Illegal wedding business pays just 5% of fines after shutdown

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A home along Kalanianaole highway has been a place where many have celebrated special events.

But it was also a problem for neighbors and users of a nearby park.

“The companies that bring tents would park their tent trucks here and the valet would park their trucks here and now it’s a lot better that they’re not doing their business,” Niu Valley resident David Yee said.

After receiving complaints by neighbors, the city department of planning and permitting found that they had been operating an illegal business in a residential area.

Now, the Kathy Ireland wedding destinations website, is not accepting new reservations.

“Its better now for us park users, surfers, fishermen, kids that go and picnic here and families,” Yee said.

In November 2011, the property owner was given a notice of violation.

Since they didn’t comply, a $250 fine was given every day they kept operating 435 days later that fine totaled about $109,000.

After appealing the violation, attorneys from both sides negotiated a settlement of $5,687.

KHON2 asked, “if the fine total is over $100,000 why are they are only being told to pay over $5,000?”

“Each case is different because the circumstances differ because as I said our purpose is to get compliance. In this particular case $5,000 seemed small relative to the $100,000 fine but at least we’re getting $5,000,” Department of Planning and Permitting director George Atta said.

Atta says in past cases they have litigated, and though they’ve won, the cost of attorney fees outweighed any financial gains.

By avoiding litigation, he says the city saves taxpayer money.

“How much the fine is or how much they negotiated really isn’t our kuleana our kuleana is trying to get this business to cease doing business in a residential area. It doesn’t bother me how much they’re paying” Kuliouou-Kalani Iki neighborhood board vice-chair Edward Schell said.

“There are a number of statutes that go violated consistently because there just are no resources for enforcement and that’s been an issue for many years now that’s definitely something that could be stepped up,” Honolulu Councilmember Stanley Chang said.

KHON2 contacted the property and was told the city asked them to stop booking events so they complied saying ” we want to be good neighbors.”

They said the homeowner will now live on the property.

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