Editor’s note: This article was originally published on iLind, Ian Lind’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.
A federal judge has issued an order directing the sale of the 90-foot longline fishing vessel “Rachel,” a lesser known asset owned by Michael J. Miske Jr., the accused leader of a criminal gang now facing federal criminal charges ranging from kidnapping and murder for hire to bank fraud.
Miske, best known as the owner and operator of the highly visible Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control Inc., and as former manager and part owner of the popular M Nightclub in Honolulu’s Restaurant Row, owned Rachel through another of his companies, Kamaaina Holdings LLC, which appears to have been formed a decade ago specifically to hold title to the ship.
The sale is the result of an agreement between federal prosecutors, Miske, and Delia-Anne Fabro, identified as the authorized representative of Kamaaina Holdings LLC.
Fabro was married to Miske’s late son, Caleb, who died in March 2016 following a critical automobile accident several months earlier. Miske ostensibly transferred control of Kamaaina Holdings and most of his other companies to Fabro several years ago as the criminal investigation targeting him intensified, but the government alleges Miske remained de facto owner of the companies, which prosecutors say were used as part of his overall criminal racketeering conspiracy.
According to the order, approved on Feb. 11, 2021 by Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield:
The Government, Kama’aina Holdings LLC, and Defendant Miske agree, and the Court finds, that the value of the Subject Vessel will diminish over time as a result of deterioration inherent in its non-use and the accumulation of storage fees and other ongoing expenses disproportionate to its fair market value. This case is not scheduled for trial until September 13, 2021. A third party has made a cash offer of $700,000.00 for the Subject Vessel. The Government, Kama’aina Holdings LLC, and Defendant Miske agree that the offer is consistent with market value and should be accepted, and the Subject Vessel sold at this time.
The buyer is not identified in the court’s order or the original application by prosecutors. The order simply states that the identity of the buyer is known to the parties.
The amount paid by the buyer will not go to Miske. The order specifies net proceeds from the sale are to be deposited to and retained in the Department of Justice Seized Asset Deposit Fund after deducting the balance of several thousand dollars due to the state for harbor mooring fees, a $14,000 “finders fee” to the ship’s former captain for identifying the buyer, and a final $944.67 owed to him by Kamaaina Holdings for services as captain. If Miske is convicted, the funds will then be forfeited to the government.
Prior to the indictment and Miske’s arrest, Kamaaina Holdings was a member of the Hawaii Longline Association, an industry group representing those involved in longline fishing, according to a listing of association members submitted to the State Ethics Commission as part of a disclosure of expenditures for the purpose of lobbying.
The vessel Rachel has been subject of a sealed restraining order since July 2020 that has prohibited it from leaving Honolulu Harbor, where it has been moored at Pier 12 along Nimitz Highway near the intersection with Nuuanu Avenue. Details of the sealed order had been confidential, and only became known publicly when prosecutors described its terms in their application for an order directing the sale of the ship.
Court records show the sealed restraining order was approved on July 13, 2020, two days before federal agents spread out across Oahu and, in a series of raids, arrested Miske and most of his co-defendants, shuttered his businesses, and seized business records and other evidence, and has been in effect since then. The order identified the ship as subject to forfeiture because it was allegedly purchased with proceeds “obtained directly or indirectly from racketeering activity,” according to the latest court order approving the sale.
In addition to the ship itself, the government reportedly also took control of Rachel’s Hawaii longline limited entry permit, which allows the use of longline gear to fish for open ocean species within the exclusive economic zone around Hawaii, as well as in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and some other parts of the Pacific, and to land or transship longline catch in Hawaii or within the EEZ around Hawaii. Although transferable, the government considers the permit an asset subject to potential forfeiture.
The court order does not indicate whether the sale of the Rachel includes its Hawaii limited entry permit.
The Rachel was built in 1997 by Rodriguez Boat Builders Inc. in Coden, Alabama, and registered in the Port of Seattle. At 90 feet in length, the steel-hulled ship is 60 net tons, and carries a crew of seven.
In December 2010, Kamaaina Holdings LLC bought the ship from Pelagic Fisheries Inc., a company registered in the State of Washington, and one of its principals, Clint Funderburg, a prominent Oregon fisherman. The purchase price was not reported.
Kamaaina Holdings LLC filed its Articles of Organization and registered with the state’s Business Registration Division on Dec. 7, 2010, six days after the date of the bill of sale documenting the transfer of ownership of the vessel to Kamaaina Holdings, according to records from the National Vessel Documentation Center. The company initially listed a single controlling member – Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, which was in turn wholly controlled by Miske.
In January 2011, just a month after registering Kamaaina Holdings with the State of Hawaii, Miske submitted paperwork adding Clint Funderburg as the second member of the company. Funderburg was listed as a member the company until August 2014, state records show.
There have been rumors that the ocean-going Rachel, which regularly fished the Pacific from the west coast of the U.S. and Mexico to Guam and the Northern Marianas, with stops in Hawaii, could have been used by Miske’s criminal group to move illegal drugs to and from Hawaii. However, none of the drug-related charges in the 22-count indictment of Miske and 10 co-defendants has yet included any reference to use of the ship.
In August 2014, Miske was one of three members who registered a new company, Laura Ann Fisheries LLC, to take possession of and operate another tuna longliner, the F/V Laura Ann. The company was initially registered using the same Queen Street address as Kamaaina Termite, Kamaaina Holdings, and other Miske-controlled companies. The company initially was organized by Jon Dahl, Mike Miske and Jill Perry.
The following year, Miske was dropped from the list of LLC members, and the company’s business address was moved to Perry’s residence in Kuliouou.
Dahl and Perry had gone into business together a decade before. State business records show the two were among the members of Transpac Freight LLC, which registered to do business in March 2003. The business was short-lived, and it was administratively terminated in December 2006. Perry is the wife of Bruce Perry, a former stevedore who faced a high profile trial on assault charges in the 1990s stemming from the beating of a co-worker while working on the Matson docks.
Dahl and Miske also knew each other. Dahl is the owner of Hawaii Film Trucks & Equipment LLC, which provides transportation and equipment rentals for films being made in Hawaii, while Miske was reportedly a Teamster driver during movie productions. In 2009, Miske and Dahl teamed up to register another new company, Kamaaina Rolloffs LLC, also using the address of the Kamaaina Termite office. There is no indication the company every actually did any business, and it was terminated in 2012, state business records show.
In May 2011, Miske’s Kamaaina Termite made a $550,000 mortgage loan to Dahl for purchase of a home in Hawaii Kai, according to mortgage documents filed with the Bureau of Conveyances. The loan was apparently repaid in a matter of months, and a release from the debt was filed in October 2011.
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