Pflueger dam trial advances - News

Pflueger dam trial advances - News

There are 30 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Apr 23, 2009, titled Pflueger dam trial advances - News. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

LIHUE >> Ka Loko Dam owner James Pflueger told a man responsible for maintenance of the dam "to mind your own business" when advised that covering an emergency spillway could be dangerous, according to grand jury testimony read in court yesterday.

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Wailuku, HI

#1 Apr 23, 2009
The details emerge ... the spillway was filled in as Pfleuger bulldozed material into it to allow the reservoir to fill to the shoreline, to the brim. His goal was to create "lakefront" home sites to sell for huge profits. Without his filling in the spillway, there would have remained a drop from the reservoir's shoreline to the water surface because the spillway was designed to release water before it could reach the brim and flow over the dam, eroding it as it cascaded down its face. Pflueger's actions were criminally negligent and resulted in the deaths of innocent people. Here's hoping that justice will be done and he will again be found guilty.

Plymouth, MI

#3 Apr 23, 2009
"Hitch admitted he was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the dam and the spillway"

Sounds like the wrong guy is on trial. Even if Pflueger filled in the spillway Hitch admited it was HIS responsibility to ensure the dam was safe.
Big John-Hawaii Kai

United States

#4 Apr 23, 2009
willie wrote:
"Hitch admitted he was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the dam and the spillway"
Sounds like the wrong guy is on trial. Even if Pflueger filled in the spillway Hitch admited it was HIS responsibility to ensure the dam was safe.
No Hitch admitted that he was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the dam, not the safety of the dam. As he was told by Pflueger, "Mind your own business. It's my dam and I'll do what I want."
Where I fault Mr. Hitch is the fact that when he discovered that Pflueger was blocking the spillway, he should have reported it to the State, for investigation.

Waipahu, HI

#5 Apr 23, 2009
Bennet's dogged pursuit of prosecution in this case seems to indicate the State's rush to pin the blame totally on Mr. Pfleuger and deflect the State's own negligence in not inspecting all the dams in Hawaii to ensure their safety. While a degree of responsibility for the dam's safety rests with the dam owner, a greater responsibility to insure periodic safety inspections of all dams
rests with the damn State.

Kapaa, HI

#6 Apr 23, 2009
Hey Pflueger, see ya in jail.

Wahiawa, HI

#7 Apr 23, 2009
The rich guy must be guilty. Take all his assets and whatever business he owns and distribute it to the poor , like myself.

we are becoming a socialist society.

“Common sense - common man”

Since: Oct 08

Honokaa, HI

#8 Apr 23, 2009
I think I would be very careful about reaching a verdict early in this matter. After reading about this case extensively for a long time now, I think we should withhold any judgment until we find out how the State and County officials behaved. It is possible that this trial will show us that appointed officials with authority and means were too lazy and self-interested to deserve the public trust.

Get a clue

Kaneohe, HI

#9 Apr 23, 2009
It sounds pretty simple to me.

Pfleuger owned the Dam and he filled in the spillway telling Hitch to mind his own business.

80% Pfleuger
10% Hitch for not reporting it
10% State for not properly examining dam

Lihue, HI

#10 Apr 23, 2009
victims?!!! building and living in illegal structures and then crying when you get washed away is nonsense...the state should just breach all the dams in a safe manner and let the landowners (who know about the dams and so are therfore responsible for upkeep and maintenance)foot the bill. enough already about poor jimmy, hes a greedy land mongering luna that finally got caught with his pants down after a life time of shibai....bachi baby!

Honolulu, HI

#11 Apr 23, 2009
why is everyone picking on him he seems like a simple blue jeans kind of guy
George Dubya

Dallas, TX

#12 Apr 23, 2009
Hitch was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the dam and the spillway. No proper maintenance or upkeep meant that danger could ensue. No matter what Pfleuger alledgedly said, it was Hitch's job to do something about it.

50% Hitch. 50% Pfleuger.

