(c) Copyright 2003 - 2011
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
All rights reserved
** Note: For a 2011 addendum, go to the bottom of this webpage.
About 40% of the lands in Hawai'i are "ceded lands" -- government and former crown lands from the Hawaiian Kingdom. According to sovereignty activists the overthrow, annexation, and statehood were all illegal; therefore, the ceded lands belong collectively to the descendants of Hawaiian Kingdom subjects (nearly all of whom are ethnic Hawaiians). Regarding the privately owned lands in Hawai'i, sovereignty activists make this claim: since the overthrow was illegal, therefore the Provisional government, Republic, Territory, and State governments have also been illegal. Therefore, officials of the Bureau of Conveyances were illegally appointed and had no valid authority to certify the transfer of land titles. Therefore, all deeds that changed hands after the overthrow were transferred illegally. Furthermore, there are problems with land transfers between the time of the Mahele (1848-1850) and the overthrow (1893), so that many such transfers were also illegal. In other words, virtually all private land titles in Hawai'i are invalid. For the most part, the "safe" titles would be Royal Patent Deeds issued by King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III during the Great Mahele for land which has subsequently remained within the family of the original owner and has been passed down through inheritance for 150 years.
People who buy real estate are accustomed to paying a title search and title insurance company to verify an unbroken chain of good title and to provide insurance that the land title is valid. Mortgage companies require such title searches and insurance, and most fee-simple buyers paying cash also like to have the title insurance. But if there are problems in the chain of title, so the title is "clouded," then it may be impossible to sell a parcel of land or to get title insurance, for fear that the rightful owner will someday assert a claim and be able to substantiate it or to demand a large cash settlement.
In 1995 David Keanu Sai, a sovereignty independence activist who is part-Hawaiian, began a process to proclaim himself Regent Pro-Tem of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. The Bureau of Conveyances of the State of Hawai'i provides a repository where anyone can file documents that are officially recorded as having been filed. Most such documents are records of transfer of land title following legitimate sales. But some people file very strange personal declarations or ideological documents just for the pleasure of seeing them officially recorded. Mr. Sai laid a paper trail at the Bureau of Conveyances that he claimed would follow procedures under Kingdom law to make him the official Regent pro-tem of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the absence of the monarch, the cabinet, and the Kingdom legislature.
Having declared himself Regent Pro-tem, Keanu Sai launched a series of lectures throughout Hawai'i, including on public television, saying that all land title in Hawai'i is clouded because of the history of illegal overthrow, annexation, and statehood. He further told people that "native tenants" during the Kingdom had special rights which were never extinguished, including the right to claim fee-simple ownership of a parcel of land for their own residence so long as that parcel did not already have a validly recorded deed. Once he was officially Regent pro-tem, Keanu Sai then claimed the authority to officially condone and certify prior land title transfers that had been recorded at the Bureau of Conveyances during the periods of the Kingdom, (illegal) Republic, (illegal) Territory, and (illegal) State. Thus, people could pay a fee to Keanu Sai to have him research the chain of land title to their property and then to record a warranty deed signed by the "Regent pro-tem" at the Bureau of Conveyances, thereby assuring them that their property would be safe. In addition, "native" tenants not already owning property could pay Keanu Sai a title search fee to discover the chain of title to any property they liked, and if the title was not valid (which always happened!) then they could have Sai file a warranty deed to the property in their name. A real estate title search company was established under the name "Perfect Title" to manage the title searches, collect the fees, and process the paperwork. Each client ended up paying somewhere between $1500 to $2000 for the title search, warranty deed, and recording fees; and news reports indicated there were at least 400 clients.
Early in 1997 bad things started happening as people started taking action based on Keanu Sai's theories. Eventually several hundred people filed Perfect Title warranty deeds at the Bureau of Conveyances, and some of those deeds directly challenged previously-filed deeds to the same property, thereby casting a cloud on the title and causing realtors, title insurance companies, and mortgage companies to back away. Some real estate sales collapsed. Some people started refusing to pay mortgage interest on their homes, claiming they already owned them under Kingdom law; and banks began foreclosure proceedings.
In at least one case a client of Keanu Sai, a married couple who had lost their home through foreclosure, claimed to nevertheless be the rightful owners of that home, even after it had been subsequently purchased by someone else; and when the new owner left home one day, the previous owners broke in and resumed living there. After the police were summoned and the new owners retook possession, criminal charges were filed against the previous owners for the break-in and against both them and Keanu Sai for a felony charge of attempted grand theft (of the home).
Mr. Sai demanded and received a jury trial. The multiracial jury on December 1, 1999 unanimously found Mr. Sai guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of attempted theft of title to a house (value approximately $300,000) for his role as an accessory to that man and woman. Not even one member of the jury had any reasonable belief that Mr. Sai's fanciful theories could possibly be correct because, as Mr. Sai had argued during the trial, if his theories are correct then there would not have been any theft because the rightful owners of a house cannot steal it. The ordinary people of the multiracial jury gave their unanimous verdict beyond a reasonable doubt based on commonsense. If the verdict had been appealed, then judges and legal scholars would also be able to sustain the verdict that Sai's theories are false. At first Mr. Sai said he would appeal the verdict as a way of proving his theories. If he truly believes his theories, that's what he should have done. But in view of his slap-on-the-wrist penalty, Mr. Sai apparently decided not to appeal for fear his theories would be discredited and perhaps for fear he would go to prison if the sentence was also appealed by the government.
The maximum sentence for Keanu Sai's crime was 10 years in prison. But Judge Sandra Simms (known as a bleeding-heart liberal who gives light sentences even to hooligans who beat up tourists while robbing them) sentenced Keanu Sai to 5 years probation and a $200 fine. At sentencing on March 7, 2000 Ken Conklin, author of this website, was present in court. Perhaps a hundred Hawaiian sovereignty activists also packed the courtroom, including Bumpy Kanahele and Kekuni Blaisdell, while more people stood in the hallway unable to fit inside. When Judge Simms entered the courtroom and the bailiff loudly proclaimed the customary "All rise!" the sovereignty activists defiantly remained seated to show their contempt for a court they consider invalid. Judge Simms, playing to the crowd, said she admired Mr. Sai for his commitment to his cause, but that even the noblest protesters and seekers of social justice must be subject to the laws as they now exist. She then gave her absurdly light sentence, and apparently in response to a presentencing motion she also granted him permission to travel out of Hawai'i and out of the United States for his anticipated hearing at the "World Court." So much for the rigors of probation! After the sentencing, the crowd spilled out into the hallway in a jovial and congratulatory mood. For information about Mr. Sai's fraudulent use of the World Court, see:
To this day, there appears to have been no accounting for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees charged to the several hundred clients of Perfect Title, and no apparent restitution or even apology to the hundreds of people who lost their homes to foreclosure or whose lives and finances were severely disrupted by having bogus clouds placed on their property titles because of Mr. Sai's activities. Many of Perfect Title's clients knew exactly what they were doing. They were sovereignty activists, convinced that Kingdom law still prevails and the State of Hawai'i is illegal. They were happy to put their homes on the line for their hero, Keanu Sai. But other Perfect Title clients were victins of their own ignorance, or innocent homeowners victimized by having their property titles messed up by Perfect Title clients acting for a political purpose.
The prosecutor in the Sai case asked for a sentence of only 30 days jail, when 10 years was available. The judge gave only probation and a $200 fine. But anyone who reads the newspaper articles below will easily see the tremendous financial and emotional damage done by Mr. Sai, and the seriousness of the political threat he poses. Hawaiian sovereignty activists have behaved like cowboys tearing up the range, recklessly polluting the social, economic, and political environment. One purpose of criminal sentencing is to send a message to other would-be criminals to deter them. The prosecutor and the judge both failed their obligation to the public. One possible explanation why they behaved so leniently is to avoid political incorrectness, or to avoid creating a martyr. Another explanation is offered in the following webpage:
The basic theory behind Perfect Title is that the overthrow of the monarchy was illegal and therefore land titles in Hawai'i are not valid, because there has been no valid government authority to certify land transfers since 1893; however, Keanu Sai has followed Kingdom procedures to establish himself as Regent pro-tem and therefore he has authority to condone and certify land transfers that would otherwise not be valid. But if that theory is true, then the same analysis would apply to other aspects of life where government-issued documents are necessary to make things "official." Here is a lampoon by Ken Conklin circulated on the internet in 1999:
I recently saw a wedding. The final sentence spoken by the minister, which made everything official, was: "Now by the authority vested in me by the State of Hawai'i, I pronounce you husband and wife."
And then it hit me right between the eyes: this marriage is not legally valid, because the State of Hawaii is not legally valid. And then it REALLY hit me right between the eyes: all marriages performed in these islands since 1893, or perhaps since 1886, have been legally invalid. Which means that all living persons born in these islands are "illegitimate." As a matter of fact, the good news is that nobody ever dies (because death certificates are invalid); but of course the bad news is that nobody was ever born (because birth certificates are invalid).
Now, if anyone thinks this is silly, just look at the recent hoopla over the annexation that never happened. People have been saying that the annexation never took place, because the so-called treaty of annexation was never passed by 2/3 of the U.S. Senate under the name of treaty. The fact that we operate everyday as a state within the United States is irrelevant, because the paperwork wasn't correct and therefore we are not a state. Well, according to this logic, nobody who gets married here is really married, and nobody who is born here or dies here is really alive or dead.
Ah, but there is one person who can save us all from limbo: the Regent of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Keanu Sai. Just as the various people now claiming to be self-appointed King of Hawaii support their claims by tracing their geneologies, so the self-appointed Regent Keanu Sai supports his claim to the regency by tracing a geneology of corporate paperwork filed through the Bureau of Conveyances. And for a fee, Regent Sai might even "repair" marriages, births, and deaths just as he now "repairs" property titles.
Regent Sai claims that even if there is an unbroken chain of title transfers for 150 years, starting from kings and kanaka maoli ali'i and going from willing sellers to willing buyers, all titles were automatically made invalid by the overthrow and illegal annexation, and can only be made valid through the repair procedures he uses. For the same reason, all marriages, births, and deaths are invalid because of the overthrow and illegal annexation. But surely the Regent of the Kingdom would have the authority to confer legitimacy to marriages, births, and deaths, both present and past.
Perfect Marriage Company could collect a relatively small fee for issuing a Regent's Proclamation that a current marriage is officially registered with the Kingdom of Hawaii. But of course that's not the end of the story. Because every person born in Hawaii, and every marriage of kanaka maoli, must have proclamations issued for every generation of parents, grandparents, etc. all the way back to the overthrow, to certify that those ancestors were officially born and that their marriages are officially recognized . In some ways this would be analogous to the procedure used by the Mormons whereby modern-day believers can baptize their ancestors in absentia and seal the ancestors' marriages for all eternity.
There would also have to be a Perfect Birth Company to issue a Regent's Proclamation that each new birth from now on is recognized by the legal authority of the Kingdom.
And there would have to be a Perfect Death Company to issue a Regent's Proclamation that someone really is officially dead.
As a matter of fact, all those people who thought their land titles were repaired and guaranteed by the previous work of Perfect Title Company are in for a rude awakening. At any point in the last 150 years when a land title was passed through probate or inherited, there will now have to be repairs done by Perfect Death Company to certify that the deaths leading to probate really happened. And every owner along the way needs to be certified by Perfect Birth Company as having been really born.
So next time you attend a wedding in Hawai'i, and the minister asks, "If there is anyone present who knows of any good reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him speak now, or forever hold his peace," stand up and say, "I object! This man and this woman do not legally exist because their birth certificates are invalid. And although you may join this couple in holy matrimony within your church, you lack any authority to join them according to law because the State of Hawaii does not exist."
So not only must Keanu Sai operate Perfect Title Company, Perfect Birth Company, Perfect Marriage Company, and Perfect Death Company, he also must perform all the weddings himself, unless he also establishes Perfect Justice-of-the-Peace Company to issue Regent's Proclamations to certify the authority of agents to perform wedding ceremonies. Busy fellow! Hoo, da fees dat kanaka gonna collect! You need kala to pay for titles, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates? Go see da kine buggah stay Perfect Loan Company.
