Another victory for Ewa Beach homeowners
Another win for Ewa Beach homeowners, in their battle against developer Haseko. This time a judge awards a $20 million verdict in their favor.
Another win for Ewa Beach homeowners against developer Haseko.
This isn't the first time they've received a multi-million dollar verdict, but they hope it will be the last.
Site construction is underway in Ewa Beach for Haseko's retail village that will go up around its centerpiece water feature: a recreational lagoon.
But that water attraction was sold to home buyers as a marina during more than a decade of sales.
"A lot of people were traumatized and misled into buying a certain product. It was the centerpiece of the sales that were made to different buyers," said Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.
After Haseko decided to switch from building a more costly marina, with ocean access, to a cheaper closed off lagoon homeowners sued.
"We are certainly relived the judge decided in the homeowners favor. It has been a long time coming, but sometimes it takes a long time to get justice," said Ewa Beach resident Matt LoPresti, one of the homeowners involved in the lawsuit.
Homeowners won a $27 million settlement in 2015, but that verdict was overturned.
This week a Circuit court judge ruled the developer now has to pay approximately 3,000 homeowners $20 million for using unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Tom Sagawa, the president of Haseko, said he was disappointed with the ruling and issued a statement which said:
"We still believe it was the right decision to change development plans from a marina to a recreational lagoon, based on the fact that it could be completed much sooner and would be of greater benefit to the broader community."
A number of Ewa Beach residents feel the verdict is an important one, not just for homeowners but also developers.
"This is a great day for people in Hawaii, and sends a very strong message to very wealthy developers from other countries that you can't take advantage of local people," stated Pine.
"This kind of lawsuit sends a clear message to developers that they can't take advantage of the people who are buying their homes. They can't sell one thing and do another," stated LoPresti.
Sagawa plans to appeal the latest verdict.
In the meantime, vertical construction of Haseko's planned $300 million development project will start later this year.
It will feature retail, restaurant and entertainment space designed to reflect the area's plantation history, all built around the 52-acre man-made lagoon.
Instead of focusing on that development, Lopresti is looking at the future of other development projects in the state, following the verdict in homeowner's favor.
"This is about justice for all consumers. This is going to set state wide precedence. This isn't just about Ewa Beach residents, this is about every home and condo owner now and into the future," added LoPresti.