Judge denies TRO in Waimanalo land dispute (HI)

HONOLULU —The Lorenzo family was very cooperative appearing before a judge in circuit court Monday.

Click here to watch Catherie Cruz’s report.

“We will help in any way we can,” said Windyscelaus Lorenzo.

The family agrees little fire ants are a problem and they promise not to get in the way of inspectors surveying for any presence or infestation.

Little fire ants were found at the rear of the 5-acre farm lot last year.

But both the state and the Lorenzos are staking claim to the land.

Circuit Court Judge Gary Chang wasn’t pleased to hear agriculture officials didn’t survey the property for ants right away after he signed a limited restraining order on Friday.

“Why didn’t your client have someone out this weekend?” questioned Chang.

“Your honor, we just didn’t have the manpower. That’s why the TRO we requested was for 10 days.

This isn’t something we can turn around in a matter of hours,” said Deputy Attorney General Andrew Goff.

“It wasn’t a matter of hours, it was six days. Why didn’t they immediately mobilize a team?” scolded Chang.

The judge was disappointed because concerns about activity on the lot were first flagged nearly a week ago.

“Every time we went, we were told we were trespassing and that they were going to call the police. We just didn’t have the opportunity. This court did not issue a TRO until late Friday afternoon, and it was too late to mobilize a team over the weekend,” said Goff.

The judge says if the state can show evidence of the presence or infestation on the land it can come back and refile for another restraining order.

The ownership dispute wasn’t addressed in the hearing.

But outside the courtroom, the Lorenzo family repeated the claim that they are entitled to begin building on the lot because they are related to a Hawaiian king.

“We are not arguing the issue of land. Crown lands are owned by the king. If I am the son of the king, that is my land,” said Austin Lorenzo.

“So, you are the son of King Kamehameha, and you have a right to it?” KITV asked.

“That is what is recognized in the land court, in the probate court and here today that prevailed yes,” said Lorenzo.

It’s not clear what the state’s next step will be, the Deputy attorney general declined to comment after the TRO was denied.

The city’s Planning and Permitting Department is investigating whether the grubbing of the land is illegal.

It has no permits on file and says it could cite the property owner.

It just has to figure out who that it.


Judge denies TRO in Waimanalo land dispute
Catherine Cruz
March 30, 2015