The remainder of this webpage consists of (1) an 8-page explanation in Mr. Sai's own words, from his website, of the procedures he followed to declare himself Regent pro-tem; and (2) scroll down to see a series of many newspaper articles reporting the rise and fall of Perfect Title Company and of Mr. Sai's scam. The articles are well worth reading, although sometimes repetitious. To follow Mr. Sai's next "excellent adventure" (a publicity circus scam at the "World Court") visit:
NOTE: ALL URLs POINTING TO OTHER WEBSITES (INCLUDING NEWSPAPER ARTICLES) HAVE BEEN LEFT DARK. THEY ARE PROVIDED HERE ONLY FOR VERIFICATION OF SOURCE FOR WHAT HAS BEEN COPIED. THEY ARE VALID AS OF JUNE, 2003 AND WILL WORK IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THEM INTO YOUR INTERNET BROWSER "GO TO" WINDOW.
Occupation does not legally change the national character of the occupied territory. As such, the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom, as they existed previous to the failed revolution of 1893, continue to remain the Law of the Land, and Chapter II, section 6 of the Hawaiian Civil Code, provides: "The laws are obligatory upon all persons, whether subjects of this kingdom, or citizens or subjects of any foreign State, while within the limits of this kingdom, except so far as exception is made by the laws of nations in respect to Ambassadors or others. The property of all such persons, while such property is within the territorial jurisdiction of this kingdom, is also subject to the laws."
The Establishment of the First Co-partnership Firm under Kingdom Law since 1893.
On December 10, 1995, a Hawaiian general partnership was formed in compliance with an Act to Provide for the Registration of Co-partnership Firms, 1880. The partnership was named the Perfect Title Company and was a land title abstracting company. Since the enactment of the 1880 Co-partnership Act, members of co-partnership firms had filed their articles of agreements in the Bureau of Conveyances.
The Bureau of Conveyances is presently administered by the occupational force of the United States, through the State of Hawai`i, pursuant to United States municipal legislation. Such legislation required that all documents prior to filing with the Bureau be acknowledged by a United States/State of Hawai`i notary public. In order for the partners of the Perfect Title Company to get their articles of agreement filed in the Bureau of Conveyances, pursuant to the said 1880 Co-partnership Act, the following protest was incorporated and made a part of their articles of agreement, which provided: "Each partner also agrees that the business is to be operated in strict compliance to the business laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as noted in the 'Compiled Laws of 1884' and the 'session laws of 1884 and 1886.' Both partners are native Hawaiian subjects by birth and therefore are bound and subject to the laws above mentioned. And it is further agreed by both partners that due to the filing requirements of the Bureau of Conveyances to go before a foreign notary public within the Hawaiian Kingdom, they do this involuntarily and against their will."
The Perfect Title Company was to have commenced on the 10th day of December, 1995, but there was no representation of the Hawaiian Government to ensure compliance with the co-partnership statute from that date. In accordance with the 1880 Co-partnership Act, a duty and an obligation was established between the Interior Department and co-partnership firms in the Kingdom. At one end of the statute, the registration of co-partnerships was a requirement, while at the other end of the statute, the Interior Department was to ensure that co-partnerships maintained their compliance with the statute. Thus, the partners of the Perfect Title Company had to abide by the duty and corresponding obligation in order to satisfy the statute under Kingdom law.
Section 7 of the Co-partnership Act of 1880 clearly outlines the duty of the Interior department and the corresponding obligation of the members of co-partnerships in the Kingdom, which states: "The members of every co-partnership who shall neglect or fail to comply with the provisions of this law, shall severally and individually be liable for all the debts and liabilities of such co-partnership and may be severally sued therefor, without the necessity of joining the other members of the co-partnership in any action or suit, and shall also be severally be liable upon conviction, to a penalty not exceeding five dollars for each and every day while such default shall continue; which penalties may be recovered in any Police or District Court."
Re-establishing the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, by and through the Hawaiian Co-partnership Statute.
The partners of Perfect Title Company desired to establish a legitimate co-partnership pursuant to Hawaiian Kingdom law. Such a co-partnership had not been created in the Hawaiian Kingdom for over one hundred years, because the Hawaiian Kingdom has experienced an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States. As a result, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government has ceased to operate. In light of the above, the partners of the Perfect Title Company reasoned that the Hawaiian corporate body of government had to be re-established pursuant to Hawaiian Kingdom law, in order for the Perfect Title Company to exist as a legal co-partnership firm.
Therefore, in order for the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom to be re-activated, an Acting Executive Head of State had to be established in conformity with the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed., defines acting officer as: "...to designate, not an appointed incumbent, but merely a locum tenens, who is performing the duties of an office to which he himself does not claim title."
The last legitimate Hawaiian Legislative Assembly of 1886 was prevented from reconvening as a result of the extortion of the 1887 Constitution. The subsequent Legislative Assembly of 1887 was based on an illegal constitution which altered existing voting rights which led to the illegal election of the 1887 Legislature. As a result, there existed no legitimate Nobles in the Legislative Assembly when Her Majesty Queen Lili`uokalani ascended to the Office of Monarch in 1891, and therefore, the Queen was unable to obtain confirmation for her named successors from those Nobles as required by the 1864 Constitution. Her Majesty had first intended that Princess Ka`iulani be the named successor to the Office of Monarch, and subsequently considered Prince David Kawananakoa and Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole as her successors. Tragically, when Her Majesty died on November 11, 1917, there were no legitimate Noblemen of the Legislative Assembly to confirm her above nominations. Article 22 of the 1864 Constitution eloquently illustrates the requirements, and states, in part: "...the successor shall be the person whom the Sovereign shall appoint with the consent of the Nobles, and publicly proclaim as such during the King's life."
In the absence of a confirmed successor to the Throne by the Nobles of the Legislative Assembly, Article 33 of the Constitution of 1864 provides that: "...should a Sovereign decease, leaving a Minor Heir, and having made no last Will and Testament, the Cabinet Council at the time of such decease shall be a Council of Regency, until the Legislative Assembly, which shall be called immediately, may be assembled, and the Legislative Assembly immediately that it is assembled shall proceed to choose by ballot, a Regent or Council of Regency, who shall administer the Government in the name of the King, and exercise all the Powers which are Constitutionally vested in the King..."
The law did not assume that the whole of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government would be made vacant. Consequently, the law did not not formalize provisions that described every step of the reactivation of the Government. Thus, the following course of action was taken to re-activate the Hawaiian Kingdom Government by and through its Executive branch.
Properly interpreted, Article 33 of the 1864 Constitution, provides that the Cabinet Council shall be a "temporary" Council of Regency until a proper Legislative Assembly can be convened to choose, by ballot, some native Ali'i (Chief) to be Monarch, as provided in Article 22 of the Hawaiian Constitution. Article 33 further states that this Regent or Council of Regency shall administer the Government in the name of the Monarch, and exercise all the Powers which are constitutionally vested in the Monarch.
Article 42 of the 1864 Constitution, provides that the Cabinet Council consists of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Kingdom. Proper interpretation of this law allows the Minister of Interior to assume the powers vested in the Cabinet Council in absentia of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General, and consequently serve as the Council of Regency.
Chapter XXVI, section 1249 of the Hawaiian Civil Code, provides that a bureau is established in the department of the Interior called the Bureau of Conveyances and that a Registrar shall superintend said bureau. Proper interpretation of this Law allows the Registrar of Conveyances to assume the powers vested in the Minister of Interior in absentia of the same; then assume the powers vested in the Cabinet Council in absentia of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General; and finally the Registrar has assumed the position of the Council of Regency.
The 1880 Co-partnership Act requires members of co-partnerships to register their articles of agreement in the Bureau of Conveyances, being within the Department of the Interior. This statute places an obligation on members of co-partnerships to register, and at the same time, this statute places a corresponding duty on the Department of the Minister of Interior to assure compliance with the statute. Logic and necessity dictated that in the absence of an executor of this department that a registered co-partnership could assume the department's duty. In order to accomplish this, it was logical that this registered co-partnership could assume the powers vested in the Registrar of the Bureau of Conveyances in absentia of the same; then assume the powers vested in the Minister of Interior in absentia of the same; then assume the powers vested in the Cabinet Council in absentia of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General; and, finally assume the power of the Council of Regency.
This abovementioned process of ascension can be analogized to a Private in an Army that rises up the ranks during battle, in the absence of all ranking soldiers above him. In this type of extraordinary scenario, a Private could ultimately assume the rank of General of the Army in an "acting" role, until relieved by a properly commissioned General. The critical point to be made about this process in relation to the Hawaiian Kingdom's corporate body, is that each position assumed by a registered co-partnership under the 1880 Co-partnership Act is an "acting" position until relieved by a "permanent" Regent or Council of Regency elected by a legally constituted Legislative Assembly.
The Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company, a general partnership, established to Assume Role of Absentee Government.
On December 15, 1995, the partners of Perfect Title Company formed a second partnership called the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company. The partners intended that this registered partnership would exist as a company acting for and on behalf of the Hawaiian Kingdom "absentee" Government. As of December 15, 1995, there were no other co-partnerships registered in accordance with the said 1880 Co-partnership Act, except for the Perfect Title Company. Therefore, and in light of the ascension process explained in the previous paragraphs, the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company could then "act" as the Registrar of the Bureau of Conveyances, the Minister of Interior, the Cabinet Council, and ultimately as the Council of Regency.
Article 1 of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company's deed of general partnership provided, in part, that: "...the company will serve in the capacity of acting for and on behalf of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. The company has adopted the Hawaiian Constitution of 1864 and the laws lawfully established in the administration of the same. The company is to commence on the 15th day of December, A.D. 1995, and shall remain in existence until the absentee government is re-established and fully operational, upon which all records and monies of the same will be transferred and conveyed over to the office of the Minister of Interior, to have and to hold under the authority and jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom."
Deeds of Trusts authorizing the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company to serve as a company acting for and on behalf of the Hawaiian Government further outlined the role of the trust company and the fiduciary duty between the trustees and the beneficiaries. The Deeds of Trust provided, in part, that: "...the grantors, in consideration aforesaid and in order to more effectually carry out the intention of this deed doth hereby grant unto the said trustee, its successors and assigns full power to serve in the place of the absentee government, for the benefit of the same; and in the name of the trust to institute and prosecute to final judgment and execution all suits and actions at law, in equity and in admiralty for any breach or violation of Hawaiian law, at the expense of the grantors; and the same to defend if brought against the said grantors by any pretended proprietor or foreign government; and to refer any matter in dispute to arbitration and the same to settle and compromise; and to do all acts in the management of the affairs of said parties as if it were the absentee government in the capacity aforementioned."
Grantors of the Deeds of Trust to the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company, a general partnership, also paid the trust back taxes, which are explained as follows: "And the grantors, to show their good faith as native Hawaiian subjects, agree to pay into the trust the sum of one-hundred and three dollars ($103.00), which shall serve as payment of all back taxes owed to the Hawaiian Kingdom government, to be computed at a rate of a dollar and love for each and every year the grantors and their families have been absent from the kingdom since the year of 1893; and the same agrees to adhere to all of the internal tax laws of the kingdom, which include an assessment of taxes to be determined on the 1st day of July of each and every year and the collection of the same on the 15th day of December, in accordance to the Act of 1882 relating to internal taxes, Compiled Laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom, p. 117, to be paid into the trust account."
The Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company were not only competent to serve as the Acting Cabinet Council, but also possessed a fiduciary duty toward its beneficiaries to serve in the capacity of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, until the Government is re-established in accordance with the terms of the 1864 Constitution. The Deeds of Trust also provided the following proviso: "It is also agreed that as soon as the absentee government is lawfully re-established and is fully operational, the company will transfer by deed all rights, titles, interests and appurtenances hereinbefore conveyed by the grantors, over to the office of the Minister of Interior, to have and to hold under the authority and jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and that upon this conveyance the trust shall then be terminated."
Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company, a general partnership, Appoint Acting Regent.
In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety and/or conflict of interest under the 1880 Co-partnership Act, the partners of the Perfect Title Company, reasoned that an Acting Regent, having no interests in either company, must be appointed to serve as representative of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government. This appointment would have to be made by the Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company since it represented the interests of the Kingdom Government. Therefore, the Trust Company looked to Article XXXI, Chapter XI, Title 3 of the Hawaiian Civil Code, whereby the Acting Regency would be constitutionally authorized to direct the Executive Branch of the Kingdom Government in the formation and execution of the election of the House of Representatives. Subsequently, a "permanent" Regent or Council of Regency could be elected by the Legislative Assembly in accordance with Article 33 of the 1864 Constitution.
In light of the above, the Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company decided to appoint Mr. David Keanu Sai as Acting Regent to represent the Hawaiian Government in place of the Trust Company, because of his expertise in Hawaiian Kingdom law. It was also agreed upon by the Trustees that Ms. Nai`a-Ulumaimalu will replace Mr. Sai as Trustee of the Trust Company and partner of the Perfect Title Company. Since Mr. Sai was also a Trustee and partner of the two companies, it was decided that Mr. Sai would relinquish his entire interest in both companies to the other Trustee and partner before accepting the Regency appointment. After the other Trustee and partner of the two companies had acquired a complete interest, a redistribution of interest would be conveyed to Ms. Nai`a-Ulumaimalu. Both deeds transferring interests will be signed one day before the date of the actual redistribution, and be duly registered in the Bureau of Conveyances in conformity with section 3 of the 1880 Co-partnership Act. This simultaneous transaction was agreed to in order to maintain the standing of the two partnerships and not have them lapse into sole-proprietorships.
On February 27, 1996, Mr. Sai conveyed by deed all of his one-half (1/2) undivided interest in both companies to Mr. Donald A. Lewis, the other sole partner of the Perfect Title Company and the other sole Trustee of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company, but the deed of transfer was not to take effect until February 28, 1996.
Concurrent and in a simultaneous transaction, on February 27, 1996, Mr. Donald A. Lewis conveyed by deed a one percent (1%) undivided interest in the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company and the Perfect Title Company to Ms. Nai`a-Ulumaimalu, but the transfer would not take effect until February 28, 1996. Ms. Nai`a-Ulumaimalu, in effect, became a one percent (1%) Trustee of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company and a one percent (1%) partner of the Perfect Title Company with Mr. Lewis, who retained a ninety-nine percent (99%) interest in both companies.
On March 1, 1996, the Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company appointed Mr. David Keanu Sai to the Office of Regent, and filed a notice of this appointment with the Bureau of Conveyances. Thereafter, the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company resumed its role as a general partnership within the meaning of the 1880 Co-partnership Act, and no longer served as a company acting for and on behalf of the Hawaiian Government.
On May 15, 1996, the Trustees of the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company conveyed by deed all of its right, title and interest acquired by thirty-eight (38) Deeds of Trust to the Acting Regent, and stipulated that the Trust Company would be dissolved in accordance with the provisions of its deed of general partnership on June 30, 1996. The transfer and subsequent dissolution, was made in accordance with section 3 of the 1880 Co-partnership Act.
On February 28, 1997, a Proclamation of the Acting Regent of the Hawaiian Kingdom was printed in the March 9, 1997 issue of the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser, which stated, in part, that the: "...Hawaiian Monarchical system of Government is hereby re-established," and the "...Civil Code of the Hawaiian Islands as noted in the Compiled Laws of 1884, together with the session laws of 1884 and 1886 and the Hawaiian Penal Code are in full force. All Hawaiian Laws and Constitutional principles not consistent herewith are void and without effect."
In September of 1999 the Acting Regent had commissioned, according to statute, Peter Umialiloa Sai as Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kau`i P. Goodhue as Acting Minister of Finance, and Gary V. Dubin, Esquire, as Acting Attorney General. On September 10, 1999, it was determined by resolution of the Privy Council: "...that the office of the Minister of Interior shall be resumed by David Keanu Sai, thereby absolving the office of the Regent, pro tempore, and the same to be replaced by the Cabinet Council as a Council of Regency, pro tempore, within the meaning of Article 33 of the Constitution of the Country."
THE REMAINING 40 PAGES ON THIS WEBPAGE CONSIST OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLES COPIED IN THEIR ENTIRETY. THEY ARE ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, COVERING THE PERIOD FROM JANUARY 1997 TO JANUARY 2001. THE URLs HAVE BEEN LEFT DARK, BECAUSE THEIR PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE THE SOURCE IF VERIFICATION IS NEEDED. THE ARTICLES HAVE BEEN COPIED BECAUSE SOMETIMES NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES STOP BEING AVAILABLE. ALSO THERE IS A LINK TO A WEBPAGE CONTAINING TESTIMONY TO THE STATE OF HAWAII JUDICIAL SELECTION COMMITTEE REGARDING THE RETENTION IN OFFICE OF JUDGE SANDRA SIMMS (THE JUDGE WHO GAVE KEANU SAI JUST A SLAP ON THE WRIST FOR HIS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY REGARDING LAND TITLES)
Title claims block isle land deals
A company uses Hawaiian Kingdom law to challenge property ownership
By Rob Perez
The findings of a controversial title company that traces land ownership using 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law are starting to gum up property sales in the state.
Though only a few cases have surfaced, experts fear the problem will spread, becoming a major headache for Hawaii's real estate industry.
The recent sale of a Big Island parcel is on hold because of a report filed with the state by Perfect Title Co., which claims the registered owners don't really own the land.
The Big Island case is the first indication that Perfect Title's work - widely dismissed as absurd by established title insurers, lenders, attorneys and others in the industry - is beginning to hamper property sales here.
John Jubinsky, attorney for Title Guaranty of Hawaii, the largest title insurance agency in the state, said the problem will worsen as Perfect Title investigates more claims and files its findings at the Bureau of Conveyances.
Perfect Title already has completed about 100 reports, is working on another 100 and is continuing to get additional requests for the $1,500 searches, company officials say.
In all the cases it has investigated thus far, Perfect Title has found existing titles to be invalid. Often, it cites treasonous acts committed against the kingdom or the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy to argue that the property ownership chains were broken, rendering meaningless all subsequent transfers of title.
In the Big Island case, the chain broke in 1887 when King David Kalakaua illegally appointed a ministry official to manage and dispose of Hawaiian government land, including the parcel in Kona, the company contends. Any subsequent transfers involving that land were thus invalid, Perfect Title concluded in an August report filed at the bureau.
That report came to light when the 5.8-acre parcel was put up for sale at an auction last year.
Title Guaranty refused to issue a policy to the would-be buyer because of the cloud created by the report. Such insurance protects the interests of a lender or property owner if a defect is discovered in the title. The agency won't provide insurance until Perfect Title's report is expunged or dealt with through the courts, Jubinsky said.
A second case in which a policy won't be issued for the same reason is pending - and more are expected, he said.
"What's everybody afraid of?" countered David Keanu Sai, a partner of Perfect Title owner Donald Lewis. "These are just reports."
All the industry has to do to solve the problem is prove the title searches are wrong - something that can't be done because they're based on fact, Sai said. "If we're such a scam like everyone says, why doesn't (Title Guaranty) just issue the insurance" and ignore the reports.
A group of co-owners of the Big Island parcel are taking a different tack. They have sued Perfect Title and asked a Big Island judge to have the company's report expunged. The lawsuit is pending.
Until the issue is resolved, the sale of the property - a buyer was selected last week - can't go through, said Arnold Lum, a Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney representing the co-owners.
Lum's clients are heirs of Henry Haiha, who was awarded a land patent grant for the Kona parcel and five adjacent acres in 1920.
Other Haiha heirs who opposed the sale hired Perfect Title to do the title search. Those heirs and Perfect Title were named as defendants in the lawsuit. Those heirs also were issued a deed to the property by Sai - an act contested in the lawsuit as well.
Lum and Jubinsky, who helped with the lawsuit, are hoping the court rules that Perfect Title's reports are frivolous and fines the company up to $5,000, the maximum allowed by state law. Enough of those judgments should stem such filings, Jubinsky said. "I don't know how else to stop them."
Jubinsky said the problem involving the Haiha land was created when some of the owners brought Perfect Title into the picture. But similar problems can arise even if an owner isn't involved, he said.
Jubinsky referred to a case in which someone leasing Bishop Estate land arranged to have a title search done by Perfect Title. The company concluded that Bishop Estate didn't own the land and filed its findings at the bureau.
"There's nothing that says they can't do a search on your property," Jubinsky said.
Sai said Perfect Title's intent is not to create havoc in the industry but to help correct all the erroneous titles in Hawaii.
"We're not ogres," he said. "We're here to fix the problem. . . . But the more you stick your head in the sand, the more the problem gets bigger and bigger and bigger."
The attorney general's office say bills before the Legislature already address the issue
January 29, 1997
By Rob Perez
The state doesn't plan to step into the controversy involving Perfect Title Co. but believes several pending legislative bills may help resolve it, a deputy attorney general says.
The company's findings disputing the validity of current land titles have started to cause problems in Hawaii's real estate system, even though many in the industry dismiss Perfect Title's work as absurd.
Because the company's reports have been recorded at the state Bureau of Conveyances, they've cast clouds on ownership deeds for individual parcels.
Randy Young of the Attorney General's Office said the bills before the Legislature would provide more protections against the filing of frivolous claims.
"I would imagine the legislative process would do the job," Young said.
If none of the industry-recommended bills pass, the attorney general will reconsider whether to do something about the controversy, he said.
Since Perfect Title started recording its findings at the bureau last spring, using 19th-century Hawaiian Kingdom law to question current titles, the Attorney General's Office has taken no action because the state considers the matter private.
The filings have started to affect property transfers and prompted a handful of homeowners to stop paying their mortgages, claiming their original titles are no good.
The industry hasn't determined the most effective way to counter the filings, and some officials still say the state has to be involved.
Attorney John Jubinsky, a key player in the fight against Perfect Title, said the proposed legislation will help but probably won't be enough to stop what he considers a scam.
"It's only one more thing to make it a little bit easier to go after them," Jubinsky said.
The best way to stop Perfect Title, he added, would be to impose criminal sanctions and perhaps even jail company officials.
Perfect Title officials say their critics are misdirected. Hawaii's title insurers are leading the opposition because they can't disprove Perfect Title's findings, which trace ownership to the days of King Kamehameha III, and face huge liability if titles are deemed invalid, the company says.
"Everybody is trying to paint Perfect Title as the bad guys, but it's not our fault if someone didn't do a full search of historical public records" to check land titles, said David Keanu Sai, a company official.
Pai family again facing
eviction from park
The family failed to move to state land as it had agreed to do
By Rod Thompson
KAILUA-KONA -- The National Park Service is again moving to evict members of the Pai Ohana from Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
No date has been set for the eviction, which marks a breakdown in negotiations which were supposed to lead to the Pai family's moving out of the federal park onto adjoining state land, while retaining traditional rights in the park.
The breakdown was linked in part to a statement by the controversial Perfect Title Co. that the United States does not own the park land. The Pais, especially Mahealani Pai, have been struggling since 1994 to continue living on a beach in the park where they say family members have been caretakers since the 1700s.
A 1996 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the Pais had no ownership rights to the land. The Park Service also says records fail to support the family's claim that they have unbroken occupancy.
The Park Service has threatened to evict the Pais several times, but delayed the action, in part because of intervention by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.
Inouye said yesterday that "the recent turn of events" prevents him from asking Babbitt for any more delays.
The Pai Ohana yesterday described the situation as a power struggle. "The National Park Service is banking on might makes right," Mahealani Pai said.
Pai referred to the investigation by Perfect Title, which said the government doesn't own Kaloko-Honokohau because the owner in 1895, Francis Spencer, committed treason against the Hawaiian kingdom by recognizing the new Republic of Hawaii. All subsequent claims of ownership are invalid, the company said.
