County files charges against James Pflueger and Co.

The Kaua’i County Prosecutors Office has filed eight charges of violating the county grading ordinance against North Shore landowner James Pflueger, his company and other parties who work with him.

The charges stem from a incident in November 2001 when torrential rains flooded a new road that led to the homes of the family of Amy Marvin and others in Pila’a Bay.

The runoff covered areas around the Marvin home and flowed into the bay and covered reef areas, triggering investigations by the federal, state and county governments and generating lawsuits from environmental groups.

The Kaua’i Police Department was to serve a penal summons to Pflueger and others named in the complaint, according to a Kaua’i District Court employee. It was not known if the papers were yet served.

Pflueger and others are currently scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Hanalei District Court at the Hanalei Courthouse at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12, according to first deputy prosecuting attorney Craig DeCosta.

The penal summons signed by Kaua’i County Prosecutor Michael Soong last month identifies as defendants Pflueger, Pflueger manager Dennis Duban, Pflueger Properties and Pflueger Management LLC.

The complaints generally note that the parties between June 2001 and July 2002, in numerous incidents, were responsible for grading in excess of 100 cubic yards of material apparently from properties owned by Pflueger and his business partners without a county grading permit.

Some of the work involved grading a roadway to the beach and excavating or cutting a hillside along a road without a permit. Other work involved grading and filling areas with materials.

If convicted on the charges, Pflueger and other individuals cited in the complaints could face a maximum fine of $1,000 for each count and imprisonment of no more than 30 days for each count. The fines and the jail time could run concurrently or consecutively.

Following damage to properties and the environment in Pila’a Bay and public demands for action, Pflueger agreed to a costly remediation plan to prevent further discharge from his property into the ocean water.

The work involved the restoration of a main road leading to the homes of the Marvins and others, revegetation and use of filter fences to prevent sediment from entering into waters at Pila’a Bay.

William Tam, a Honolulu attorney who has represented Pflueger over the mudslide incident, was not immediately available to comment on the charges against Pflueger and others.

The criminal prosecution follows a civil suit the county filed late last year against Pflueger and others connected with his company for damage done by the November 2001 mudslide in Pila’a Bay.

Following mounting public complaints and demands for government action against Pflueger, representatives of Pila’a 400, L.L.C., of which Pflueger is a partner, withdrew an application to subdivide a 383-acre property in Pila’a into 19-lot residential subdivision.

The developer, however, could resubmit the proposal to the county.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net

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