The House That Never Gets Built

Many people, and especially those engaged in some kind of business, bemoan government regulation. I’m not in business but I tend to agree that sometimes government goes overboard with regulation.

Much of my unhappiness over the years has been with building-permit regulation. There’s either too little of it — too few inspectors for too much construction — or there’s too much of it — gigging ordinary home dwellers for manini things such as fixing a driveway without a driveway-fixing permit.

Then there’s regulation that’s there to help one side — allowing extra time for a house construction project because a new owner takes over the permit — while hurting someone else — making residents adjacent to that longer construction period suffer endless noise.

I’m such a case. And in contention is what we call the”Yoon House” on Kulamanu Street.  Blake Yoon, who inherited it from a grandmother, seems to have given it up at his bank’s insistence and the man who tells us he’s the new owner, David Cadiz, is now a-building. The property has been in full construction mode for 5 years. And oddly, a real estate agent tells me there’s still no new deed on title recorded showing Cadiz as owner. There is evidence of Cadiz borrowing a large amount of money. We neighbors have some suspicions there’s still a Yoon connection with Cadiz to bring this project to sale. But that’s a mere sidelight of the main story.

Those years began with months of bulldozing and scraping away underlying lava rock to make way for a pool, and then years of 3-4-man construction teams working for Yoon and architect Jim Matichuk.

Maybe you remember the publicity about that project. Yoon was going to auction the house, staring at $2.3 million and hoping to get $7 million for a home on a 10,000 foot away-from-the-ocean property with other houses right along both sides, the road in front, another house in back. He told state lawmakers he was going to give a donation to his own Hawaii’s Forgotten Families Foundation. Several attended his lavish party at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

But there was some doubt in the neighborhood. The LA Times reported that Yoon had spent 6 years in prison and bargained away charges of robbery, assault, counterfeiting and murder in return for testimony against a mob.

Then there were his previous bankruptcies, and sure enough he went bankrupt again on the Kulamanu Street project on which he owed the bank $1 million. He was in the Philippines, where he supposedly owned a factory making furniture and mother of pearl objects.

Blake Yoon

That new owner took over, but there were serious building code violations to fix and no septic tank had been installed as required. The whole second floor of the front part of the structure had to come down and be rebuilt. The new owner brought in a tiny construction team and the pounding, grinding and drilling went on and on. It still goes on and we’ll soon be in Construction Year #6.

Meanwhile, a real estate agent says the new owner’s goal is to reap $8 million from this unspecial property. The house is unfinished. There was a theft of equipment.

Through the past 5 years, we’ve either use personal noise constrictors or just suffer the decibels.

It’s a prime example of regulation gone awry.

We could do away with regulation, but then projects like this might go on for 10 years rather than just 6.

We’ve heard one of the builders on the phone talking about flaws in the new structure that will need fixing. Oh, no! More noise?

Have you got a story like this?

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Vietnam War, Iraq #1 in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. Married to Denby Fawcett, one daughter. Brett Jones.

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