Perfect Title President Donald Lewis said that under Hawaiian Kingdom law, Pai has claimed the disputed land and received ownership.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Frenchy DeSoto said she read the Perfect Title report.
"I don't understand it, to be totally honest," she said. "I looked at it as a very desperate move. I feel very sad."
But DeSoto said that she supports the Pais' right to choose how they will look after their own interests.
A statement from OHA, which had tried to mediate the dispute, described other complications.
The Park Service never completed a "memorandum of understanding" which would assure the family of access to the 'Ai'opio Fishtrap and Pu'uoina Heiau in the park, OHA said.
Stanley Albright, Park Service regional director in San Francisco, said the agency still is willing to negotiate an agreement, but that the Pais must leave in the meantime.
Ka Lahui head Mililani Trask said OHA sent a proposal for an access agreement to the service in October. The service never responded, she said.
Arnold Lum, attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which represents the Pais, said the service has a policy of allowing native people to practice their culture in national parks.
But the policy has never been approved by Congress and could be revoked at any time.
"That's a legitimate concern," Lum said.
The recently formed National Association to Protect Native Rights in National Parks will lobby Congress to change the 1916 law setting up the park system so that it ensures native rights, he said.
OHA also noted the state Department of Land and Natural Resources granted a "right of entry" to OHA for 7.9 acres between the national park and Honokohau Harbor.
OHA was to build a cultural center there and the Pais were to be the kahu, or caretaker.
But there is nothing in the right of entry which guarantees the Pais residency, OHA said.
Bogus liens clogging
real estate system,
state lawmakers told
‘Mischief' reports are holding up transactions, industry attorneys say
By Rob Perez
The problem of bogus liens is growing in Hawaii, cluttering up the real estate system and becoming costly headaches for property owners, lenders and others, industry attorneys say.
The attorneys appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday to support a bill they said will help solve the problem.
Much of their scorn was directed at Perfect Title Co., a company that has filed dozens of reports at the Bureau of Conveyances claiming existing titles are defective.
The reports, generally dismissed as frivolous by the industry, often cite treasonous acts committed decades ago against the Hawaiian Kingdom as reasons for the junk titles.
Even though the title searches are bogus, they create a cloud on ownership and can cause havoc with property transfers and other transactions, the attorneys said.
"The mischief that this kind of thing can cause is not only to banks or escrow companies or title insurers. It's to real people," said Neil Hulbert, an attorney who represents various companies within the industry.
John Jubinsky, counsel for Title Guaranty of Hawaii, said Perfect Title isn't the only culprit.
He noted that bogus liens are being filed by people who lose at foreclosure auctions but claim to be high bidder because they were the only ones who pledged to pay with silver or gold coins - supposedly the only "legal" money.
One man whose home was being foreclosed on by Bank of America recently filed a lien against the bank for $10 billion, Jubinsky said.
Using a law that was enacted last year, a judge ruled that the lien was frivolous and fined the man $5,000 for each filed document, Jubinsky said.
The bill under consideration, HB 1537, would expand the applicability of that law and ultimately make it easier to block bogus filings by repeat offenders. It also is expected to increase sanction limits.
While supporting efforts to help purge the system of the frivolous filings, Rep. Cynthia Thielen questioned why authorities haven't prosecuted the people running Perfect Title.
"It seems there should be a companion effort to get rid of this scam," she said.
"It looks as if they're making out with hundreds of thousands of dollars," Thielen added, referring to the $1,500 the company typically charges per report. Perfect Title has done roughly 200.
Donald Lewis, president of Perfect Title, said he was surprised by the criticism. "I don't know what all the fuss is about," said Lewis, who didn't attend the hearing.
He said the title reports aren't liens and challenged the industry to disprove them.
Rep. Terrance Tom, Judiciary chairman, said the panel would approve the bill with modifications.
Kapahulu home under
title cloud sold at auction
The owner wouldn't pay the mortgage, citing a report by Perfect Title By Rob Perez
A Kapahulu resident who is refusing to pay her mortgage based on the findings of a controversial title report is one step closer to losing her home.
The six-bedroom house of Edith Mar was auctioned yesterday in front of Circuit Court, with the high bidder offering $290,000 - or roughly half the assessed value of the property.
Several dozen Mar supporters attended the auction, many of them contesting the validity of the foreclosure. They claimed the lenders weren't authorized to foreclose on the property because title never was properly granted to Mar in the first place - which her title insurer disputes.
"Somebody buying this property is getting nothing but pilikia (trouble)," Irma Sai told Al Fujisawa, the court-appointed foreclosure commissioner, shortly before the bidding started.
"That's their problem," Fujisawa responded, noting that documents filed by Mar and Perfect Title Co. in the Bureau of Conveyances could affect title to the property.
An elderly women who wouldn't give her name to a reporter was the high bidder. She said she was buying the home partly because it had fewer steps than her existing residence, which would make walking around easier.
The sale still must be confirmed by the court. A hearing likely will be in about a month.
If the court confirms the sale, the new owner would decide when an eviction, if necessary, would be, Fujisawa said.
Mar is one of a handful of people who have refused to pay their mortgages because of title searches by Perfect Title, which uses Hawaiian Kingdom law to trace property ownership to the 1800s.
The company invariably finds that existing titles are defective, though the industry generally dismisses the findings as absurd.
In Mar's case, Perfect Title determined the ownership chain was broken because the land was probated in 1894 by what the company called an illegal court following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Subsequent ownership transfers, including Mar's, were thus invalid, the company said.
After Perfect Title reached that conclusion, Mar stopped paying her mortgage and insisted that her title insurer, Chicago Title, pay it because she said she never got true ownership.
But Chicago Title has scoffed at Perfect Title's contention that all government entities since the overthrow are invalid. It also said Mar still is responsible for paying the mortgage because no one else is claiming to own the property, therefore she hasn't suffered any damage to trigger the title policy.
Mar's case is the first to go this far in the foreclosure process, and thus has become a rallying point for Perfect Title supporters and detractors.
Mar didn't attend yesterday's auction and couldn't be reached for comment.
But many others there were quick to pan the process.
"This is all superficial," said George Featheran, a Kailua resident who likewise has stopped paying his mortgage based on a Perfect Title report.
Featheran said he didn't think Mar would lose her home because Perfect Title's report cannot be disproved - a theme repeated again and again by company supporters. The court, however, hasn't addressed that issue because Mar never officially raised it, saying she doesn't recognize the authority of the state's judicial system.
As yesterday's auction wrapped up, one man, alluding to the problems that may come with the property, turned to the high bidder and remarked, "Hope you enjoy your (can) of worms."
Perfect Title handed
first court setback
A Big Island judge rules the company's title report is invalid
By Rob Perez
A Big Island judge has issued the first court ruling against Perfect Title Co., determining that a title report and deed based on the company's research are invalid and should be stricken from state records.
The ruling is considered significant by critics of the company because it starts the process by which Perfect Title could be banned from filing anything with the state Bureau of Conveyances for five years.
But Perfect Title President Donald Lewis dismissed Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra's finding, saying it came from a "court that doesn't exist."
And even if the ruling was valid, it would undermine the foundation of the worldwide private-contract system, throwing into question any signed agreements between individuals, Lewis said.
"It's absurd," he said. "The whole concept of private contracts would be in jeopardy."
The company's title searches, which trace land ownership to the 1850's using Hawaiian Kingdom law, generally have been dismissed as meaningless by most in the real estate industry.
But because dozens of the documents have been filed at the bureau and invariably conclude that existing titles in Hawaii are junk, they are creating a host of problems, with some homeowners even refusing to pay mortgages based on Perfect Title's findings.
In the Big Island case, Ibarra granted a motion asking that the company's title report for a 5.8-acre North Kona parcel and a related warranty deed issued by David Keanu Sai, described as the kingdom's "regent" and a partner of Lewis, be expunged.
The judge also ordered Perfect Title and other defendants in the case, including Sai, to pay more than $4,000 in attorney fees and court costs, plus $5,000 in damages, according to minutes of the Feb. 24 hearing.
Several days later, Sai sent a letter to Ibarra warning the judge that he would be held accountable in a Hawaiian court for his actions. Don't "underestimate the effect of Hawaiian law," Sai wrote.
Ibarra declined comment.
The Big Island lawsuit was filed by heirs of Henry Haiha, who was awarded a land patent grant for the Kona parcel and five adjacent acres in 1920.
When a buyer for the 5.8-acre property was found last year, a title company refused to issue title insurance because of Perfect Title's report, which claimed the registered owners didn't really own the land, and the subsequent deed.
An heir who opposed the sale hired Perfect Title to do the title search. Once the search was concluded, that heir was deeded the property by Sai.
Arnold Lum, a Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney representing the heirs who filed the lawsuit, said the land sale is expected to go through once the documents are expunged.
Other attorneys said they hoped Ibarra's ruling will help prevent the Perfect Title problem from spreading.
If the company is hit with two more similar rulings involving documents it filed last year, Perfect Title would be barred from filing anything with the bureau for five years without court permission.
Lum cited a law enacted last year dealing with bogus liens to argue for the expungement.
But Lewis said his company's title searches aren't liens but simply reports done under contract with individuals.
"It isn't right for the courts or the Legislature or anyone to (intervene) in private contracts," he said.
refuse to work with
Perfect Title clients
Some say the controversial company is being blacklisted by the real estate industry
By Rob Perez
Land surveyors are refusing to do business with clients of Perfect Title Co., triggering allegations that the real estate industry is blacklisting the company in hopes of shutting it down.
More than half a dozen surveying companies on Oahu and the Big Island have refused work requests once the companies learned the work was needed for Perfect Title, which traces land ownership to the 1850s using Hawaiian Kingdom law, according to several clients.
"All we've been getting are doors slamming shut," said Gary Vincent, a Big Island homeowner.
The clients said they were told Hawaii's title insurance companies have pressured the surveyors to avoid any involvement with Perfect Title customers or risk losing business.
"These title companies are running scared and trying anything and everything to stop what Perfect Title is doing," said Karl Travis, a Makakilo homeowner who claims he was refused service at six Oahu surveying companies.
But executives with two surveying companies and a title insurer said there's no campaign to blacklist Perfect Title.
The surveyors said they made independent decisions to stop doing business with the clients because legal questions about Perfect Title's controversial land ownership searches are unresolved and the surveyors don't want to be pulled into the fray.
"We felt at this point it would be prudent to take a wait-and-see position," said Chrystal Yamasaki, president of Wes Thomas Associates on the Big Island.
Perfect Title, dismissed as a scam operator by many in the industry, typically cites the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, treason against the kingdom or other factors to conclude that Hawaii land titles are no good.
The findings, if generally accepted, would create havoc in the industry, throwing ownership of thousands of acres into question.
Title Guaranty of Hawaii, the state's largest title insurance agency, has been leading the industry fight against Perfect Title.
Travis said Towill Shigeoka & Associates on Oahu originally agreed to do work for him but later had a change of heart.
Travis said he was told by Lester Shimabukuro, a Towill principal, that Title Guaranty was applying pressure.
Shimabukuro disputed that account. "Title Guaranty has never come down on us about Perfect Title," he said.
Shimabukuro said his company decided to discontinue doing work for Perfect Title clients partly because it didn't want to jeopardize its long-standing business relationship with Title Guaranty.
John Jubinsky, attorney for Title Guaranty, also disputed Travis' blacklisting charge. "Nothing was initiated by us," Jubinsky said.
Some -- not a majority of -- Perfect Title clients need the services of surveyors to get written legal descriptions of their property. The information is used to issue new deeds, which Perfect Title says is necessary to correct invalid titles.
Donald Lewis, Perfect Title president, said he was surprised his customers were having trouble getting "run-of-the-mill services" from surveyors -- especially when real estate companies are hurting for business.
"I can't figure it out," he said. "This whole (controversy) is taking on a life of its own."
