Business owners to sue over APEC losses

Published: Nov. 18, 2011 at 10:18 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2011 at 12:23 AM HST
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Ernie Inada
Ernie Inada
Tony Miller
Tony Miller

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first APEC lawsuit is expected to be filed soon against federal, state and county governments.  Small business owners are angry about lost revenue and they are inviting others to join them.

The Clubhouse Honolulu Restaurant is in the former Hard Rock Cafe location right across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center.  They bought signs welcoming the APEC guests but instead were greeted by barriers.

"Sure enough not a single person showed up here," said Ernie Inada, Clubhouse Honolulu President.  "The police actually blocked the entrance to my parking lot. I could not even come into my parking lot."

He laid off 20 employees.  Some haven't come back so he's still closed to train new staff.  He's angry enough to file a lawsuit.

"Well I'm hoping that we can recover some damages because in our case it was a whole scale shutdown versus a decline in business," said Inada.

He's hired attorney and republican senate candidate John Carroll to represent him.

"Well the 14th amendment is basically the right to pursuit of happiness which when they shutdown your restaurant you can't really pursue much happiness. The 5th amendment says you cannot have an unlawful taking because of a government action and this is what has happened here," said John Carroll.  "The 5th amendment generally applies to criminal but what they have done here, at the end of the 5th amendment it talks about the unlawful taking of property and this is clearly that kind of a case."

Other businesses are already joining the cause.

"I'll be involved in it yeah," said Terence Yorga, Gadget Guyz Cellular Repairs.  "I think it's fair that we address it to them and let them know it happened and see what the compensation could be."

"It's a good idea. I don't know how far it will go. When you are dealing with government entities and trying to sue them it's always a long and drawn out process," said Tony Miller, The Eye Glass Shoppe Optician.

The Eye Glass Shoppe wasn't seeing any customers because of the security barriers so they closed up during the week of APEC to save electricity.

"It seems that this APEC event was more for the big guys and be damned with the small independent businesses is what I got out of it," said Miller. "They're into it for themselves. It's a great way for the politicians to network with other politicians."

The business owners will have to put up a fight considering politicians have already said compensation is unlikely.

"Very unlikely considering the current economic situation and my proclivity to pinch pennies," said Peter Carlisle, Honolulu Mayor, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I'm not quite sure who has built their entire stability of their business on 5 or 6 days from APEC so I can't possibly come to some sort of accounting for that person," said Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii Governor, during an interview on Sunrise Tuesday morning.

John Carroll plans to hold a meeting with all interested business owners to answer questions and go over details as soon as next week.

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