Documents in the federal case against Mike Miske alleging murder and organized crime activities tell the story of how two Honolulu police officers got caught up in what would turn out to be a much bigger case.
Eight years ago, at about 3:35 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2015, Michael Miske Jr., the owner of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, M Nightclub and several lesser-known businesses, was pulled over just a block from his Queen Street office for talking on a cellphone while driving.
The traffic stop, funded by a grant from the federal Department of Transportation as part a national effort to reduce the use of mobile electronic devices by drivers, was staffed by Honolulu police officer Jared Spiker, who had only been on the force for a couple of years.
It should have been a routine traffic citation. Miske was not yet a household name, and his reputation for violence was not widely known. And the citation would have been lost among the 11,651 similar tickets issued during the year for cellphone use.
But Miske’s ego got in the way. The situation escalated when he ignored Spiker’s directive to pull over and instead drove into afternoon traffic before turning right onto Ward Avenue and disappearing from sight.
His refusal to pull over transformed what could have been a minor annoyance into a traffic crime that eventually led to his being arrested in front of his Portlock home on Dec. 4. He was transported to the police department and booked on a criminal charge of failing to obey a police officer’s command. He was quickly released after posting $1,000 bail.
The case languished in court for eight months. Miske’s attorney, Alen Kaneshiro, appeared in court on four separate occasions before a plea deal was negotiated and Miske pleaded “no contest” to the criminal charge, a petty misdemeanor.
In the end, it seemed relatively painless. Miske paid a $200 fine along with a $30 crime victim fee and a $7 driver education assessment, court records show.
Or so it seemed.
But there was more going on behind the scenes.
Officer Jared Spiker was standing alongside his blue and white HPD vehicle in front of 972 Queen St. that afternoon on Nov. 12, 2015, when he saw the driver of a black Cadillac looking down at his cellphone while driving in his direction toward downtown, according to the report Spiker later filed on the incident.
Spiker flagged down the car and was standing next to the passenger window when it pulled up alongside him.
“I then immediately recognized the driver to be Michael Miske Jr.,” according to Spiker’s report. “I told Miske ‘pull over right here,’ pointing to an open stall next to my blue and white vehicle.”
“OK, I can pull over there,” Miske said, but instead drove off past Spiker all the way down toward Queen Street and Ward Avenue, where he made a quick right turn into heavy traffic and disappeared.
Instead of pursuing the Cadillac, Spiker drove the short distance to the office of Miske’s Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control and asked the manager on duty to call Miske and “tell him he needs to come back.”
But the manager returned to tell Spiker that Miske had not been driving the car and was then in Ewa Beach. Spiker left after telling the manager that he would be back to cite Miske.
Meanwhile, Spiker traced the Cadillac’s license plate, and found it was a rental. He was able to track down the person on the rental agreement, who told Spiker that a guy named “Mike” had the car.
Just after 6 p.m. that same afternoon, Spiker received a telephone call from Miske, and told him they needed to meet in order for Spiker to give him a citation.
“Miske then stated, ‘I thought you were just a friend saying hi to me,’” according to Spiker’s report. “Miske continued on, saying, ‘is it really that important that you cite me? Can we talk about it or work something out?’”
Miske then agreed to meet Spiker at the Queen Street office later that evening but called back a few minutes later to cancel, saying he wanted to have his attorney present. He told Spiker he would call the following day “to work it out.”
When Miske failed to call, Spiker and his immediate supervisor on the night shift, Sgt. Albert Lee, went looking for Miske at his M Nightclub in the early morning hours of Nov. 14.
When they explained they were looking for Miske, a club bouncer blocked the doorway.
“I told the bouncer to step aside,” according to Lee’s report on the incident. “He said, ‘No, you have a warrant?’ I explained to him that I was inspecting the place due to flagrant violations of the liquor laws, and I told him to step aside or get arrested.”
The bouncer didn’t move.
“I told one of the officers behind me, ‘Kay, arrest him,’ pointing at the bouncer. The bouncer then said to enter and stepped aside,” according to Lee’s report.
Lee and Spiker again failed to locate Miske, and believed he had left through a back door to avoid them.
Lee proceeded to inspect the club and noted a number of liquor law violations, which he documented in a report to Capt. Benjamin Mahi, who in turn forwarded Lee’s report to the Liquor Commission for follow-up.
In an email transmitting Lee’s report to the Liquor Commission, Mahi said officers on the night shift had been monitoring Miske’s club, which he described as “the Mecca for fights, extremely drunk patrons and an aggressive security staff similar to the ole Waikiki Shack,” Liquor Commission records show.
About 4:30 a.m., just an hour after leaving the club, Spiker received a call from Miske, which he put on speaker phone so Lee could listen in.
“Don’t go throwing your guys weight around,” Miske said, according to Lee’s subsequent account of the call. “I can go to the top of the food chain, You’ll see, Jared Spiker.”
“Don’t you go to my place of business and act the fool,” Miske is quoted as saying. “I swear I’ll have everyone over there put a TRO on you … Don’t even make this a big deal.”
“You better be careful for the threats you made, Spiker,” Miske said. “You are making threats over there, and I’m telling you, don’t do that.”
Miske spoke “in a threatening fashion,” which “appeared to be made to intimidate him and prevent him from checking on Miske’s place of business,” according to Lee’s description.
Lee reported Miske’s allegedly threatening telephone call to the FBI, but it did not become publicly known until 2019, when details surfaced during a separate court case.
It was not clear whether Miske’s mention of the “the top of the food chain” was referring to the top of the Honolulu Police Department or to the office of then-Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, Lee said in a declaration later filed in court.
However, about a day later, Miske telephoned Roger Lau, special assistant to Kaneshiro, according to phone records cited in an FBI affidavit filed in support of a subsequent search warrant. In addition to his position in the prosecutor’s office, Lau was also deputy director of Kaneshiro’s campaign committee, according to Campaign Spending Commission records. The two reportedly spoke for nine minutes.
On Nov. 16, then-Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha, who headed the career criminal division in the prosecutor’s office and was married to Honolulu’s Police Chief Louis Kealoha, also called Lau, although it is unclear whether this was before or after Lau’s conversation with Miske.
One day later, Kealoha sent an email to Spiker saying she just wanted to give Spiker a “heads-up” about a “multi-agency operation going on.”
Later that morning, she telephoned Spiker and told him Miske was “assisting the Prosecutor’s Office with an ongoing investigation.” She suggested Spiker should stop his efforts to locate Miske, and he agreed.
FBI documents show Spiker feared that his career with HPD would be at risk if he failed to follow Katherine Kealoha’s instructions because he knew she was married to the chief.
“The result of Miske’s apparent ability to ‘go to the top of the food chain’ has been cause for concern among multiple HPD officers who fear if they assist the FBI in the investigation of Miske’s criminal activity, their careers will suffer as a result,” according to the FBI agent’s affidavit that detailed the Miske’s threats.
The agent then reported he had followed up to determine whether there really was some sort of inter-agency operation, as Katherine Kealoha claimed.
“Following Kealoha’s instructions to Spiker, your affiant asked multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies whether there was an active ‘multi-agency’ operation in which Miske was providing support. All responses were negative.”
“Thus, it appeared Kealoha intervened on Miske’s behalf out of friendship or obligation to Miske rather than in support of some ongoing operation,” the agent concluded.
It turned out the fear of retaliation was not unfounded.
Coming Tuesday: An Officer Gets Caught In The Crossfire
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