Travis said he eventually found a self-employed surveyor on the Big Island who would do the work.
Perfect Title's chief
faces Realtor critics
If the firm's findings are found valid, the isle real estate system will be in big trouble
By Rob Perez
Donald Lewis faced a room full of his harshest critics: real estate professionals.
And judging from their comments yesterday, he didn't sway many, if any at all, to his disputed way of viewing Hawaii's land title system.
The president of Perfect Title Co. appeared at a Honolulu Board of Realtors seminar to defend the title searches his company does -- and the unnerving conclusions they reach.
If validated, Perfect Title's findings -- that current titles in Hawaii are invalid based on 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law -- would undermine the real estate system that most people in yesterday's audience of 300-plus rely on for their livelihoods.
The findings, all filed with the state, have cast clouds on ownership of dozens of parcels, prompted some people to discontinue paying their mortgages or ground rents, created costly headaches for lenders and caused chaos in some pockets of the industry.
It's no wonder Lewis faced a largely skeptical crowd, including several panel members who shared the stage with him and dismissed Perfect Title's work as worthless.
"It's got less credibility than the tooth fairy, and it's a lot more expensive," attorney and panelist John Jubinsky told the audience at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, referring to the $1,500 Perfect Title charges for each title search.
But Lewis defended the searches -- close to 400 completed or in the works -- and said they were thorough and based on public documents the company has researched dating to the rein of King Kamehameha III.
"You can call us whatever you want," Lewis said.
"It won't change the fact that the vested rights (of native tenants) are still there."
He was referring to a key element of kingdom law: that native Hawaiians have an "undivided" vested right in all Hawaii land unless they obtain ownership -- thereby dividing or exercising that right -- of an individual parcel.
If anyone holding a fee-simple title doesn't arrange by Feb. 14 to have Perfect Title check ownership records for that property, the person stands to lose any claim to the land, and a native tenant could exercise his or her right to it, Lewis said.
But Jubinsky said Lewis has set up a ludicrous system designed to collect lots of money from gullible people. The system includes the designation of a Perfect Title co-founder as so-called kingdom regent who can correct titles the company deems are flawed, Jubinsky said.
Even though the company's work is meaningless, the fallout is causing damage and disruption within the industry, Jubinsky said.
David Pietsch Jr., president of Title Guaranty Escrow Services Inc., Hawaii's largest escrow company, said Perfect Title's reports are driving up the cost of foreclosures and evictions because lenders have to deal with them. The clouds created by the reports also are possibly hurting land values, he said.
That the Realtor group devoted an afternoon to discuss Perfect Title underscores how serious the industry considers the matter.
And it's not just Realtors. The Hawaii Developers Council is hosting a similar panel discussion next week.
Some who attended yesterday's session were unimpressed by Lewis' arguments but believe the industry must do a better job of addressing fundamental issues raised by him.
"We have to be able to answer those charges more definitively than we have today," said Honolulu broker Liz Moore.
Perfect Title focus
of criminal probe
The state Attorney General's Office is conducting the investigation
By Rob Perez
The state has started a criminal investigation of Perfect Title Co., a title research firm at the center of a growing ruckus in Hawaii's real estate industry.
Randy Young, a deputy attorney general, said the state Attorney General's Office is looking into whether Perfect Title has violated criminal statutes.
He wouldn't elaborate, nor would an attorney involved with the case.
Young said the investigation began after this year's legislative session ended but wouldn't say what triggered the inquiry or what the focus is.
Perfect Title has created chaos in Hawaii's real estate industry with its claims that current land titles are no good. The company reaches those conclusions using 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law, which it says is still in effect, and by searching property records dating to the 1840s.
Even though the industry dismisses Perfect Title's work as worthless, the company's reports are filed at the state Bureau of Conveyances, casting clouds on ownership of hundreds of parcels throughout the islands. The reports have become costly headaches for lenders and others trying to get rid of the documents and have been cited by homeowners who stop paying their mortgages.
In starting the criminal investigation, the AG's office has switched gears from an earlier position when it viewed the Perfect Title controversy as a dispute between private parties.
Young said yesterday that circumstances have changed. "This isn't a static situation," he said. "When this first started, no one was aware of the scope of the problem."
Perfect Title officials said they didn't know what the state was investigating. But they welcomed the inquiry, saying they have nothing to hide and are doing everything according to Hawaiian law.
"What are we doing that's so criminal?" asked David Keanu Sai, the company's chief title investigator. "If we're as bad as everyone says we are, why are we still here?"
The company has been conducting title searches for about a year and a half.
Sai said a criminal investigator from the AG's office visited the company nearly a year ago, looking into a fraud complaint filed by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. But nothing ever came of that, he said.
One area the state may be investigating is Perfect Title's refusal to file state tax returns and pay state general excise taxes. Perfect Title says it doesn't pay such taxes because it does business under kingdom law, subject only to kingdom taxes.
It doesn't recognize the state as a legal entity.
Stephen Hironaka, a Department of Taxation official, said a company that has at least $25,000 in income a year must file monthly returns and pay the excise tax monthly.
Failure to file such returns is a criminal violation, he said. Hironaka declined to say whether Perfect Title is being investigated by his department.
Perfect Title charges about $1,500 for each title search -- a third of the amount due upfront, and the remainder once the report is completed. The company says it has completed roughly 200, with about another 200 in the works.
Based on the $1,500 fee, that would generate $600,000 in revenue.
NEWSPAPER PAGE ONE HEADLINE: JUDGE BLASTS PERFECT TITLE
Ezra urges authorities
to take action against the firm,
calling its federal prison site challenge
'a sham piece of paper'
By Star-Bulletin staff
A U.S. district judge has slammed into Perfect Title Co., calling its challenge of a land conveyance for a federal detention center in Honolulu "utterly and completely without merit."
"It constitutes nothing more than a sham piece of paper," Judge David Ezra said yesterday before approving the release of $9 million to pay for the condemnation of four acres of state land near Honolulu Airport.
Perfect Title had claimed an interest in the property, broadly basing its assertion on 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law, which it contends still is in effect.
But the judge -- using words like "reckless" and "ludicrous" -- said the issue has nothing to do with Hawaiian sovereignty, and that the company's arguments already have been ruled invalid by him, as well as state judges.
In his strongly stated oral ruling, Ezra urged authorities to take action against the company.
Perfect Title has been saying current land titles are no good, and has filed reports with the state Bureau of Conveyances that have cast clouds on the ownership of hundreds of parcels and prompted some homeowners to stop paying their mortgages.
The company charges about $1,500 for each title search.
Ezra said the people who "fall prey to these schemes" are the elderly and others who cannot afford lawyers, and that "there simply is no excuse for this to go on."
"I don't like to see the people of Hawaii victimized, and that's what's happening here," he said.
The state attorney general's office last week said it has started an investigation to see if the firm has violated any criminal statutes.
The company was not present at yesterday's hearing.
Perfect Title President Donald Lewis later denied victimizing anyone, and said his firm's claim to the detention facility land is valid based on his standing as a "native tenant."
"I believe everybody's upset because there's a lot of truth in it," he said. "It's called, 'Where there's smoke, there's fire.'"
Lewis said he will continue the title searches, adding his company actually is losing money doing them.
The lawyer for Title Guaranty Escrow Services Inc. said he has been waiting for more than a year and a half to hear a judge speak like Ezra.
"I hope that it will lead some people that are paying this $1,500 to think twice and realize that they're being ripped off, and they'll stop paying," said Title Guaranty attorney John Jubinsky.
"I think if they stop paying, a lot of this stuff will completely go away."
U.S. Attorney Steven Alm issued a statement praising Ezra, and saying he looked forward to the facility's construction on a parcel bounded by Elliott Street and Aokea Place.
"It is a good result for everyone concerned," he said.
Design of the $100 million, 677-bed center is ongoing, said U.S. Marshal Anne Kent.
She said construction optimistically would begin by the middle of next year and be finished in 2-1/2 years.
The facility will house people awaiting trial, sentencing or having other business in federal court.
Wednesday, July 23, 1997
Judge's welcome blast
on false land claims
QUIXOTIC challenges made by a small company to land titles based on 19th century Hawaiian kingdom law have aggravated Hawaii's real estate industry and prompted some homeowners to stop making payments on their mortgage loans. When the company challenged a land conveyance for a federal detention center in Honolulu, U.S. District Judge David Ezra used strong language in urging authorities to take action. An investigation opened by the state attorney general's office should be completed without delay.
Donald Lewis' Perfect Title Co. conducts title searches dating to the monarchy and then challenges property claims based on probate will and property transfers over the past century. State judges have rejected Lewis' assertions, but Lewis has ignored those rulings as coming from "a court that doesn't exist."
Ezra went a step further by branding Lewis' challenge of the state's ownership of the detention center site as "a sham piece of paper" that is "utterly and completely without merit." Nor did the judge limit his remarks to the question of ownership of the detention-site property. "I don't like to see the people of Hawaii victimized, and that's what's happening here," the judge said, in reference to other claims made by Perfect Title.
Lewis' repeated lack of success in court has not deterred him. He said after Ezra's outburst that he plans to continue conducting title searches, for which his company charges clients $1,500. Ezra said the elderly and others who cannot afford lawyers are most vulnerable to the risk created by Lewis' claims.
In fact, there are people who are faced with loss of their homes because they have stopped making payments on their mortgage loans and have been judged in default. The judge was fully justified in his remarks about the victimization of the people of Hawaii. We hope those who have listened to Lewis will take heed.
Lewis should know by this time that the claims he is making to property as a "native tenant" are unacceptable. His business practices should be examined by both the attorney general's office and federal authorities to determine if they are in compliance with the law. If not, appropriate charges should be brought against this bizarre operation.
Perfect Title workers jailed, records taken
Saturday, September 6, 1997
By Star-Bulletin Staff
The two co-founders of Perfect Title Co. were arrested and their office records, payroll, computers and other equipment confiscated, all but shutting down - at least for now - their controversial title search business.
A Big Island judge also has barred the company from filing any documents with the state Bureau of Conveyances for five years, cutting the company off from the forum it used to file its disputed reports.
The title searches, based on 19th-century Hawaiian kingdom law, basically conclude that Hawaii's existing land titles are no good - a claim that has caused havoc in the real estate industry.
Some Perfect Title clients are on the verge of losing their homes because they have used the company's reports - which cost $1,500 each - as justification to stop paying mortgages.
As part of a state criminal investigation, Honolulu police Friday arrested Donald A. Lewis, David Keanu Sai and a company secretary for investigation of theft, racketeering and tax evasion.
They were taken from Perfect Title's downtown office in handcuffs and were questioned and jailed for several hours before being released. No charges were filed.
Lewis and Sai, who as Hawaiian kingdom subjects claim not to recognize the state's authority, said they were being falsely accused, and questioned the motivation behind the arrests, as did some Perfect Title clients.
"This whole thing is being blown up for a media blitz," Sai said. "If we had something to hide, we would be panicking. But we are probably the most open company on the face of the Earth."
Attorney General Margery Bronster, during an afternoon news conference yesterday, would not discuss details of the allegations against the Perfect Title co-founders. But she said the company was misleading people by issuing liens - the title searches - that aren't based on law.
Judge to couple:
They've not paid because Perfect Title says their title is illegal
By Susan Kreifels
Mary Nanea Reeves Sai lost her case yesterday to dismiss the foreclosure on property that she says has been in her family for nine generations.
She and husband Dennis Kapua Sai haven't made the mortgage payment on their Kuliouou home because they believe the land was stolen by the U.S. government from the native Hawaiian people, and therefore the title is illegal.
But Circuit Judge Virginia Lea Crandall denied the couple's motion, saying they were obligated to pay their debt.
The Sais say they may lose their home, but it's a matter of principle to them.
"We may be houseless but we're not homeless," said Nanea Sai defiantly. "I still believe I have clear and good title to the property. It doesn't matter what they do.
"The judge didn't address the real problem, the title."
