Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elizabeth Hata Watanabe's $387,000 Bankruptcy

From the notice published in Pacific Business News, July 7, 2011, Page 33:
Case: 11-01679
Filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii
June 14, 2011 | Case: 11-01679
Elizabeth C. Watanabe (aka Elizabeth Hata Watanabe)
91-209 Kupiapia Place, Ewa Beach, Oahu 96706
Philip W. Miyoshi, attorney
Subsequent filings in the case (see Scribd.com box below) suggest it is a $387,000 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Two other lawsuits are referenced in the court filings:
  • Watanabe v. Costco, Case CV08-1-001118, personal injury;  and
  • Central Pacific Bank v.  EHW-II, LLC, Case CV11-1-0201, contracts.
Among her various debtors, High Impact Communications, a PR firm owned by Hawaii State Senator Glenn Wakai, for business services provided in 2010.  Hata-Watanabe had closed down her failed restaurant and nightclub in 2008 & 2009 respectively.  In 2010, her affiliate the Hata Foundation, a nonprofit tax-exempt organization which Hata-Watanabe founded and serves as caretaker & Director partnered with a reality TV show that Hata-Watanabe executive produced, “Hawaii’s Big Deal: Poker Tournament.”

Failing to get a second season of “Hawaii’s Big Deal” off the ground, Hata-Watanabe eventually found herself partnering with lobbyist John Radcliffe, a Democrat representing labor and gambling clients, and entangled in a group called Citizens for a Better Way, LLC, in which Hata-Watanabe reported she organized, was the only member and its manager via an April 1, 2011 filing with the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs. CFBW’s mission: Say No to Taxes…Yes to a Single Casino in Waikiki

Elizabeth Hata Watanabe
In disclosures filed with the Hawaii Ethics Commission and dated May 31, 2011, Hata-Watanabe represented that CFBW had spent nearly $40,000 lobbying for a Waikiki casino during March & April 2011.  She and Radcliffe refuse to disclose where the funds came from and who specifically the payouts went to. CFBW failed to report any payments to Hata-Watanabe.

Radcliffe and Hata-Watanabe specifically sought legislative support for SB 1247.  Senator Wakai had approved the bill February 24, 2011 as part of the Senate Ways & Means (WAM) Committee.

It’s unclear what services Senator Wakai’s PR firm had provide to Hata-Watanabe.  Further, it’s unclear what contact Hata-Watanabe might have had with Wakai lobbying for passage of SB 1247; amd also unclear who received the nearly $40,000 in “Advertising Media” payments made during March & April by Hata-Watanabe’s CFBW group.

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