WAIKIKI (KHNL) - It's been forty years since the debut of Hawaii Five-O. In September 1968, the world first saw the Ilikai in that famous opening shot of Jack Lord.
That shot of Jack Lord up on the penthouse balcony at the Ilikai is what launched the hotel condominium into fame. But many say the new owner has ruined its reputation from fame to misfortune.
"Currently we're just hanging on in there hoping that things will get better. It's been really devastating for us, a lot of us" said a long-time hotel employee who wishes to remain anonymous.
She says they've lost more than half of the staff at the world famous Ilikai. "It's really hard for us because to see the people that we've worked with for so long to see them leave it just breaks our hearts," she said.
Residents say the once-thriving iconic luxury hotel is now a ghost own. One of the Ilikai's big draws, Canoes restaurant is now closed. Most of the stores are gone and a medical clinic also closed recently.
"To me, that's a glaring example of what's happened since Anekona and Brian Anderson have taken over the hotel," said condo owner Bob Romo.
Bob Romo says condo owners at the Ilikai plan to sue developer Brian Anderson. He says Anderson has not been paying his maintenance fees, forcing the association to tap into reserves.
"He hasn't been paying for his electric bill, we've been paying for his electricity. That totals $850,000 that he owes the Homeowners Association," said Romo.
Romo says the lawsuit accuses Anderson of conflict of interest. "At least five of the nine members are either relatives of Brian Anderson or direct employees," said Romo.
Romo says removing them from power is the first step in their fight to take back the Ilikai and re-vive it back to its legendary days. Romo says they plan to file suit within the next two weeks.