Kouchi business gets PPP funds

  • Cathy Bussewitz / Associated Press file photo

    Hawaii Senate President Ronald Kouchi, D-Kauai, speaks in Honolulu.

HONOLULU — A company that Hawaii Senate President Ronald Kouchi owns shares in and is employed by received a small business coronavirus relief loan from the U.S. government, according to data released by the Small Business Administration.

Garden Isle Disposal LLC, the largest privately owned solid waste service company on Kauai, received a Paycheck Protection Program loan amounting to between $350,000 and $1 million.

The company does garbage disposal and recycling for commercial and residential clients on Kaua‘i, according to its website. It’s been operating since the early 1990s.

Kouchi is from Kauai and has represented the island in the Senate since 2010.

Kouchi said he and his wife own shares in the company. Financial disclosure forms on file with the State Ethics Commission say the shares are worth between $50,000 and $100,000.

He also earns a salary from Garden Isle Disposal for performing community relations work. His disclosure forms say he received between $50,000 and $100,000 annually.

Kouchi’s brother, Scott Kouchi, is the president of the company.

Ronald Kouchi said the company, which employs 40 to 50 people, suffered a drop in revenue after hotels and businesses closed during the pandemic. But he said the company hasn’t laid off or furloughed anyone since receiving the loan.

“So I think it’s fortunate that the 40 to 50 employees continue to be fully employed and Garden Isle Disposal can continue to perform the essential service of collecting the commercial refuse,” Kouchi said.

The Paycheck Protection Program is part of a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package passed by Congress in March. On Monday, the Small Business Administration, which oversees the program, disclosed the names of companies that received loans of more than $150,000.

The program aims to motivate small businesses to retain their employees or, if they have laid them off, get them back to work.

Kouchi, a Democrat, has been Senate president since 2015.

8 Comments
  1. Dan July 8, 2020 2:33 am Reply

    Dan don’t call me Ron greasing his palms.

    The Pork Bill is a win win for politicians and their donors.

    Dan don’t call me


  2. Richard Belmont July 8, 2020 8:54 am Reply

    This is not meaningful news. I’m no fan of “Democrat in name only” Kouchi, but let’s be fair: he has nothing to do with enactment of PPP and if his business qualifies it is not a conflict of interest for it to apply for and accept PPP funds.


  3. Mapia Gai July 8, 2020 9:55 am Reply

    This guy.

    I wish I had family connections like Dan don’t call me Ron Kouchi.

    What else connections does he have?

    If you don’t know, you might want to find out. It’s very interesting.


  4. JKS July 8, 2020 11:18 am Reply

    The State Auditor has reported massive fraud in HI5 recycling programs for years and the Legislature does nothing. Now we know why.


  5. billyjoebob July 8, 2020 2:16 pm Reply

    Hey, those big Mercedes don’t grow on trees.


  6. SimpleSolutions July 8, 2020 5:23 pm Reply

    Feels like a political hit piece…reads like a political hit piece….except it’s about a Democrat, so the article doesn’t cross that line. Who cares if Senator Kouchi owns shares and works for this company? The PPP was created to save businesses and save jobs during the pandemic.

    Unless the Senator or his business did something shady, why is this news? A better take on this article would be to talk to the business owners or workers to see how PPP has impacted their lives.

    If you are going to publish fake news…it would be better (especially in times like this) to have uplifting feel good stories in the paper rather than this constant tilt to the negative or politically driven views.


  7. PhatFace July 8, 2020 7:20 pm Reply

    “First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the respect”. -Scarface


  8. James Cole November 16, 2020 7:50 pm Reply

    I have known the Kouchi family for over 40 years. Very fine people.


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