CONFLICTING INTERESTS UNCOVERED IN HAWAII GOV. IGE TMT BRIBERY SCANDAL
Honolulu, HI (9-7-19)–Mauna Kea ‘Protectors’ and Kingdom of Hawaii investigators have uncovered evidence of bribery in a $3 million payment taken by Gov. David Ige’s agent through a private ‘security’ company proving conflicting interests in the planned construction of the world’s most powerful telescope–the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) opposed by millions of people worldwide.
Compelling evidence of bribery was first discovered in public records reviewed on the Facebook group ʻOnipaʻa Kākou. The records prove the Hawaii governor’s apparent ‘corporate fiction’–David and Dawn Ige Enterprises‘s–had conflicting ties to the $1.3 billion TMT construction project.
Quoting from the report as evidenced below, “In 2015, accordingly to their filed 990 tax form (which is a publicly available document), TMT (TMT International Observatory, LLC) paid $3,030,323 to local firm “Private Security Group” (1037 Hanohano Way, Honolulu, HI 96825) for security services.
“Upon doing a basic search of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) website, it shows that “Private Security Group, Inc.” (File Number 203631 D1) is a domestic profit corporation registered in 2003 to a Charles L. Long, 7192 Kalaniakaole Hwy. Suite G100 Honolulu, HI 96825. The officers and owners of this private for-profit company are Charles Long (CEO, President and Director), Melanie Long, and Bradford Long.
“Upon doing an ‘agent search’ at the same DCCA website for Charles Long and Melanie Long, owners of Private Security Group. Melanie Long appears as the agent for Pacific International Realty, Inc. (File Number 214667 D1), address 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy Suite G-102. Honolulu, HI 96825.
“Upon searching for Pacific International Realty, Inc. as an agent, only one business appears: David and Dawn Ige Enterprises.
“David and Dawn Ige Enterprises is a general domestic partnership (File Number 4481 G5) first registered in 2015. The mailing address is 320 S. Beretania St. Honolulu, HI 96813 (Washington Place). The registered agent of David and Dawn Ige Enterprises is Pacific International Realty, Inc, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy Suite G-102. Honolulu, HI 96825, whose owners are Charles and Melanie Long, the same owners of Private Security Group that received over $3 million for the TMT Security Contract.”
QUESTIONS RAISED CONCERNING IGE TMT BRIBERY
The evidence presented above by the ad hoc citizens’ group of investigators raises substantial questions of fact, law, and ethics.
$3,030,323 passed through Gov. Ige’s agent, Melanie Long’s company, the “Private Security Group,” for “professional services.”
Shall investigators presume these “professional services” were provided for “security guard services” to secure the TMT construction site, equipment and personnel? Or some other “professional service” such as to secure Gov. Ige’s official action to advance the project?
QUESTIONS RAISED CONCERNING IGE TMT BRIBERY
Melanie Long used Pacific International Realty, Inc., to agent for the Governor and his wife’s company, David and Dawn Ige Enterprises; and Melanie’s other company, Private Security Group, got $3 million that same year, 2015, from TMT officials. Those 2015 transactions were suspicious for a number of reasons, among which Ms. Long’s real estate company does not act as an ‘agent’ for any other registered entity in the State, according to online investigators.
Consequently, this appears to have been a ‘unique deal.’ A transaction in which Gov. Ige, his agent(s), and their companies, appear to have formed an ‘enterprise’ to administer conflicting interests in the TMT project and payments therefrom.
These parties now have much explaining to do to legislative investigators and law enforcers. Did Ige and the Longs commit ethical violations, and possibly a “Class B Felony” too, by breaking Hawaii’s anti-bribery law, HRS § 710-1040?
BEGINNING ANALYSIS IN THE IGE TMT BRIBERY SCANDAL: APPEARANCE OF CONFLICTING INTERESTS AND ETHICS RULES VIOLATIO
To begin our analysis, we considered a recent Hawaii State Ethics Commission report on a similar matter involving a legislator and real estate agent. Curiously, it was filed June 20, 2019–the same day Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald proposed an important, generally unpublicized, ethics rule change enabling lawyers to lie in courts or elsewhere to anyone so long as they claim to be “participating” in a “covert action” for some secret agency. (1)
Below is what the ethics commissioners wrote about the law defining the ethical code for legislators, considering “The Conflicts of Interests Law, HRS § 84-14
.” This law states in relevant part:
§84-14 Conflicts of interests. (a) No [government employee] shall take any official action directly affecting:
(2) A private undertaking in which the employee is engaged as legal counsel, advisor, consultant, representative, or other agency capacity.
