Koloa camp residents follow different paths

LIHU‘E — Two Koloa camp tenants chose different paths Monday morning in 5th District Court.

Doreen J. Jacintho and John Kruse appeared in response to an eviction suit filed April 10 by Haupu Land Co. LLC against the remaining tenants.

Kruse, a 33-year resident, stood alone and said he had decided to leave the camp. He said he agreed with the plaintiff and would sign the stipulation order.

Attorney Lawrence McCreery represented Jacintho, and said they would be filing a motion by May 29 to dismiss the suit.

Attorney Jonathan Chun represented Haupu Land Co. He was given until June 5 to respond to the motion, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 25.

Judge Edmund D. Acoba said if the motion to dismiss is denied then the parties should be prepared for mediation.

Remaining tenant Gregory Manintin was removed from the court calendar, and John Patt was not present but waived acceptance of service. Chun said Patt would be addressed at the June hearing.

Grove Farm Project Manager and Assistant Secretary Dave Hinazumi was present in court but did not participate in the hearing.

Kepa Kruse was in court to support his father John. He was also raised in the camp, mostly in the home of his grandmother.

Kepa said that instead of being angry he is grateful for the time he had there. He said the camp no longer has the spirit that made it worth saving.

Following the April announcement that several of the camp residents were leaving, Kepa said the vacant buildings were broken into, looted and vandalized.

“The camp is trashed,” Kepa said. “This is really sad and it breaks my heart.”

Grove Farm, a land management and community develop company owned by AOL co-founder Stephen Case, delivered 120-day eviction notices to its tenants in November in preparation for the company’s plan to erect 50 new, prefabricated houses on the 12-acre site.

At a January townhall meeting, Grove representatives said the development is going in the Koloa Town site because it is already zoned residential and they own the land.

To build on land zoned agricultural would require a costly process of impact studies and other permits.

Relatives rallied on behalf of their elders, the retired cane workers and surviving spouses that Grove Farm allowed to remain on the plantation-era homes known as Japanese Camp C.

The Kaua‘i County Council and the Hawai‘i State Senate passed resolutions recommending Grove Farm explore ways to resolve the issue with the tenants. Both resolutions noted that it was a private business matter that had overtones to the historic plantation-era camps.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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