The Sais hired Perfect Title Co. to do a title search. The company bases its searches on 19th-century Hawaiian kingdom law, basically concluding that Hawaii's existing land titles are no good. The controversial searches have brought chaos to the real-estate industry.
The two co-founders of Perfect Title were arrested last week for investigation of theft, racketeering and tax evasion.
Dennis Sai said he expected his title insurance company to pay the mortgage because he believes the title is illegal based on public records.
He said he and his wife will start making payments again if anyone can refute the findings of Perfect Title's title search, or if the title is corrected.
John Jubinsky is attorney for Title Guaranty of Hawaii Inc., agent for Ticor Title Insurance Co./Chicago Title Insurance Co., which holds the title insurance on the Sais' property.
"It's very unfortunate that these people will continue to lose their properties if they don't pay their mortgages and buy into Perfect Title's theories," said Jubinsky, who was not involved in yesterday's hearing. "We're telling them we believe they own their property, and that Perfect Title opinions are frivolous. That is what every judge has said.
"Unfortunately for these folks, they are going to put themselves in such financial jeopardy."
Attorney Derek Wong represents Homeside Lending Inc., a mainland financier who holds the Sais' mortgage. Wong said Crandall found no basis to set aside the default.
"A cloud on the title is not a defense to nonpayment of the note and enforcement of the mortgage," Wong said.
Perfect Title client
losing family home
Foreclosure is approved against Edith Mar, who cited its report when she stopped making payments By Rob Perez
A state judge has approved the foreclosure sale of a Kapahulu home whose owner stopped paying her mortgage based on the findings of Perfect Title Co.
Barring an unforeseen development, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall's order confirming the sale means Edith Mar will lose the home her family has owned since 1920.
Mar would be the first homeowner to lose a home after refusing to make mortgage payments based on a Perfect Title conclusion -- disputed by her lenders and title insurer -- that title to the property was no good.
"This will serve as an unfortunate lesson to all of those (homeowners) who believe in Perfect Title," said Jeff Lau, an attorney who represents one of the lenders in the case.
Perfect Title uses 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law to trace property ownership to the 1840s. The company invariably finds that existing titles are defective, usually claiming that any conveyance of property since the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy is invalid.
A handful of homeowners have cited Perfect Title's findings to stop paying their mortgages, arguing that they never got clear title to their homes. But lenders have dismissed the company's conclusions as absurd and are foreclosing on those homeowners.
Several judges also have found the company's logic to be flawed, and Perfect Title officials are under investigation for theft, racketeering and tax evasion.
Even though Mar's six-bedroom house was sold at auction in February, the order confirming the sale was held up by a variety of issues, including Mar's subsequent claim that she was duped by Perfect Title.
Now that the order is approved, Lau said he expects the sale to close in about a month.
If the Mars are still in the home at that point, they can be evicted, but that would be up to the buyer, Winifred Lee.
Lee bid $290,000 for the property -- roughly half its assessed value.
Nathaniel Lum, Lee's attorney, said his client hopes the property transfer goes peacefully. "She doesn't want to have Mrs. Mar forcibly evicted," Lum said. But his client will seek eviction if the Mars aren't cooperative, he said.
Mar could not be reached for comment. She previously has said she didn't believe she would lose her home.
Perfect Title officials say they don't tell people to stop paying their mortgages.
Mar can appeal Crandall's decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court. But an appeal shouldn't delay the closing unless Mar is able to post a bond, Lau said.
While other homeowners have lost homes to foreclosure even after citing Perfect Title research, their cases are different from Mar's. They hired the company after the foreclosure process started, presumably hoping to stave off foreclosure.
With Mar, Perfect Title was involved from the beginning. Lenders began the foreclosure process only after Mar, citing Perfect Title's findings, stopped making her payments.
Thursday, December 2, 1999
Perfect Title Co.
David Sai tried to help a couple reclaim a home lost through foreclosure
By Rob Perez
The co-founder of a now-defunct title company that challenged the validity of land titles in Hawaii faces up to 10 years in prison after being convicted of an attempted theft charge.
A Circuit Court jury yesterday found David Keanu Sai guilty of first-degree attempted theft for helping a couple try to reclaim an Aiea home they lost through foreclosure.
The couple, Michael and Carol Simafranca, also was found guilty of the attempted-theft charge, as well as first-degree burglary for illegally entering the residence.
The latter charge also carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Sentencing is set for March 7.
The Simafrancas in early 1997 entered the home while the owners were away.
The couple had lost the residence through foreclosure in 1996 but subsequently tried to reclaim ownership based on a warranty deed issued by Sai, a founder of Perfect Title Co.
Sai previously has said he issued the deed in his capacity as regent of the Hawaiian kingdom and based on Perfect Title research.
The company used 19th century kingdom law to determine that existing land titles in Hawaii were invalid.
Earlier in the trial, Circuit Judge Sandra Simms acquitted Donald Lewis, who was president and co-founder of Perfect Title, of the attempted-theft charge.
Sai and the Simafrancas declined comment after the jury's unanimous verdict was announced. Their attorneys said they planned to appeal.
Deputy Attorney General Dwight Nadamoto, who handled the case for the state, said he was pleased with the verdict.
But Lewis said the decision was improper. He said the state made a criminal case out of what basically was a civil dispute over land titles.
"I feel bad," he said. "These people are not criminals. They're good people."
Lewis and other supporters said they hoped the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court so the issue of whether kingdom law applies in Hawaii can be resolved.
While at Perfect Title, Lewis and Sai maintained that Hawaii is still a sovereign nation because sovereignty never was transferred to the United States via a treaty -- the only way such a transfer legally could be done, they said.
But critics said such reasoning was absurd, citing, among other things, the annexation of the islands by the federal government in 1898.
Perfect Title shut down in late 1997 after the state seized its records as part of an investigation. Lewis still faces charges of failing to obtain a state license to do business in Hawaii and failing to file a general excise tax return.
Thursday, December 2, 1999
Title company's co-founder guilty
By Ken Kobayashi
A Circuit Court jury yesterday convicted a co-founder of Perfect Title Co.
and two of its clients on charges of first-degree attempted theft for trying to
steal an Aiea home through a scheme that tried to cast doubt on the validity
of land ownership in Hawaii.
David Keanu Sai, 35, who helped start the company in 1995, and Michael and
Carol Simafranca were found guilty of the felony, which carries a prison term
of up to 10 years.
Circuit Judge Sandra Simms scheduled sentencing for March 7.
The three showed no emotion when the verdicts were read. They and their
lawyers later declined to comment but indicated they will appeal the
"I'm very, very pleased — very satisfied with the verdict," said Deputy
Attorney General Dwight Nadamoto. "I think the evidence was sufficient for
The verdict culminates the state's investigation into the now-defunct
company, which stirred widespread anxiety in the real estate industry when
it challenged property titles based on the laws of the Hawaiian kingdom
before the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani.
Based on its research, Perfect Title filed claims with the state Bureau of
Conveyances that cast doubt on the legality of modern land ownership. For a
fee, Perfect Title said, the company could research titles and guarantee that
the land couldn't be claimed by anyone else.
Police and state officials raided the company's Honolulu offices in September
1997. The Attorney General's Office later led the prosecution.
According to Nadamoto, the Simafrancas paid Perfect Title $1,700 for
research and a warranty deed to the Aiea home that they had previously lost
in a foreclosure. In January 1997, the Honolulu couple broke into the home,
which was valued at more than $300,000, Nadamoto said. Sai was an
accomplice because he knew the couple were going to the Aiea home,
according to the prosecution.
The defense attorneys argued that there was no criminal intent by any of the
three. Sai believed in his research and never ordered the two to go to the
home, and the Simafrancas genuinely believed they owned the property, their
The Simafrancas were also found guilty of burglary, punishable by up to 10
years in prison.
Donald A. Lewis, co-founder and president of Perfect Title, also went on trial
on a charge of attempted first-degree theft. But earlier in the trial, Lewis was
acquitted by Simms, who ruled that the prosecution's evidence did not
support the charge against him.
"I don't think it's a good verdict," said Lewis, who appeared at the
courthouse to support his former co-defendants yesterday. "This is really a
civil matter. It shouldn't have been in this court, criminalizing challenges on
Lewis still faces a trial in January on two misdemeanor charges of failing to
obtain a license to conduct business in Hawaii and failing to file a general
excise tax return for 1996.
Friday, December 19, 1997
Courts should punish
land title scam artists
FAILING to persuade judges in civil court with the absurd proposition that current land titles in Hawaii are voided by the alleged illegality of the U.S. annexation of the islands, co-founders of a title-searching company finally face criminal charges. Perfect Title Co. principals David Keanu Sai and Donald A. Lewis were indicted by a state grand jury on charges of attempted theft. The indictment comes more than a year after they began luring homeowners down a path paved in fool's gold.
As the Star-Bulletin's Rob Perez reported in August 1996, Sai and Lewis, charging $1,500 for a title search, were able to convince homeowners that their titles were invalid, on the theory that courts established after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 lacked authority to probate wills and approve transfers of property.
Perfect Title's challenge of the state's ownership of a site for a federal detention center was viewed five months ago by federal Judge David Ezra as "utterly and completely without merit." Ezra added: "I don't like to see the people of Hawaii victimized, and that's what's happening here."
Michael and Carol Simafranca also face attempted theft and burglary charges. The Simafrancas lost possession of their Aiea home through foreclosure, then attempted to regain ownership based on a title search by Perfect Title. They hired a locksmith to gain entry to the house, moved back in and changed the locks to keep out the family that had bought the foreclosed property. The new owners eventually obtained a restraining order against the couple.
Undeterred by defeats in civil court, Perfect Title has continued to cause havoc in the state's real estate industry and untold misery for families that have seen their home investments evaporate. The company has gone so far as to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court that is as half-baked as its underlying premise. Criminal prosecution appears to be the only way to bring an end to this incredible scheme and prevent these people from creating more victims.
Friday, February 27, 1998
Perfect Title client
buys house out of
Edith Mar lost her home after stopping payments because of a title report
By Rob Perez
The Kapahulu woman who lost her home after refusing to pay her mortgage based on the controversial findings of Perfect Title Co. has bought it back for an undisclosed amount.
Though Edith Mar never vacated the six-bedroom house, it was sold in a foreclosure sale last year after she stopped making the mortgage payments, citing the company's conclusion that she didn't have valid title to the property.
Mar, who subsequently claimed she was duped by Perfect Title, was the first to lose her home -- at least on paper -- based on the company's widely disputed findings.
Perfect Title uses 19th century Hawaiian Kingdom law to trace property ownership to the 1840s. The company invariably finds that existing titles are defective, usually claiming that any conveyance of property since the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy is invalid.
Several judges have found the company's logic to be flawed, and the company's co-founders have been charged with attempted theft in connection with one case.
Once Mar realized she was losing the home her family has lived in since 1920, family members began negotiating to repurchase the house from the foreclosure buyer, Winifred Lee.
Even though Lee obtained title to the home, Mar remained in it throughout the negotiations.
The buyback deal closed yesterday.
Neither side would disclose a purchase price. But Derek Tomita, Lee's attorney, said his client was paid enough to cover the $230,000 she paid for the foreclosed property plus fees and damages.
"She's satisfied with (the settlement)," Tomita said.
Mar, contacted by telephone, declined to comment.
Perfect Title owner Donald Lewis also declined comment.
In May, Mar and six other Hawaii residents, who each paid about $1,500 for their title searches, sued Perfect Title, accusing the company of unfair or deceptive practices.
The company denied the charges. It also said it didn't tell homeowners to stop paying their mortgages.
John Jubinsky, a title industry attorney who long has accused Perfect Title of running a scam, said the whole ordeal needlessly cost Mar and her family money.
"It's unfortunate these folks have been put through all this," said Jubinsky, who wasn't involved in the Mar case. "I think it's sad, sad, sad."
