get that exact answer, the Land Use Commission refused to provide it, stating it was irrelevant—an act akin to an HRS Sec. 710, Offense Against Public Administration.
The evidentiary record however speaks volumes. Paul Sulla created the deed, Paul Sulla fraudulently modified the deed, and in the end, Paul Sulla pocketed 1.5 million dollars at the expense of low income families in dire need of affordable housing.
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The Hawaii news media has generally neglected this expanding story of great social importance (despite being adequately noticed). Major Hawaii media receiving this information will be contacted in the coming days to ensure they are serving the public’s interest under their FCC re-licensing requirements and per the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics- “To Seek Truth and Report It.”