Financial disclosures filed this week, other state and federal reports and records in Hawaii and out of state show the top Democratic candidates bring in significant amounts of cash through private business entities.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green has a business through which he contracts his services as an emergency room physician.

U.S. Rep Kai Kahele receives income for his work as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot and the Hawaii National Guard and receives an income from real estate properties he owns in Tennessee.

Businesswoman Vicky Cayetano started United Laundry Service and still maintains an ownership interest in the business’ parent company, although she has stopped collecting a regular paycheck as president of the laundry service.

All candidates were required by state law to disclose their sources of income this week in financial disclosure reports. The candidates appear to be complying with campaign and state financial disclosure laws by reporting their business interests and the income from them on the required reports. The law does not require the candidates to disclose a list of clients and contracts for their side jobs.

Kai Kahele and Vicky Cayetano call a joint press conference asking questions about LG Josh Green.
Kai Kahele and Vicky Cayetano held a joint press conference last week to attack Josh Green for his outside business interests and the media for not reporting on them. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

But Kahele and Cayetano have recently been teaming up to call attention to Green’s outside employment and on Wednesday held an unprecedented joint press conference calling out Green for his outside sources of income and criticizing the press for failing to investigate Green’s income sources.

Civil Beat reviewed available records for all three of the candidates and requested interviews with all three candidates to further discuss their business interests.

Green and Cayetano talked with Civil Beat for this story, although they declined to answer some specific questions about the amount of money their companies bring in and from what sources.

Kahele refused to talk to Civil Beat for this story despite calling out Civil Beat reporters by name in recent campaign appearances for not doing a story on Green’s outside employment. Kahele also has been critical on social media and in other forums of Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporters who he thinks have also ignored the story.

Here’s what we found:

Josh Green

Green has so far refused to release a full list of his clients but did explain to Civil Beat how money flows from his contracts through his company, Green Health International, through which he reported earning between $100,000 to $150,000 last year.

His income outside government has actually dropped since he became lieutenant governor.

At his peak in 2013 and 2014, Green earned between $260,000 and $425,000 from two jobs for his work in health care as well as some income from rent. That was in addition to his pay as a state senator, where he spent several years as chairman of the Senate Health Committee helping to direct health policy in Hawaii.

Green has held elected office since 2004, but financial disclosures are not available online because the state Ethics Commission says it destroys those documents after a six-year retention period.

In the most recent filing this year, Green reported earning between $100,000 and $150,000 from Green Health International.

Green created Green Health International in 2016. The company’s registered agent is Jeffrey Schmidt, who salary records show was a former state insurance commissioner who Green hired as a senior adviser for the lieutenant governor’s office.

Green first reported income in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 from his company in 2018. In 2019, that reported income went up to between $150,000 and $250,000.

That came from contracts with, at first, the Robert Watkins Emergency Group and later the Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated. Both entities had a contract to provide emergency room physicians for the Kohala Hospital on the Big Island, where Green works.

Since becoming lieutenant governor, Green’s outside income has mostly come from work as an emergency room physician. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Green’s financial disclosures going back to 2014 show that he earned between $100,000 and $150,000 for his hospital work. At times, those reported earnings rose into the $150,000 to $250,000 range. The state requires only a range of income to be reported, not exact figures.

Green has listed both the Kohala Hospital and the Watkins group at various times on his financial disclosures. His contract with Watkins ended in 2021 when the group’s contract to provide doctors to Kohala ended. That’s when Green came under contract with HEPA, which also provides physician coverage at 12 hospitals across the state.

In 2018 and 2019, Green also did consulting work for a Hawaii medical group and provided clinical support for a hospice care team. His campaign declined to release the names of those entities.

Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the only income for Green Health International has come from emergency room work at the Kohala Hospital, according to Green.

“It was simply a penny-to-penny pass through,” Green said of his income from Green Health International.

Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, Green also worked as the medical director at the Hawaii Independent Physicians Association.

In 2013 and 2014, Green reported earning between $100,000 and $150,000 as medical director. Between 2015 and 2018, his reported pay was in the range of $150,000 and $250,000.

He also reported earning between $10,000 and $25,000 renting office space to a Maryland based medical lab Alere Inc. in 2013 and 2014.

Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows that Green received $4,550 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Green said those were actually donations to his campaign.

The data also shows that in 2021, the pharmaceutical company Zimmer Biomet paid about $2,200 for food, beverage, travel and lodging for Green.

