Molokai Ranch eager to resolve lawsuits

It has been almost two years since Molokai Ranch shut down its operation on Molokai. Since then, Molokai Properties Limited has attempted to end its commitment to provide water and sewer utilities to Molokai’s West End, which resulted in legal battles with Maui County, the state Health Department and Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Now it looks as if MPL, the corporate name of Molokai Ranch, is eager to resolve these pending lawsuits. Apparently attorneys from MPL contacted Maui County’s special counsel and former state Attorney General Margery Bronster.

The most recent ruling made against Molokai Ranch was in a binding arbitration in December of 2009. Retired judge Patrick Yim ordered the company to resume its maintenance of the swimming pool and surrounding areas at Kaluakoi Villas. This ruling also required Molokai Ranch to pay $75,000 in punitive damages.

Fearing a loss in court, Molokai Ranch is now looking to settle all legal actions, including Maui County’s lawsuit, which is scheduled to begin June 14 in 2nd Circuit Court. Maui County is seeking a court order to require MPL to continue operating its water wastewater services. In the summer of 2008, MPL attempted to force the county take over the water utilities unless a buyer was found.

Molokai Ranch has also requested a utility rate increase from the PUC for two if its three utility companies. The PUC has not ruled on the request, which proposes to increase rates by 60 percent for Molokai Public Utilities and 74 percent for Waiola O Molokai.

Kaunakakai to receive new pumper truck courtesy of federal block grant

In other news, a recommendation from the Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee to receive $1.8 million federal Community Development Block Grant funds is now in front of the full Maui County Council for approval.

From this block grant, Molokai would receive $607,405 for the Maui Fire Department to partially fund the purchase of a new pumper truck in Kaunakakai.