Minaai Still on Your Dime | Health Club Settlement | Health Connector Jive | Mo-Lasses In The Cold, Cold Water

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SBH Business All Stars Friday! This Friday, September 20, Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation will host its annual SBH Business All Stars Awards Banquet at the Waialae Country Club from 5:00 to 8 p.m.

Primary event sponsors are: HMAA, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii and Outback Steakhouse, Hawaii Kai. There is still time for you to come, join the fun and honor the honorees.


You know the community leaders who will receive awards (see below), and it would be great if you were there to congratulate them. You can look forward to a sumptuous buffet, fun, entertainment, a silent auction and good networking. Special: ensemble members of the new Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will be there to perform live (6 pm), courtesy of Vicky Cayetano. The musicians who will perform at Friday’s event are: Claire Hazzard, Hung Wu, Ethan Pernela and Joanna Morrison. Don’t miss them. Make reservations TODAY by contacting Janayhe at SBH at 396-1724.

Mo-Lasses In The Cold, Cold… Water. The more than 200,000 gallon molasses spill at Honolulu Harbor last week continues to cause serious environmental problems in Honolulu waters. The state has collected 25,000 dead fish and more die each day. There had been a molasses spill years ago on Maui, but state and federal regulators didn’t treat molasses as “toxic” and it wasn’t monitored closely. It will be now. Matson, our state’s monopoly shipping company, will have to pay big fines and clean up costs. Molasses operations by Alexander & Baldwin, owner of Matson, are also on hold.

Gates, Buffet, Ellison. No, this is not a starting football lineup, but the three richest men in America. Again. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Lanai’s Larry Ellison, freshly returned from the America’s Cup race with New Zealand. Buffet, by the way, a BIG supporter of President Obama, is now calling for Obamacare to be scrapped in its entirety because he just learned it will hurt the “little guy.”

Naniloa Not Gone Yet. The Naniloa Hotel, a long time favorite among locals and visitors alike located along the picturesque Banyon Drive in Hilo, is struggling with bankruptcy, late rent and the County’s desire to end their lease and put them out of business. But the hotel is fighting back, asking the bankruptcy judge to help them obtain a lease extension. They are not gone yet.

Health Connector Jive. Yesterday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and cabinet members along with the heads of HMSA and Kaiser Permanente announced the launch of the Hawaii Health Connector, a virtual insurance marketplace, which is part of the Obamacare mandate. The press conference was held in Kalihi and the Guv said what many of us have known all along: The ultimate goal is “Universal healthcare,” which translates in government speak to a government single payer health system without the need for private insurance companies. The Human Services Director raved that the Connector will be used to get even more people on government subsidies, such as welfare and SNAP benefits, without that pesky requirement for asset or income caps and little or no paper work. Hooray for Hawaii the Welfare State! (We are already #1 in the amount that goes to each recipient). The press was limited in their questioning about the details when the press conference was abruptly ended. The Hawaii Health Connector received $128 million from the federal government for its first year of operation.

Health Club Settlement. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, San Fernando Valley Division, has approved a settlement between Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’, Office of Consumer Protection, Meridian Sports Clubs California, LLC. the former owner of the Honolulu Club, and the Unsecured Creditors Committee in Meridian’s Chapter 11 case.

The settlement affects consumers who purchased Gold Club Memberships for health club privileges at the Honolulu Club. As part of its plan to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Meridian, the former operator of the Honolulu Club, terminated its relationship with Honolulu Club and moved to reject its contracts with its Gold Club Members.  At the same time, the new owners of Island Club & Spa gave assurances that they would provide Gold Club Members privileges at Island Club & Spa in order that they not be injured by Meridian’s bankruptcy.

OCP opened an investigation into the matter after receiving complaints from Gold Club Members. Notwithstanding that privileges at Island Club & Spa were offered by the new owners of Island Club & Spa, OCP determined that Meridian’s Gold Club Memberships appeared to violate certain State consumer protection statutes governing health clubs.

OCP filed a proof of claim in Meridian’s bankruptcy, seeking restitution and prejudgment interest on behalf of an estimated 334 Gold Club Members, as well as civil fines and penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The settlement resolves these claims. As part of the settlement, the court approved the offer by the new owners of Island Club & Spa to allow Gold Club Members health club privileges at Island Club & Spa for 36 months at no charge. The court also approved OCP’s claim for $2,015,500 in civil fines, penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Gold Club Members may call Island Club & Spa located at 1177 Queen St. at 543-3900 for information about their membership rights under the settlement.