In June, the lieutenant governor registered a nonprofit organization with the state called Josh Green for Hawaii. His campaign said that the entity was created to pay state taxes on merchandise sold by his campaign.

In 2017, Green was the president of the Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui, a nonprofit that provides hygiene products, social services and temporary shelter for homeless individuals.

The nonprofit reported that Green did not earn any income from his role as president, and he left the organization when he became lieutenant governor. When it started, H4, as the nonprofit is also called, reported revenues of about $216,000 from contributions. The nonprofit now reports total revenues of over $2.1 million.

Green also previously sat on the board of the Sex Assault Treatment Center.

Green also reported earning between $1 and $1,000 for sitting on a physician advisory panel of the Hawaii Medical Services Association in 2017.

Green has been criticized for taking a greater number of out of state donations compared to the other two candidates. State law requires donations from outside the state to comprise less than 30% of all donations received.

Of the $3.1 million his campaign raised since 2020, about $879,000, or 28%, came from out of state. About 9% of Cayetano’s donations came from out of state, while Kahele has not received any out of state money.

The state Campaign Spending Commission fined Green’s campaign $1,000 in 2019 for misreporting addresses for out of state donors.

Kai Kahele

Kahele is a Hawaiian Airlines pilot and member of the Hawaii Air National Guard, in addition to representing Hawaii in Congress. He also owns several rental properties in Tennessee where he used to live before moving back home to Hawaii.

In April, when Civil Beat reported that Kahele was still flying for Hawaiian Airlines while staying in Hawaii and voting by proxy rather then traveling to Washington, D.C., questions were raised by the national press about whether he violated House ethics rules that state members of Congress are not allowed to earn more than $29,895 from an outside employer while serving in office.

Kai Kahele announces running for Hawaii Governor at Hilo Boys and Girls Club gymnasium with foreground cameras and video equipment.
Kahele reported earnings from Hawaiian Airlines and the Hawaii Air National Guard in the last year. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

There were also concerns that Kahele was pushing legislation that benefited his employer and his union — the Air Line Pilots Association — which had carved out a special deal in its contract to allow Kahele to work part time while serving in Congress.

At the time, Kahele refused to talk to Civil Beat about his work for Hawaiian Airlines or how much he was being paid. The only publicly available information was his financial disclosure statement filed with the House Clerk’s Office in August 2021 that showed he received a salary of nearly $120,000 in 2020, but because he was not yet elected he was not subject to the earned income limits for members of Congress.

Kahele later clarified that he was working part time for Hawaiian Airlines, and had earned $29,151.79 from the company in 2021 and $2,861.90 in 2022.

As a state senator, Kahele was not subject to the same income limits as those imposed on federal legislators.

When he was appointed in 2016 to finish out the term of his late father, Gil Kahele, who died in office, Kahele reported to the state ethics commission that he earned between $100,000 and $150,000 as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot and between $10,000 and $25,000 flying part time for the National Guard.

Kahele’s Hawaiian Airlines income increased in subsequent years. In 2019, for instance, he reported a salary range of $150,000 to $250,000 for Hawaiian Airlines while also earning more than $62,000 a year as a state legislator.

Kahele owns several rental properties around Memphis, Tennessee, where he used to live with his ex-wife. County records show that Kahele started buying the homes in 2007, the same year the housing bubble burst, sending the country and eventually the global economy into a financial tailspin.

Many of the transactions occurred under his own name or that of his company, Koa Investments LLC, which is no longer active, according to business records held by the Tennessee Secretary of State.

The records show that Kahele and his company have been involved in transactions concerning at least 15 different properties between 2005 and 2020. His father also bought a house in Memphis from one of Kahele’s business partners, Tyson Lee.

Hawaii business records show Kahele, Lee and another man, Kelii Bandmann, once owned a real estate company together called Hawaii Property Solutions, which is no longer in good standing with the state and has since been terminated.

Kahele’s state and federal financial disclosures list anywhere from four to seven of his rental properties depending on the year. In his 2021 federal disclosure, which was filed in May, Kahele reported that he had four rentals with each one generating income between $5,001 and $15,000. His July gubernatorial disclosure, however, lists five Tennessee properties, but does not report that he earned any income from the homes.

Court records show that between 2009 and 2015 Kahele filed nearly a dozen legal actions against more than two dozen of his tenants seeking to evict them from his properties. The court records also show that he himself was the plaintiff in each of the cases.

