Shack Waikiki
Shack Waikiki

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN AND JIM DOOLEY – On November 13, 2010, a man greeted 30-year-old Jesse K. T. Yoshino in the Shack Waikiki and then moved past him. But as soon as his back was turned, Yoshino, a friend of Shack security personnel, violently attacked the man, punching him multiple times in the face. Yoshino’s friend, bouncer Curtis Swanson, followed closely behind Yoshino as if to back him up. He later pulled Yoshino off the man who between 1:51 a.m. and 1:56 a.m. had already taken a severe beating.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Tom Brady detailed this attack today in U.S. District Court, noting the entire incident is caught on a security tape. Yoshino, who has no criminal record, denies he was the one in the video. But Brady said that Swanson, who is now in federal custody on violence and extortion charges related to beatings at the bar, identified Yoshino as the aggressor, and that Yoshino has refused to take responsibility for his actions.

In an effort to get U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang to deny Yoshino’s release, Brady also detailed three other recent alleged violent incidents that he said he learned of this morning in which Yoshino was the aggressor who “punched out” or made threats against his victims.

He said Yoshino claimed that he is not the “shot caller” at the Shack and followed the direction of others. That includes Swanson and a third defendant, Tory Winward, security chief at the Chack Waikiki.

Yoshino said he has known both men since childhood and coached their kids in Little League. Winward, 44, is a part-owner of The Shack Waikiki.

Yoshino’s court-appointed attorney, Alvin Nishimura, argued that Brady was “throwing mud at the wall hoping it would stick.” He also noted that the federal Pretrial Services ofice had recommended that Yoshino be released on home detention with electronic monitoring, and only be allowed to travel to and from work.

But Chang stood firm in his assertion that Yoshino, who is a single father of two, is a “danger to the community” and “does not make good decisions.”

“I do see him as a risk to the community,” Chang said.

Yoshino’s supporters, which included a large group of women who appeared to be in their early 20s, made noises signaling their disapproval with both the Brady’s claims and Chang’s decision.

The federal case against Yoshino, Swanson and Winward, reads like scenes from the movie The Godfather, with details of multiple violent attacks, threats and extortion against The Shack Waikiki owners.

All three of the defendants were arrested Monday and are being held without bail.

Winward is alleged to have beaten one executive of the Shack Waikiki and intimidated another into surrendering his ownership shares to Winward.

In a sworn affidavit filed in the federal criminal case, FBI Special Agent Joe Yum said Lindberg surrendered his 51 percent interest in the business last year because “he felt he was forced by Winward to leave the business partnership without receiving any compensation for his share.”

The shares were transferred to Winward Consulting, a business operated by Winward’s wife Sharon, Yum’s affidavit said.
Lindberg, who is identified by his initials in Yum’s affidavit, “feared for his physical safety and for the safety of his family,” Yum said.

Earlier this week during Swanson’s hearing, Brady said that Swanson told FBI agents after he was arrested that it “is perfectly okay to fight, to get into fights to resolve differences” and “If somebody owes you money, he deserves what he gets.”

The Shack Waikiki has been repeatedly investigated and cited by the Honolulu Liquor Commission for a variety of infractions, including acts of violence committed by bar bouncers against patrons.

The company has been sued at least eight times by patrons who claim they were assaulted and injured by bouncers without provocation. Some of those cases are still pending.

While Winward is represented by well-known private defense attorney Michael Green, both Yoshino and Swanson were assigned publicly-funded counsel.

Brady said that the defendants’ co-workers who witnessed these violent attacks and threats – and their victims – are “terrified.”

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