Saturday, November 13, 1999
Perfect Title chief
clears theft charge
The kingdom's company backed a couple trying to reclaim a house, declaring U.S. land titles invalid
By Rob Perez
A state judge has dismissed a felony charge against the president of a now-defunct title company which questioned the validity of virtually all land ownership in Hawaii.
Circuit Judge Sandra Simms yesterday dismissed a first-degree attempted theft charge against Donald A. Lewis, co-founder and president of what was known as Perfect Title Co.
Lewis and three others, including Perfect Title co-founder David Keanu Sai, were indicted in December 1997 on attempted theft charges for allegedly trying to illegally gain control of an Aiea couple's home.
Their action was based partly on Perfect Title's property ownership research. The company used 19th-century Hawaiian kingdom law to conclude that existing land titles in Hawaii were invalid.
Michael and Carol Simafrancas -- the other two people indicted for attempted theft -- lost the Aiea home through foreclosure in 1996 but subsequently tried to reclaim ownership, citing Perfect Title's research. In November 1996 they filed a so-called warranty deed for the property that had been issued by Sai, described in Perfect Title documents as the kingdom's regent.
The deed was recorded even though another couple had purchased the home.
In January 1997, the Simafrancas gained access to the home with the help of a locksmith and had the locks changed just as the new owners were returning to the residence, according to court documents.
The four defendants went on trial Nov. 1. After the state rested its case yesterday, Simms granted Lewis' motion for acquittal, citing a lack of evidence.
But the judge declined to dismiss charges against Sai and the Simafrancas. The Simafrancas also face a charge of burglary in the first degree for allegedly entering the residence unlawfully.
The trial is scheduled to resume Monday with the defense presenting its case.
Lewis yesterday said he was happy about the acquittal but lamented that the state's investigation basically put Perfect Title out of business.
"In essence, they destroyed the company," Lewis said.
The other defendants could not be reached for comment, and the deputy attorney general handling the case didn't return a phone call.
Until Perfect Title shut down in September 1997, it had been filing its controversial title reports at the state Bureau of Conveyances. That caused problems by gumming up legitimate ownership records, critics contended.
Despite yesterday's action, Lewis is not free of legal problems stemming from Perfect Title.
He still faces charges of failing to obtain a state license to do business in Hawaii and failing to file a general excise tax return for 1996.
Lewis previously has said Perfect Title didn't obtain a license or file a return because it operated under Hawaiian kingdom laws, which Lewis believes still are in force, not state laws.
Lewis maintains the United States never entered into a treaty with the kingdom to obtain sovereignty over the islands and therefore kingdom laws still apply here -- a claim critics say is hogwash.
Lewis is scheduled to go to trial on the license and tax charges in January.
to the Editor
Thursday, December 9, 1999
Jury decision was right in Perfect Title case
The guilty verdict against Keanu Sai of Perfect Title is important for Hawaii. He had full opportunity to "educate" the jury that the overthrow and annexation of were illegal, and that land titles in Hawaii are therefore invalid.
An interracial jury of 12, randomly selected, was certified impartial. Sai, articulate and persuasive, tried his best. But not a single juror thought his theories reasonable. Nobody was even willing to let him escape on "technicalities."
They decided unanimously that his sovereignty theories are wrong, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Now that the people have given their common-sense judgment, the case should be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, so scholars and judges can rule on his claims. Let's have a clean decision on fundamental principles.
Sai is no ordinary thief. He does not hide in the shadows. He files documents openly, broadcasting his views publicly. He is an honorable Hawaiian nationalist patriot, exploring serious issues. And he is wrong.
NOTE FROM KEN CONKLIN THREE AND A HALF YEARS LATER: Based on considerable additional observation, including Keanu Sai's circus at the "World Court," I now believe Keanu Sai was not acting honorably then or now. Yes, he is a Hawaiian nationalist patriot. But he is also a con artist. His behavior might best be described as sociopathic, because he is a man of high intelligence who skillfully seduces the trust of gullible people through pseudo-intellectual arguments and personal charisma, enlisting them in scams he certainly knows will cause them financial and psychological loss, even while bringing wealth and fame to himself.
Title company will be proved right one day
With reference to the claim of Perfect Title Co.'s critics that illegal ratification of the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii after the illegal overthrow by Sanford Dole and others is absurd:
I wait with bated breath until the U.S. Supreme Court has to rule on this issue. As anyone knows who is knowledgeable about U.S. history, any treaty with the United States must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, which the annexation treaty of Hawaii was not.
Even President McKinley refused to support the annexation of Hawaii because of its constitutional illegality.
When, not if, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling is obtained by Perfect Title Co. and Messrs. Sai and Lewis, it will be extremely interesting to see the resurrection of the original "illegal Kingdom of Hawaii"!
William Afong Kaipo Kuamoo
Wednesday, March 8, 2000
Perfect Title Co. co-founder placed on probation; Judge denies state's request for jail term
By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer
[photo caption] David Keanu Sai is congratulated by supporters from the Hawaiian Patriotic League outside District Court after sentencing. He plans an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Richard Ambo - The Honolulu Advertiser
A co-founder of the Perfect Title Co. whose filings with the Bureau of Conveyances raised doubts about land ownership in Hawaii was given five years of probation yesterday for trying to steal an Aiea home.
State prosecutors asked for a 30-day jail term, arguing that David Keanu Sai, who was convicted of attempted theft, has shown no remorse for his actions.
But Circuit Judge Sandra Simms cited Sai's lack of a criminal record and his community activities and prior service as a captain in the Army National Guard in rejecting a jail term.
The judge said Sai was entitled to his beliefs, but said she was bound by state law to impose probation and order him to pay $200 to the state criminal injuries compensation fund.
Perfect Title caused a firestorm of controversy in real estate circles when it challenged property titles and filed claims with the Bureau of Conveyances based on the Hawaii law in effect before the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy.
More than 150 supporters who filled Simms' courtroom and spilled into the hallway and outside the courthouse later applauded Sai and shook his hand.
Sai, 35, said he was pleased with the sentence, but didn't agree with it. "I know I didn't do anything wrong," he said.
But Sai said he doesn't plan to resume activities that would lead to filing claims with the Bureau of Conveyances because it only adds to "confusion." He said he now wants to take his case outside Hawaii and argue that Hawaii is an independent state to the World Court's Permanent Court of Arbitration, which has scheduled a July 15 hearing in the Netherlands .
Simms yesterday also imposed a similar sentence of five years probation and the $200 payment to each of Sai's co-defendants, Michael and Carol Simafranca.
Sai and the Simafrancas were convicted by a jury last year in connection with the Simafrancas' going to an Aiea home they previously owned to reclaim it based on research by Perfect Title.
Sai was convicted as an accomplice because he knew the couple was going to the residence, prosecutors said.
But during the sentencing, Sai's lawyer, Richard N. Wurdeman, called the prosecution "political" based on the fears of title companies upset by Sai's activities in exposing "falsehoods and coverups" since the 1893 overthrow.
Wurdeman said Sai will appeal his conviction to the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Donald A. Lewis, 63, who helped found Perfect Title in 1995, also was charged with attempted theft, but Simms dismissed the charge last year, ruling that the state didn't present enough evidence.
Police and state officials raided Perfect Title's offices in 1997. The company closed last year.
Thursday, January 18, 2001
State vows to
of tax law
By Debra Barayuga
The co-founder of now-defunct Perfect Title Co., which challenged property titles based on 19th-century Hawaiian kingdom law, will serve no jail time for failing to obtain a general excise tax license or file a tax return.
But state attorneys said they will continue to prosecute those who willfully break the state's tax laws.
"The message needs to get out there that if you are doing business and accepting money from clients, you're required by law to pay general excise taxes, get a general excise tax license and file returns, and if you willfully avoid doing that, we're going to prosecute you," said Rick Damerville, deputy attorney general.
Because he has no prior criminal history, Circuit Judge Sandra Simms yesterday granted Donald Lewis, 65, a deferral of his no-contest plea for failure to file a general excise tax return for tax year 1996. She ordered him, however, to complete 50 hours of community service.
Lewis also pleaded no contest to his company's failure to obtain a general excise tax license before doing business in 1996.
Under a plea agreement accepted by the court, the state recommended that Perfect Title be fined $25,000, with $21,000 suspended because the company is now defunct and has no real assets, Damerville said.
An extra $4,500 seized as evidence from the company will go toward payment of the balance.
Lewis' attorney, Don Wilkerson, said Lewis believes that the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom was illegal and that he did not believe it was necessary to obtain a general excise tax license or file taxes.
Lewis was acquitted in November 1999 on an attempted first-degree theft charge for trying to reclaim an Aiea home for a couple who had lost it through foreclosure.
Testimony submitted to the Judicial Selection Commission on January 7, 2004 regarding a petition for retention in judicial office: Should Judge Sandra Simms Be Retained in Office for Another 10 Years?
In 2011 a television station reported a news story about Keanu Sai once again cranking up his old land title theories; and a resolution in the legislature was based on his view of history. Here's an update.
February 3, 2011
Foreclosures Face Sovereignty Claim
Company Using Title Challenge To Stop Foreclosures
Daryl Huff KITV 4 News Reporter
HONOLULU -- A legal argument based on the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, used unsuccessfully to fight foreclosures in the 1990s, is now being used once again, even though the man who promoted the theory 15 years ago was convicted of a felony. David Keanu Sai is back in the public eye 11 years after being put on probation after telling people that they could walk away from mortgages because of the way the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown.
Hundreds of people fighting foreclosure have invested in that claim again -- partly because Sai now has a University of Hawaii doctoral degree to back his argument.
Kale Gumapac, founder of Laulima LLC and Hawaiian Alliance LLC, advertises on Craigslist that he has a way to stop the foreclosure process.
“It doesn't put the banks in trouble and it doesn't put the borrower in trouble,” Gumapac said. “And it's worked. That's what I am trying to tell the Legislature.”
Gumapac said he has about 300 paying customers he is helping attack the title of their properties. “They can only foreclose if the title is clear,” he said.
The title attack is based on research by Windward Community College lecturer David Keanu Sai. He argues that the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the violation of executive agreements between the Queen and the U.S. government mean that all land title issued in Hawaii since 1893 are illegal and mortgages null and void.
Sai told KITV his claim is basically the same as it was in the 1990s, when he was convicted of attempted theft after he tried to help a foreclosed couple reclaim their home.
But since then, Sai said he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Hawaii Politicial Science Department based on the same thesis -- and now is a qualified expert on Hawaiian land title.
Gumapac said Sai’s academic credentials are proof his findings are legally correct.
“He was able to show and prove, and that's how he got his doctorate degree,” Gumapac said.
Gumapac said he has just started filing title insurance claims for his clients and hasn 't yet won a case.
“So we are now waiting to see what the outcome is on these claims,” he said.
Legal experts familiar with Sai and his claims said, despite his degree and teaching credentials, his challenge to land titles has never succeeded in a Hawaii court.
Sai said he is still working on that and challenging his conviction with a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C.
HCR107 in the Hawaii legislature of 2011 -- A resolution establishing a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.
The resolution is based entirely on Keanu Sai's twisted version of Hawaii history. A webpage provides full text of the resolution, and testimony by Ken Conklin in opposition to it.
Hawaii Free Press, Sunday, July 17, 2011
Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University
By Andrew Walden
Recidivist: A convicted criminal who reoffends.
Accessory: A person who, though not present during the commission of a felony, is guilty of having aided and abetted another who committed the felony.
Outfitted with a newly minted UH Manoa PhD and a job ‘teaching’ at Windward Community College, David “Keanu” Sai is back in the mortgage business--and he has lots of help from Rep Mele Carroll (D-Hana, Lanai, Molokai) and other Legislators, the Maui County Council, the University of Hawaii, public access TV, and several well-known sovereignty activists.
Sai was convicted March 7, 2000 on a single count of Class B felony theft stemming from his involvement in the so-called “Perfect Title” scam in which over 400 Hawaiian households were conned into forking out $1500 each to Sai and his company in exchange for worthless title search documents purporting to show that any title issued after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom was invalid.