The Campaign Spending Commission also has fined Kahele’s campaign in the past — $100 for the late filing of a report in 2016.

Vicky Cayetano

Cayetano’s financial disclosures and related business and nonprofit filings show her connections to some of Hawaii’s largest businesses and biggest industries, particularly those in tourism and finance.

Cayetano reported earning between $250,000 and $500,000 as president of United Laundry Service, a commercial laundry company started in 1988 by Cayetano and owners of Waikiki hotels and Hawaii hospitals.

Hotel and health care interests continued their involvement through the early 2000s. A business filing from 2001 lists executives from Kyo-ya, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kuakini Hospital, Wahiawa General Hospital and St. Francis as officers and directors.

Cayetano’s laundry business had connections to the health care and hotel industries. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Before United Laundry Service merged with a mainland private equity firm around 2015, the company’s officers included David Okabe, at the time vice president of Hawaii Pacific Health; Jerry Correa, president and CEO of the St. Francis Health System; and Victor Kimura, a vice president at Kyo-ya, which owns several Sheraton hotels in the state.

United Laundry is now owned by Alvarez & Marsel Capital Partners. It does business as PureStar.

Cayetano stepped down as president of United Laundry in February to focus on the campaign.

Cayetano now works as a senior adviser for the business, a role for which she reported earning between $10,000 and $25,000. She also reported owning interest in AMCP Clean Parent Co. That interest is valued between $25,000 and $50,000.

In an interview Friday, Cayetano said she’s only had a handful of conversations with United Laundry’s new president about the business. Otherwise, she said she has stayed out of operations and business decisions.

She said she needs to get permission from PureStar President Brian Herington to disclose the number of shares she holds in the company, a list of United Laundry’s recent clients and whether any hotels or hospitals still hold interest in the company.

A campaign spokeswoman later said that Cayetano has not received any dividends after she sold her shares in the company, and the hoteliers and hospital executives who previously owned shares in United Laundry no longer do.

Cayetano’s business connections extend beyond hotels, hospitals and laundromats.

Cayetano is also listed as a director for the local investment firm Tradewind Capital Group. She reported earning between $10,000 and $25,000 in that role. Cayetano said board members were offered stock options to purchase but she declined.

Tradewind Capital has real estate investments in commercial warehouses in Mililani Tech Park as well as condos like 801 South Street and new developments Azure Ala Moana, Sky Ala Moana and the Honolulu Mandarin Oriental.

It also has a variety of investments in private businesses including Pyramid Insurance, Landmark Logistics, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Tradewind Capital also acquired the printing press that prints the paper and other publications in 2019.

Cayetano ran a handbag company between 2009 and 2012.

Some of her investments have literally paid off for her campaign for governor. Cayetano lists sales of stocks valued between $10,000 to $50,000 from more than 100 companies. She said she liquidated a portion of her retirement portfolio to raise campaign funds. The former first lady has loaned her campaign $1.5 million as of June 30.

Cayetano is also listed as a member of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, a private group of business executives concerned with economic development.

Some of its members include Bank of Hawaii CEO Peter Ho, Hawaiian Electric CEO Scott Seu, HMSA CEO Mark Mugiishi, developer Bert A. Kobayashi, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram and about 50 other executives listed on the roundtable’s business filing.

Cayetano and other members of the roundtable don’t earn income for their roles on the board, according to the organization’s tax filings.

The roundtable has weighed in on controversial decisions in Hawaii, including the debate over civil unions and the acquisition of Hawaiian Electric by NextEra. In 2020, the roundtable gave the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization a $65,000 grant for economic research. It also gave a $25,000 grant to the Makaukau Campaign for visitor education programs ahead of tourism’s return to the islands.

Cayetano also sits on the board of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra alongside ABC Stores CEO Paul Kosasa and her sister, Ginny Tiu. The Legislature awarded the orchestra $150,000 this year for music education programs at Moanalua High School. HSO reported more than $5.2 million in revenue in 2019.

Cayetano also ran a nonprofit herself alongside husband and former Gov. Ben Cayetano.

The couple created the Cayetano Foundation in 1999 to provide scholarships to Hawaii youth. A newspaper article from 2000 reported that the foundation raised $300,000 from a charity golf tournament and money left over from Ben Cayetano’s inauguration.

The Cayetanos dissolved the nonprofit in 2004 and rolled it into the Hawaii Community Foundation, which now oversees all of its funds.

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