Trespass charges dismissed

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    During a ceremony Jan. 28 at Coco Palms, kupuna Puanani Rogers, left, said “the greatest gift we can give is to forgive,” imploring the group to stay in the attitude of aloha.

LIHUE — Criminal trespass charges against the defendants in a civil trial over land in Wailua, where the Coco Palms Resort once stood, have been dismissed.

“The charges were dropped, for now, pending further actions at the site,” said Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kauai, Justin Kollar. “It’s possible that new charges will be filed in the future, now that it has been judicially determined that the property owners have the right to possession of the premises.”

After closing arguments late last month, District Court Judge Michael Soong ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering Noa Mau-Espirito and Kamu “Charles” Hepa off the land.

As of Friday, there are still a handful of people living on the disputed property.

In a statement to TGI, Toni Schwartz, spokesperson for the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, wrote, “The sheriff’s are working with the property owner and the Kauai Police Department on this matter.

“For safety and security reasons, we are not at this time free to discuss any strategies or other information related to enforcement action,” she wrote.

Kim Tamaoka, spokeswoman for the County of Kauai, said, “The state sheriffs have taken the lead on enforcing the writ of ejectment on this case. KPD has offered to assist at the sheriff’s request.”

During the trial, Mau-Espirito and Hepa filed a Quiet Title claim against Coco Palms Hui LLC, but according to Mau-Espirito, there’s no date set at this time for those proceedings.

Coco Palms Resort was damaged and shuttered after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Throughout the years, several developers have attempted to restore the resort, but with no success.

Developers Chad Waters and Tyler Greene purchased the land through a special warranty deed from Prudential Insurance for $23 million. By spring 2018 crews were expected to start Phase II, the renovation and reconstruction of Coco Palms.

The $175 million project is expected to boast 350 rooms, 12,000 square feet of retail space, three restaurants, leisure areas and a four-acre cultural center.

Chad Waters declined to comment for this story.

Claiming rights to the land through genealogy, Hepa, Mau-Espirito and several other people, moved onto a portion of the property about a year ago.

During the trial, the defendants argued they had a right to the land because they were using it for cultural and religious practices. Soong disagreed, stating that how the defendants came to the land was more like a hostile takeover of it, instead of the right of entry.

The ejectment order was issued for 6 p.m. Jan. 28. Along with their supporters, Mau-Espirito and Hepa were expecting law enforcement to show up to remove them from the property.

Instead, a group of about 80 people participated in a ceremony at the entrance to the land, while others watched from across the street.

  1. Sunrise_blue February 17, 2018 12:58 am Reply

    Church group. Politics don’t need to get paid. If there was any work in politics. Hawaiian studies.


  2. Ruthann February 17, 2018 1:00 am Reply

    The owners of the land are those resting in the land. Please start suing the Kauai County Government.

  3. rk669 February 17, 2018 4:48 am Reply

    Cuff em Dano,and Lock em Up! Extortionists!

  4. Bluedream February 17, 2018 9:32 am Reply

    Ha again! Nobody, not even the cops care about these trespassing boobs except Bethany Freudenthal apparently. All other news outlets refuse to give these idiots any attention whatsoever!
    Loving it!!!

  5. billyjoebob February 17, 2018 10:25 am Reply

    The picture says it all, Granny with Rambo in the background. Who’s going to mess with that?

  6. Latearrival February 17, 2018 12:08 pm Reply

    This is a big announcement and I’m sick of this reporter writing 2 paragraphs and using old article text. It doesn’t even make sense. Charges dismissed and then the previous articlue about KPDs plan to remove. Get another job!

  7. Latearrival February 17, 2018 12:34 pm Reply

    Clear as mud. Owners have right…? Which owners Justin?

  8. Wildman February 17, 2018 6:11 pm Reply

    There is a high level of conspiracy involved with EB-5, and foreign investing on this development. Chad Waters himself may be the main conspirator that makes illegal proposals to the court without legal rights to the land. Purchases from an insurance company who had no legal rights to sell off land that is Crown land.

  9. Debra Kekaualua February 17, 2018 6:27 pm Reply

    meanwhile, I was able to have charges dropped against one hands-on bailiff due to the courtroom escalating fiasco before, then immediately again after “clear the courtroom” rang out, Then, the Doors were Locked by this same bailiff. For whatever reason, I was locked inside the courtroom, then dragged by four sheriff mid courtroom floor handcuffed, brought to cell block and in a span of ten minutes, i was released out of the back of courthouse, only to be addressed by five KPD cruisers and eight PD who interviewed the group individually, then i was given a PD card with Report numbers, as well as taken under wing of the victim protection program, out from the kauai prosecuting attorney office. My PA was was on Maui, Oahu PA was too busy with Kealoha case and there remains a conflict of interest with Kauai PA kollar, over a stolen puppy. This cocopalms court events as with mauna kea, the military build up is just the beginning of where we will prevail. Like Iz sang, “you cant take the truth away”

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