BY JIM DOOLEY – George Perry Jr., grandfather of Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz, passed away Monday.
Perry, 77, was known for training high school and college football players and other local athletes at a private gymnasium in the carport of his Kuliouou Valley home.
Several of the athletes, including Kreutz and fellow St. Louis High School alumnus Dominic Raiola, went on to successful careers in professional sports.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Perry was identified in the past by Honolulu Police Department Criminal Intelligence Unit officers as a local organized crime figure.
He declined to discuss those allegations, although attorney Eric Seitz called them unfounded “rumor and innuendo.”
A retired City refuse worker, Perry was a close associate of Big Island rancher and businessman Larry Mehau, who has repeatedly denied his own allegations of organized crime involvement.
In sworn depositions filed in a federal civil suit brought against HPD by police officer Kenneth Kamakana, five HPD CIU officers said in 2002 that Perry and Mehau had been identified as organized crime figures.
But HPD Capt. Milton Olmos, commander of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, said under oath that he and Perry were longtime personal friends and that Olmos knew of no evidence tying Perry to the criminal underworld.
“I’ve known him for many years, (he’s) been my friend since before I became a police officer,” Olmos testified about Perry.
Perry was convicted in the 1960’s of a felony assault charge and in 1975 of a misdemeanor gambling offense.
Kreutz, a multiple all-pro selection during his National Football League career with the Bears, has regularly said his grandfather was an inspiration to him when he was growing up.
Raiola also spoke highly of Perry in a 2008 Honolulu Advertiser interview.
“You didn’t want to let him down,” Raiola said of his training sessions at Perry’s gym.
“He was a big part of workouts every day. Those values carried over to the field. It’s real life. It’s not 24-hour Fitness,” Raiola said.
Perry was a partner with former Detroit Lions NFL player Rockne Freitas, now a vice president of the University of Hawaii, in GRG Enterprises, Inc., a controversial business venture that leased state property at Kewalo Basin and subleased it at a six-fold profit to other companies without obtaining necessary state approval.
In 1999, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that the state had excused GRG from paying more than $541,000 in back lease rent after the company argued it would be forced into bankruptcy if required to pay the bill.
The company then surrendered the property to the state after disputing any obligation to pay clean-up costs of environmental contamination caused by leaking underground diesel fuel tanks at the waterfront site.