NOAA Council. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has established a new business advisory council to give its director the views of industry leaders as they work with corporate partners in marine resource protection.

Business leaders will be invited to join the council, which will consist of 15 volunteers representing industries such as travel and tourism, recreation, fishing, transportation, energy, and marketing. Members will be appointed by the national marine sanctuaries director and serve two- to three-year terms.

The council will work with sanctuary leadership on strategies to use the sanctuary system’s recreational value and beauty to aid local economies, engage the corporate sector and other non-traditional partners in marine resource protection, and develop projects to sustain and protect the sanctuaries and other marine protected areas, among other initiatives. For additional information about the business council, visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov

Minaai Still on Your Dime. According to Malia Zimmerman and Hawaii Reporter, “The man at the center of a procurement scandal at the University of Hawaii has returned to work.”

Brian Minaai, associate vice president for Capitol Improvements since 2008, has been on paid leave for nearly eight months as the state attorney general investigated allegations of favoritism in the procurement of construction projects.

The investigation is ongoing, but Hawaii Reporter has learned that, just five days before MRC Greenwood stepped down as university president Aug. 31, she authorized Minaai to return full-time.

Minaai is paid an annual salary of $213,768, more than $17,000 per month. While on paid leave Minaai made more than $140,000, plus benefits.”

UH Solves Football Deficit. UH Athletic Director Ben Jay has a solution for the continuing red ink in the UH football program: More sponsors, more charges, more fees. Jay spoke at a press conference last week after UH registered a $2 million deficit following an $11 million football deficit. Here’s an idea: How ’bout more offense on the field?

HPU On The Rise. Hawai’i Pacific University climbed 10 places in the top Regional Universities in the West in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2014,” released last week. That comes on the heels of a six-place jump in last year’s ranking, school officials noted.

The 16-place swing over two years is uncommon by U.S. News standards. HPU is the top-ranked private university in Hawai’i, and while it places in a four-way tie for 71st among the Western regional campuses, it is now among the top 45 private campuses in that category and among the top five privates not associated with a religious institution.

Last month, the website  CollegeFactual.com named HPU the most diverse university in America, with particular strengths in ethnic and geographic diversity. Also last month, Princeton Review named HPU among the “Best in the West,” its listing of the top 124 campuses in the 15 Western states.

And in July,  AffordableCollegesOnline.org ranked HPU tops among Hawai’i private universities for “lifetime return on investment.”

No Obamacare Penalty. Yet. According to Reuters, the U.S. Labor Department posted a notice last Wednesday indicating that employers will not be penalized for failing to educate workers by Oct. 1 about health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Each company “should provide a written notice to its employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace… but there is no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice,” the department said on its website.

Mel Kaku at SBH SUNRISE. Who will help business during Hawaii’s next emergency? Find out from Mel Kaku, the City’s Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Thursday, September 26, from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s, Ala Moana Center. Kaku’s topic is, “Disaster Support by the City for Small Business.” Networking, full breakfast buffet, and business updates. All participants will be introduced. For information and reservations, contact Jaynahe Self, at SBH, 396-1724.

Gordon Trimble on “A Better Day.” Remember former State Senator Gordon Trimble? “Dr. No?” Miss him? Well. You’re in luck: you can see a current interview with Gordon on O’lelo TV, “A Better Day,” (VIEWS, channel 54) on:

9/24    Tues      8:30am
10/01  Tues      8:30am

SBH Welcomes Young Entrepreneurs. Smart Business Hawaii (SBH) is seeking Young Entrepreneurs. The SBH YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS is now up and running. The very capable and energetic Noelani Bonifacio, is heading up the group and she wants you to join other young professionals. Annual dues are only $75 for those under 35. Contact SBH, go online (www.smartbusinesshawaii.com) or call 396-1724.

Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.

Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday from 7:05 a.m. to 8 am. Tune in!

Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current (September) monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community. A limited number of printed copies are available for mailing if you call SBH (396-1724).

Want More Business? JOIN SBH! Is YOUR business a member of SBH? No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call 396-1724 or go online to  www.smartbusinesshawaii.com.

SBH can help you with YOUR business. Just starting a business?   Call me personally for help at 396-1724 or email: SBH@lava.net. Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.

As always, SBH appreciates your support, so please consider joining or sending a donation to help SBH continue to assist the private, independent businesses in our community.