EEOC Announces Major Human Trafficking Lawsuit
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will announce Wednesday morning in press conferences in Hawaii and California that the agency is filing a human trafficking lawsuit against Global Horizon. The agency, which did not name Global in its press release, said the case involves hundreds of Thai workers from Hawaii, California and Washington.
“EEOC officials will address concerns that the Thai workers were discriminated against as targets of human slavery by a California-based labor contractor and several farms in the states of Hawaii and Washington,” the press statement said.
In an exclusive interview, Hawaii Reporter editor Malia Zimmerman questioned Global Horizon CEO Mordechai “Motty” Yosef Orian extensively about the allegations against him and his company. Zimmerman interviewed several of the Thai workers as well.
In addition to the pending lawsuit by the EEOC, Orian is facing a multi-count federal indictment, charged with a “scheme” to import 600 Thai workers to America from 2001 to 2007. The charges include forced labor conspiracy, a document servitude conspiracy and threatening “serious harm” to workers. Additional charges related to wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering are expected, his lawyer disclosed in court last week. On January 14, a 10-count superseding indictment charged two other people in Los Angeles, Joseph Knoller and Bruce Schwartz, as co-conspirators.
Orian now lives at the Ala Moana Hotel where he has been under government curfew and monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet after U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi deemed him a flight risk. Assistant US Attorney Susan Cushman filed documents claiming Orian had used 26 different aliases and four different Social Security numbers and could flee.
On April 11, US District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway granted him permission to travel to the mainland for legal council should pre-trial services approve it beforehand.
Orian maintained that he is innocent of all charges and alleged a handful of high-ranking government officials have conspired on several occasions to ruin his business, his finances, his life and take his freedom.
The EEOC has been criticized for taking so many years to address problems involving Thai labor.
While it is addressing the Global case, the EEOC still has not filed a complaint against Aloun Farms, a local company whose owners have been indicted federally for similar misdeeds and who in fact partnered with Global in 2003 to import Thai workers to their Oahu farms.
Complaints in the Aloun Farms case were filed back as early as 2006 in California and Hawaii, workers told Hawaii Reporter, but nothing has been done to help them. The workers’ main complaints involve several thousands dollars in recruitment fees they say they were ordered to pay by both Global and Aloun before being allowed to work in America – money they could never make back because workers say there was not enough work to keep them employed. Heads of Global and Aloun deny receiving the money from the recruitment fees.
City Wants to Borrow $2 Billion for Rail Project – Before the $5.5 Billion Project Gets Federal Funds or Final Approval
Honolulu City Council members will consider Bill 15 at a hearing on Wednesday to authorize the city to issue general obligation bonds from the General Improvement Bond Fund, the Highway Improvement Bond Fund, Solid Waste Improvement Bond Fund or the Housing Development Special Fund.
Honolulu City Council Member Ann Kobayashi told Hawaii Reporter she is concerned that the administration also is trying to borrow another $2 billion in bonds to finance the city rail project.
No federal funds have been authorized for the $5.5 billion 20-mile Honolulu rail system because the final design has not been approved.
The city does not have enough funding to cover the three contracts it has already procured.
The city is obligated to get approval from 6 of 9 council members to get authorization to sell bonds.
Kobayashi said she believes allowing the city administration to borrow more money when 20 percent of the city budget is already spent on debt service, is irresponsible, especially when the rail project has no federal funding or final approvals.
“Any responsible person would not borrow money before a full funding agreement is in place with the federal government and the city knows how much federal funding it will receive for the rail,” Kobayashi said.
In addition, the city has several other major expenses including $3 billion to fix the sewer system as mandated by the U.S. EPA. The Board of Water Supply wants to increase its repair budget from $40 million to $200 million to fend off daily water main breaks. And the city’s roads need an estimated $77 million in repairs and maintenance every year, but this is not getting done, Kobayashi said.
Best Source for Hollywood Celebrity News in Hawaii – the U.K. News?
The best place to get news about celebrities visiting Hawaii is not a publication in Hawaii – or a publication in the United States. In fact, the best source of Hollywood celebrity gossip is in the London Daily Mail.
For example, Grey’s Anatomy “McDreamy” Patrick Dempsey is seen in the April 19 edition splashing in the Hawaiian ocean with his family.
In the April 18th edition, Owen Wilson is seen on Maui with his three month old son Robert Ford and girlfriend Jade Luella.
In the April 19th edition, Basic Instinct Star Sharon Stone is spotted on Maui in a red bikini with her sons two of her three sons, Laird, five, and Quinn, four.
In the April 19th edition, Lost star Evangeline Lilly, expecting her first child soon, is shown walking in a lose fitting Hawaiian style wrap dress. Though while on the hit series Lost she appeared on national television talk shows such as the Tonight Show and David Letterman speaking about how unpleasant it is for her to live in Hawaii, she apparently still has a home here. She also is seen walking with her beau, Norman Kali.