Ige TMT BriberyThe public records shown above, along with Gov. Ige’s advocacy for the TMT, shows that Gov. Ige took official action in the construction project directly affecting “A private undertaking in which the [Governor] is engaged as . . . other agency capacity” with his agent, Melanie Long.
The “other agency capacity” in this case is the two other agencies in which Melanie Long acts in private transactions for both David and Dawn Ige Enterprises as well as Pacific International Realty, Inc. Ms. Long clearly provides services and financial benefits for the governor in David and Dawn Ige Enterprises.
Ms. Long (and her husband’s) “Private Security Group” was paid more than $3M for ill-defined “professional services,” to “secure” the construction that was not yet even built in 2015. It is unreasonable to assume $3 million was paid to protect a vacant piece of land at the top of Mauna Kea. Therefore, unless construction equipment and personnel required security services in 2015 from Charles Long’s company (which would need to be proven in court) it may be presumed that the money was paid to ‘secure’ the construction project for which the Gov. advocates officially.
Further analysis regarding the “arms-length” business dealings undoubtedly to be raised by Gov. Ige in his legal defense is included below.
Returning to the Ethics Commission’s report, “the rationale underlying section 84-14(c) is that when private compensation paid to a state official is contingent upon action taken by a state agency, there exists a greater danger that the official will use his or her state position in an improper manner to obtain the desired state action.”
The Commission also stated that “this is especially the case where a state agency has jurisdiction or authority over a particular matter so that action taken by the agency will determine whether or not one is compensated for one’s private involvement in that matter.” This means that Gov. Ige’s special relationship with Melanie Long must be scrutinized before the TMT project may validly or legally proceed further.
This also means that Gov. Ige must be called before the legislature to answer questions about his special relationship with the Longs, including any compensation Ige paid Melanie Long for her agency on behalf of the Governor’s company David and Dawn Ige Enterprises, and any money paid by the State for transactions involving the Private Security Group (beyond the money being paid to this group by TMT), or any involvement in land deals by Pacific International Realty associated with the TMT project.
IGE TMT BRIBERY SCANDAL RAISES QUESTIONS OF LAW AND INTENT
“Bribery,” as defined by local lawmakers in HRS §710-1040, is actionable if or when: (1) “(a) The person confers, or offers or agrees to confer, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary benefit upon a public servant with the intent to influence the public servant’s vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action in the public servant’s official capacity.”
Based on the aforementioned evidence, Melanie Long, and perhaps her husband Charles too, must be investigated by a grand jury for ‘probable cause’ in the “Ige TMT bribery scandal” because Melanie Long clearly conferred her agency service on behalf of the governor and his wife’s David and Dawn Ige Enterprises; while at the same time being positioned to make far more than $3 million dollars with her husband following Gov. Ige’s successful administration of support in pushing the TMT forward to construction and continued operation.
The challenge for investigators or prosecutors lies in the word “intent.” To prove Long or Gov. Ige guilty of a Class B felony, prosecutors would have to prove that Long provided her agency services for the governor to receive a pecuniary benefit with the “intent” to influence Gov. Ige’s official action to secure the TMT in any way.
A ‘pecuniary benefit’ is implied by the provision of agency services by Melanie Long for the governor and his wife. But the matter of intent to influence the governor politically must still be proven.
Intent implicating Long and Gov. Ige in bribery is evidenced by the corresponding 2015 date that Long acted to form David and Dawn Ige Enterprises and received the $3 million dollars from the TMT enterprise. This fact is compelling. It raises probable cause to investigate Ige’s bank accounts for any deposits made after the TMT group or Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) administered the 2015 $3 million payment.
The DCCA’s public record shown above details Melanie Long’s administration of the David and Dawn Ige Enterprises registration. This raises evidence of intent to give and receive a financial bribe. As you can see the date of December 8, 2015 is registered as the date the organization began. You can also see that occurred within the same year, perhaps within days or weeks, of the TMT’s payment to Charles Long’s Private Security Group.
The public record shown below implies that Gov. Ige and his wife had no further need for this company by the end of 2016. Mrs. Long and the Iges did not file any further required annual reports beyond that single 2016 year. This “delinquency” raises the high probability that Ms. Long and the governor formed this entity simply as a ‘corporate fiction’ or Ige’s ‘alter ego’–a sham/shell entity to receive the suspected or presumed bribe for TMT. Bank transactions, or real estate transactions, for the David and Dawn Ige Enterprises entity must be scrutinized by investigators to dispel what is being called a “rumor.”