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Pflueger, State Attorney, Nearing Final Agreement on Charges Brought Against Him for Deaths Caused by the Ka Loko Dam Breach

James Pflueger

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - Hawaii Reporter has learned the state attorney general and James Pflueger’s attorneys are finalizing a plea deal that would allow the 86-year-old automobile dealer to have his company take the brunt of charges filed against him over the breach of his Ka Loko Dam.

Attorneys for both sides are scheduled to meet March 14, exactly seven years to the day that Pflueger’s 30-acre Ka Loko Dam breached, killing seven people and causing millions of dollars in property damage.

The powerful waves that reached more than 40 feet high in the early morning hours of March 14, 2006, swept Aurora Solveig Fehring, her husband Alan Gareth Dingwall, and their 2-year-old son Rowan Grey Makana Fehring-Dingwall, to their death.

The roaring, raging wall of water also killed Christina Michelle McNees, who was 7 months pregnant, and Daniel Jay Arroyo, her fiancé, who she was set to marry just hours later; Timothy Wendell Noonan, Jr., a friend who Aurora invited to stay with them after he lost his home; and Wayne Carl Rotstein, the Fehring’s caretaker and business partner.

Pflueger was indicted on November 2008 on seven counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree by a secret grand jury convened by then State Attorney General Mark Bennett.

Witnesses testified Pflueger knowingly covered the dam’s main safety feature, its spillway, when without permits, he illegally flattened a hillside and placed dirt around the reservoir to prepare for home construction. Pflueger blamed the state and county for the breach.

Under a change of plea deal that still must be finalized, Pflueger would reportedly plead guilty to a felony reckless endangerment count, while his company would plead guilty to the seven counts of manslaughter.

Anne Lopez, spokesperson for the attorney general, said: “We have been in negotiations, but we cannot discuss the details.”

Pflueger is also facing criminal charges in U.S. District Court for tax evasion. His nearly two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi just concluded and her ruling on two counts is expected March 20 at 9 a.m.

Pflueger, who was indicted in 2010, is accused of using the dealership, which he sold to his son Charles Alan Pflueger in 2001, to pay personal expenses. Pflueger also is accused of hiding nearly $15 million from the sale of a property in California, called the Hacienda Corporate Plaza, and sending the proceeds to a bank account located in Switzerland. Federal prosecutors claimed Pflueger and his accountant, Dennis Duban, manipulated the property transaction to avoid paying $4.5 million in taxes and hid the money overseas.

Duban testified Pflueger knew he would need to “generate significant funds” for his defense including lawyers, experts and engineers – and he would also potentially need millions of dollars more to pay a legal settlement. Pflueger was personally worth more than $71 million in 2007 (not including the $15 million the Swiss bank account), however most of the money was tied up in land investments.

Duban also testified that Pflueger told him he wanted to “protect his assets” and shield his money from the families suing him over the Ka Loko Dam breach.

Pflueger has maintained his innocence and blamed all wrongdoing on his accountant and the dealership staff.

Pflueger’s manslaughter trial has been delayed several times since 2008 because of challenges his extensive legal team has made in court. His federal tax fraud trial was also delayed on multiple occasions.

If Pflueger does change his plea on March 14, he would learn his fate on the tax fraud case just eight days later.

Those familiar with the case expect Pflueger would request no prison time, citing health and age issues.

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=298454

5 Comments for “Pflueger, State Attorney, Nearing Final Agreement on Charges Brought Against Him for Deaths Caused by the Ka Loko Dam Breach”

  1. [...] the article here: Pflueger, State Attorney, Nearing Final Agreement on Charges … Tags: climbing, donate, february-27, google, government, health, murder, pflueger, [...]

  2. "Duban also testified that Pflueger told him he wanted to “protect his assets” and shield his money from the families suing him over the Ka Loko Dam breach.

    Pflueger has maintained his innocence and blamed all wrongdoing on his accountant and the dealership staff.

    Pflueger’s manslaughter trial has been delayed several times since 2008 because of challenges his extensive legal team has made in court. His federal tax fraud trial was also delayed on multiple occasions.

    If Pflueger does change his plea on March 14, he would learn his fate on the tax fraud case just eight days later.

    Those familiar with the case expect Pflueger would request no prison time, citing health and age issues."

    Pflueger has played the system, via his attorney's that are an instrument of his will. He is not in the least recalcitrant for the loss of property nor the loss of 7 lives, actually eight, if you consider the vanishing of the life of an unborn child.
    If one has followed this tragedy, from it's inception, and understands the degree of culpability of Mr Pflueger. Understand the absolute disdain and arrogance and lack of decency He has displayed throughout the nearly 7 years of this ordeal: Then one can only be reconciled to an inescapable conclusion. Mr. Pflueger needs to be sentenced to prison, and he should be required to be imprisoned. The same fate that is so easily meted to the least of us, should as well be delivered to those who have realized great privilege. That is right. That is Pono. That Mr Jflueger should receive any compassion? That compassion should be commensurate with the compassion he has displayed. And that would be none. He has attempted to escape accountability the entirety of this run. Nothing is changed now.

  3. You are so right - nothing has changed. It's been 7 years!!! No court yet, now a plea bargin.

    Kaloko Reservoir overtopped again last March 6th, 2012. The dam face on the Kaloko volcano is still broken. There still is no spillway for the Kaloko reservoir. There is no Emergency Action Plan for Kaloko (the only HIGH hazard dam in Hawaii {and U.S} without one!). There still is a second stream system diverted directly into Kaloko (constructed in the Moloa`a Forest Reserve, without permits or engineering) that caused it to fill up and break so fast. Pflueger received house site permits for the site on the dam that killed 8 people. I count babies.

    When will fixing the broken dam be considered? Why is un-permitted water being diverted from the forest reserve into Kaloko and Pflueger's new reservoirs?

    The state has known about the water problems for over a decade - 4 years before the 8 people died. How many more people have to die before the state demands these illegal dam system alterations be fixed? Nobody downstream is safe yet.

  4. Where mercy is shown mercy is given. He has shown no mercy in the transfer of the land under my mothers house to his daughter rather than selling it to my family at the end of the 55 year land lease. Just protecting his assets again ? Who gets away with that ? Jimmy Pflueger does. Tracy Pflueger Allen has hired private processors to scare my 82 year old mother to death and make her move out. No one in this family - the Pfluegers AND the Cassidys - deserves any mercy from us due to age or health. They are the greediest, most heartless people you will ever meet !

  5. The seven victims were living in the Wailapa Stream flood zone. Bruce Fehring was supposed to move his daughter's house.

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