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John Hill is investigations editor at Honolulu Civil Beat. He meandered back and forth across the U.S. for two-plus decades as a newspaper reporter — with stops in Northern California, New York City, New Orleans, Albuquerque and back to Northern California — before abandoning the mainland altogether to come to Civil Beat in July 2016.
In 2005, he won the George Polk Award for documenting abuses of the California pension and disability systems, most notably by the top brass of the California Highway Patrol. In New Orleans, he was part of a team of reporters that did a year-long series on race relations honored for public service by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Headliner Awards.
In 2009, John left journalism to work for a California Senate office that investigated shortcomings in state government. His reports focused on the state’s failure to prevent elder abuse and monitor deaths in residential drug treatment programs, among other topics, and led to legislation and administrative reforms.
In 2014, the Senate eliminated his office and he worked for a year-and-a-half as press secretary for the California State Controller.
John recognizes that the best investigations start with tips, and encourages Civil Beat readers to contact him with stories of skullduggery, malfeasance and garden-variety ineptitude.
During a recent wave of lawsuits against Hawaii schools, Civil Beat and other media outlets had to decide whether to name accusers and their alleged victimizers.
Civil Beat tried to pursue stories about workers in unsafe conditions or denied workers’ compensation claims, but the state labor department says it’s too busy to answer questions.
Hawaii, like many states, has called off in-person visits because of the coronavirus pandemic, though some think the ban goes too far.
The Christian referral service said it didn’t know Marshallese women were flying to the U.S. for adoptions, but the materials it sent to adoptive parents on behalf of attorney Laurie Loomis made it clear.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel said a Civil Beat story triggered the investigation into attorney Laurie Loomis.
Laurie Loomis’ operation, including flying women from the Marshall Islands for adoptions, resembles that of a recently indicted Arizona lawyer, but thus far she has faced no consequences.
After the charging of a prominent Arizona adoption attorney in three states for multiple offenses, authorities say more actions are coming.
Paul Petersen, an Arizona attorney who was the focus of a Honolulu Civil Beat investigation, is the target of a multi-state investigation.
Maki Takehisa, identified as a fixer in a Civil Beat investigation last year, worked with an Arizona attorney to arrange black market adoptions.
Why did Sand Island Treatment Center report much higher salaries in its tax returns than in bids for state contracts? The rehab won’t say.