As KITV’s Daryl Huff explained February 3rd:
A legal argument based on the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, used unsuccessfully to fight foreclosures in the 1990s, is now being used once again, even though the man who promoted the theory 15 years ago was convicted of a felony. David Keanu Sai is back in the public eye 11 years after being put on probation after telling people that they could walk away from mortgages because of the way the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown.
Hundreds of people fighting foreclosure have invested in that claim again -- partly because Sai now has a University of Hawaii doctoral degree to back his argument.
Kale Gumapac, founder of Laulima LLC and Hawaiian Alliance LLC, advertises on Craigslist that he has a way to stop the foreclosure process.
“It doesn't put the banks in trouble and it doesn't put the borrower in trouble,” Gumapac said. “And it's worked. That's what I am trying to tell the Legislature.”
Gumapac said he has about 300 paying customers he is helping attack the title of their properties. “They can only foreclose if the title is clear,” he said.
Do the math. Sai and Gumapac have 300 “customers”. Perfect Title had 400 victims. The Maui-based Ventura-Oliver sovereignty mortgage scammers now on trial had about 300 alleged victims. That is 1000 native Hawaiian households who have allegedly fallen victim to these three alleged scams. According to the US Census for 2010, there are 289,970 native Hawaiians in Hawaii. The average native Hawaiian household size is four persons, yielding a result of 72,492 households. The rate of home ownership for Hawaii is about 60% x 72,492 = 43,495 home-owning native Hawaiian households. Thus the 1,000 alleged victims of alleged sovereignty mortgage scammers, allegedly amounting to 2.3% of all native Hawaiian home-owning households.
At Sai’s 2000 sentencing, the courtroom of Judge was filled with about 100 sovereignty activists including Kekuni Blaisdell and sovereignty criminals such as pardoned convicted felon Bumpy Kanahele. Sai got off easy with five years probation, a small fine and no restitution to his victims. Judge Sandra Simms even allowed Sai to travel to The Hague for his ridiculous and unsuccessful attempt to parlay a Hilo traffic ticket into World Court recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Just over a decade later, Sai is traversing the state with a Power Point presentation. In his mis-named show, “Legal History of the Hawaiian Kingdom” Sai argues that all land title conveyances since the overthrow of the 1893 Hawaiian Kingdom are illegal. This time Sai is using the so-called “Lilioukalani Assignment”--an exchange of letters between the overthrown Queen Liliuokalani and then-US President Grover Cleveland—as the latest basis for his claim that all post 1893 land titles are illegal. The key falsehoods he uses to justify this claim are summed up on slides 78 and 79:
Law Prevents Conveyances since 1893
•“It shall not be lawful to record any conveyance…unless the same shall have been previously impressed with the Royal stamp.” §1254, Hawaiian Civil Code
•“To entitle any conveyance…to be recorded, it shall be acknowledged by the party or parties executing the same, before the Registrar of Conveyances, or his agent, or some judge of a court of record, or notary public of this Kingdom, or before some minister, commissioner or consul of the Hawaiian Islands, or some notary public or judge of a court of record in any foreign country.” §1255, Hawaiian Civil Code
•If a conveyance, whether by deed or mortgage, “was not properly acknowledged it was not entitled to be recorded, and though spread upon the record it must be treated as a nullity.” Lenehan v. Akana, 6 Haw. 538, 541 (1884)
•All State of Hawai`i laws and County ordinances are in direct violation of the Lili`uokalani Assignment and therefore the U.S. Constitution
Sai links to his Power Point presentation and propounds elements of the scam—including a nuisance lawsuit known as Sai v. Obama, et al.--on his official UH website:
How important is UH to Sai’s latest scheme? KITV reports:
Sai told KITV his claim is basically the same as it was in the 1990s, when he was convicted of attempted theft after he tried to help a foreclosed couple reclaim their home.
But since then, Sai.said he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Hawaii Political Science Department based on the same thesis -- and now is a qualified expert on Hawaiian land title.
Gumapac said Sai’s academic credentials are proof his findings are legally correct.
“He was able to show and prove, and that's how he got his doctorate degree,” Gumapac said.
State Legislators and the Maui County Council are also working to help back up these claims. House Concurrent Resolution 107 of 2011 is designed to give Legislative imprimatur to Sai’s scam by legitimizing his latest version of the “illegal overthrow” litany—namely the “Liliuokalani Assignment” –an exchange of letters between the overthrown Queen Liliuokalani and then-US President Grover Cleveland-- which Sai falsely claims is legally equivalent to a treaty between the USA and the Hawaiian Kingdom.
HCR107 was introduced March 14, 2011 by Rep Mele Carroll (D-Maui) for the purpose of: “Establishing a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Lili'uokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Lili'uokalani Assignment and the Agreement Of Restoration.”
Sai’s resolution passed the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs March 23 with no dissenting votes. In her report from the Committee, Chair Faye Hanohano explained:
“The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Aha Kanaka Moku O Keawe, Ke Aupuni o Hawaii, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly, Papa Ola Lokahi, Po‘o Hewahewanui ‘Ohana Council, and many concerned individuals supported this measure.”
Testimony also came from HPU assistant professor of anthropology Lynette Cruz, a well-known sovereignty activist who testified: “Dr. Sai's research revealed two executive agreements. His federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C., Sai v. Clinton, et aI., has contributed to public awareness of this important issue.” In another submission of written testimony, Cruz wrote: “After negotiating with Queen Liliuokalani to provide clemency to American insurgents, President Cleveland entered into agreements with the Queen. President Cleveland and the Queen found a way to resolve the problem of the U.S. invasion. As I understand it, these agreements constituted treaties because they were entered into by two heads of state. But somehow they were left out of the historic rendering and only now, via various lawsuits, have they surfaced.”
On April 1, (fittingly) the Maui County Council unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Councilmember Elle Cochran supporting passage of HCR 107.
(Link: www.co.maui.hi.us/Archive.aspx?ADID=15003 pg 51)
In testimony before the Legislature, support for Sai’s resolution also came from:
Hardy Spoehr, Executive Director, Papa Ola Lokahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Board,
Sydney L. Iaukea, Ph.D., Department of Education, Hawaiian Studies Program Manager and Specialist
Tom Coffman, Author and Filmmaker, Nation Within
Ty Tengan, Associate professor of ethnic studies and anthropology at UHM
Michael Kahikina, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly
Kale Gumapac, Kanaka Council who echoes Sai’s key point: “the occupier is barred from administering the occupier's national laws within the boundaries of an independent and sovereign State.”
Momilani Glushenko, co-owner of Gumapac’s Laulima Title Search and Claims, LLC
Gumapac fronted for the Sierra Club’s unsuccessful efforts to cut off DHHL “big box” commercial development in 2007. In 2009 he was the point man for DC-based Food and Water Watch’s campaign against against fish farms. Now he is a key player in efforts to promote Geothermal development on the 25,856 acre Wao Kele O Puna tract owned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The announcement for an April 9 panel discussion on geothermal reads:
The Geothermal Informational Session panel will be moderated by IDG CEO Patricia Brandt. Panelists include Mililani Trask, Esq. (International Human Rights Advocate), Ku’uleiohuokalani Kealoha Cooper (Kealoha Estate), Cy Bridges (Hawaiian Cultural Advisor), Bob Lindsey (OHA Trustee), and Kale Gumapac (CEO, Laulima Title Search & Guarantee).
The Hawaiian Geothermal Community Informational Sessions are sponsored by Kealoha Estate, Indigenous Consultants LLC, Innovations Development Group, Inc., Bob Lindsay, OHA Trustee—Hawaii Island, Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe, Laulima Title Search and Claims.
The Facebook page for Laulima Title Search explains the relationship between Rep. Carroll, Gumapac and Sai:
Our story begins five years ago when President and CEO Kale Gumapac, a lifelong insurance agent, decided to try his hand in the mortgage industry. After consulting with a colleague, he began to learn about MERS (mortgage electronic registry system) and securitization. Foreclosure was not as prevalent as it is now, but with his new mana’o, he could foresee the devastating effects that these things would have on the housing industry and homeowners. Fueled with a passion to help homeowners in his own state, he brought education and what we know as the forensic mortgage audit to Hawaii through his company Hawaiian Alliance LLC.
For over three years the method of the forensic audit worked. It allowed Hawaiian Alliance clients to stay in their homes and the audit provided them with the leverage they needed to begin to work out settlement agreements with their lenders with the assistance of a referred attorney.
During this time, with the help of Representative Mele Carroll, Kale also began to tirelessly engage the legislature with one goal in mind: provide Hawaii’s homeowners in foreclosure with more options and protection. Today, Kale continues to engage the legislature – to encourage those in elected positions to pass legislation that will help Hawaii’s homeowners.
In the Fall of 2010, after attending a seminar by Dr. Keanu Sai, everything changed. Kale learned that although MERS and securitization are still valid arguments, there is a stronger argument that questions the validity of Hawaiian land titles. How is this possible? Simply put – two executive agreements that are still in existence between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the United States. With this new found knowledge, the decision was made to transition Hawaiian Alliance LLC from a forensic audit based company to Laulima Title Search and Claims LLC, a company that researches land title in Hawaii If the title is found to not be valid, a claim packet is assembled and filed with the title insurance company. It was also decided to retain Dr. Sai, the foremost expert in Hawaiian land titles, as an expert consultant exclusive to Laulima.
Under Hawaii law, Insurance Fraud is considered a Class B Felony if the fraudulent claim is in excess of $20,000.
Under Federal Law, USC TITLE 18, PART 1, CHAPTER 47, § 1033, insurance fraud is punishable by “a fine as established under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both….”
The Laulima Facebook page also lists several foreclosure cases Gumapac and Sai are intervening in. Regarding the 2010-2011 foreclosure case of Hilo resident Tracy Tamanaha, a Hawaii Independence Alliance press release helpfully announces: “Who is involved: ‘Kale Gumapac, President, Laulima Title Search and Claim; Keanu Sai, Ph.D. consultant and expert witness; Keoni Agard and Dexter Kaiama, attorneys for Tamanaha.’”
Gumapac is promoting Sai’s claims with a show on 'Olelo called Kanaka Express and a show on Akaku Ch. 53.
Gumapac and Sai have also given numerous lectures, many cosponsored by supposedly reputable organizations:
Sai expounded on the theories behind his latest scam at a March 7, 2011 lecture sponsored by the Keahou-Kahalu’u Education Group of Kamehameha Schools, Kamehameha Investment Group, and the Kohala Center.
Laulima’s Facebook page displays photos from May 21 meetings in Puna and Panaewa
June 2 meetings were held on Maui at the Waikapu Community Center & Lahaina Civic Center
Lahaina News announces a June 27 lecture at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (Co-sponsored by group which helped victims of Ventura-Oliver)
West Hawaii Today calendar section announces a July 8 lecture at Kahikolu Church
Laulima’s Facebook page advertises a July 12 meeting at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani and adds: “We are also accepting private client appointments for tomorrow :)”
The June 2 meeting report carries this little note:
Two awesome, awesome information sessions on Maui yesterday. A big mahalo to Aunty Patty Nishiyama our Maui Island Coordinator & to Foster & Michele for their hospitality. Thank you everyone for making yesterday a success! Planning the next one for Maui already - stay tuned for details!
Patty Nishiyama was in the news November, 2010 purporting to help victims of the alleged Ventura-Oliver scam. Her associate in that effort, Franciscan Brother Christopher Fishkin of Wailuku, authored a July, 2011 letter to the editor of the Hawai`i Free Press in which he wrote:
This article inaccurately states that Pres. McKinley signed a "Treaty of Annexation". Please present a copy of such "Annexation Treaty", To my knowledge, it doesn't exist.… Please review the soon to be published by UH Press, dissertation of Phd Dr. Keanu Sai, professor at UH and MCC, which is online, in support of this, my above statement.
Now Nishiyama is Laulima’s “Maui Island Coordinator.” Are they recycling victims? Fishkin did not respond to a request for comment.
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