Retired auto Honolulu dealer James Pflueger, his company and associates were arraigned Feb. 12 in Hanalei District Court on criminal charges of violating the county’s grading ordinance for unpermitted work in Pila’a on the North Shore two years ago.
Pflueger did not attend the arraignment, but was represented by Kaua’i attorney Max Graham and Maui attorney Phil Lowenthal.
A Lihu’e District Court staffer said five charges were lodged against Pflueger, four charges were lodged against Pflueger Properties and two charges were lodged against the land company Pila’a 400 LLC.
At least eight of the charges were tied to an incident in November, 2001 when stormwaters flooded a new road that led to the homes of Amy Marvin and others in Pila’a Bay
The runoff covered areas around the Marvin home, while runoff from a bare hillside, a county official said, also flowed into the bay and covered parts of the reef.
The county said no permits were given to Pflueger or his associates for the work that caused the damage, triggering investigations last year by officials from federal, state and county governments.
The Marvin family and environmentalists have filed separate civil suits against Pflueger for damages to the home and the reef.
Pflueger and others who were criminally charged are scheduled to enter pleas on March 15.
Damage to the Marvin’s home and the environment at Pila’a drew a public outcry for government action against Pflueger. Subsequently, the Kaua’i County Council introduced legislation to strengthen the county’s grading, grubbing and stockpiling ordinances.