United States

#13 Apr 23, 2009
Interesting how two of the key factors in the Ka Loko dam tragedies are pointing fingers at each other. Remember when you point, three fingers point back at you.

Berkeley, CA

#14 Apr 23, 2009
"It's my reservoir and I'll do what I want." What an arrogant total disregard for human life! Pflueger's attitude is so typical of the old sense of colonial entitlement. This only serves to fuel racial resentment, particularly when emotions are on edge in a bad economy. Seven manslaughter charges equals MURDER!!!!!!!
Manapua Belly


#15 Apr 23, 2009
Got a "Get out of jail" card, James????????

Since: Nov 08


#16 Apr 23, 2009
Sickofit wrote in a previous thread:

"Pflueger's guilt is not a function of his wealth or his enviable household help.

The questions that need to be answered are:

Whether Pflueger, or people acting under his authority, filled in or otherwise adversely affected the spillway's structure, function, or course.

Whether the spillway did actually fail, causing seven deaths.

If the answer to the above questions are yes, then Pflueger is responsible for the deaths that occurred.

If Pflueger, or his agents, did not commit any acts, and did not fail to do anything that Pflueger was legally required to do, then Pflueger is off the hook.

If Pflueger, or his agents, did not do anything to the spillway, then the inquiry has to focus on the state and or county obligations to inspect, report, and/or compel a landowner to repair a hazardous situation."

I wonder if Mayor Kusaka, who may have prevented corrective actions, may share blame for the deaths?

Her actions, after having knowledge of the violations, may have contributed to this tragedy.

Don't blame for the state for failing to catch you violating the law.

Did a burgular come and steal the spillway off of the dam?

No. Somehow the spillway was compromised.

If spillway failed, then you are responsible.

However, I don't think JP will spend a day in jail though.

When you are rich, there seems to be a different set of rules. As one of the largest auto dealers, and landowners in Hawaii, he knows more politicians, and have more connections than the avg person.

His lawywer will drag this on, and appeal any neg outcome to the bitter end.

I still feel badly for the families who lost their loved ones.

Honolulu, HI

#17 Apr 23, 2009
Pflueger filled in the spillway... If that isn't enough said. There WERE complaints filled because of his illegal grading violations and what does he do? He bribes the mayor $9,000 to get rid of them. And in terms of negligence, Pflueger made a calculated thought-out plan that inevitably caused the death of seven people, that seems a bit more than just negligence.

Honolulu, HI

#18 Apr 23, 2009
Hitch did his responsibility to his boss, Pflueger, he told him it wasn't a good idea. Did he fulfil his responsibility to the rest of us? I think that part will come out.

The issue did around that time come to the attention of at least the county people, and likely the state. Info from Hitch? Or Hitch to someone who would get it to the agencies?

I am most curious to see how many state and county agencies get pulled into this one......and how many held their hands out and violated a sparsely regulated issue.

Murderer and accomplice to murder ? But who is the murderer? The one who made the change or the one who allowed it to stand.

Pflueger is well summed up in the phrase: It is my Reservoir (land) and I'll do what I want ! "
This attitude has cost him and innocent bystanders before... including what once was a very pristine reef. Certainly a hard headed man...good or bad as that may be.

The raising of the water level was likely because of the unsightly dirt ring around the water incurred in most Reservoirs. Not something conducive to keeping the millions of dollars per lot price tag he wanted in this development.

The tragic question I have, was this at the advice of his Realtor?

There is a lot of culpability in many places on this one.

Montgomery, TX

#19 Apr 23, 2009
And the snake oil salesman goes on trial....
Purple Haze

Washington, DC

#20 Apr 23, 2009
Don't put him in jail or pay fines...just make him refill the whole dam with a shovel and wheelbarrow 10 hours a day. Should take him about 75 years to that!
An Observer

Keaau, HI

#21 Apr 23, 2009
Oh my gosh!!!
I think I bought a used car from him.

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