Is Big Island Weekly Also Switching to Online Format? Is it the Big Island “WEAKLY”?

I’m checking out the Big Island Weekly online edition and something jumps out at me:

The first two “News” items CAN’T  be found in full in the Print edition as they have online videos attached to them.

The Win Hawaii House article… I even warned Tiffany ahead of time that it’s under investigation!  YET, the BIW ran the article 3 weeks later as if it’s something real.

It’s bogus!

Even Tiffany herself on her blog on DECEMBER 10th wrote:

“I’m leaving it up for now and calling it a “Puna Feature.” I am trying to get a hold of Sherri Smith and John Williams to ask them their response to allegations that this is a possible scam. Once I receive their response, I will post it on my website and include it in another story I am working on for another publication. Thanks for the heads up, Damon.”

Interesting comments have been left below that article explaining how bogus it is and that BIW should be investigated for running something like that.

Then 2 of the next 3 articles that appeared previously on “The Big Island Chronicle”.

There are only 5 “News” items listed.  2 Videos and 2 blogs (one of which needs to be retracted next week due to mis-information)

I wonder how the BIW advertisers that pay good money to have their ads displayed in the paper feel about the paper running videos and incorrect articles?

This is nothing against the writers of the paper at all.  More against the whole thought process that goes on behind the BIW when they are publishing their paper.

My biggest worry… is that they are just stringing  along reporters by reprinting posts, and then when they find another writer… they just cut ties with that writer.  That does seem to be Stephens Media Method of Operation.

My guess is that the Big Island Weekly will be an Online format within the next 2 years.

3 Responses

  1. Are you effing kidding me? Wouldyoublowme, you find that credible? Guess what? Sherri Smith and John Williams’ llawyer’s name is Nakamoto, dude. Not Nakamura ……………. All this b.s. For wouldyoublowme. Call Henry Nakamoto to confirm he represents Sherri Smith and John Williams. You might be getting to know the guy, or do you think that is “bogus?” Blog responsibly.

    Damon – Tiff, I think your taking things too personally… but that’s your call.
    P.S. I erased the part about my son in your comments. That’s uncalled for.

    *update* Recent comment left on the BIW comments:

    Tiffany Edwards Hunt wrote on Jan 3, 2009 8:10 PM:
    ” In this story, I erroneously wrote the name of Sherri Smith and John Williams’ lawyer. His name is Henry Nakamoto. The county prosecutor that the couple conferred with is not named in this story. It is unfortunate that there are so many negative comments about what I believe is a straightforward story. I apologize for my error. “

    Damon – Thanks for the clarification

  2. Excuse the typo above, I’m mad… Sherri Smith and John Williams have a lawyer telling them their contest is LEGAL. You need to get the facts before making ass-umptions!

    Damon – Lawyers name? I’d like to talk to him.

  3. You know what, Damon, this right here has me irate. You are obviously not credible AT ALL. I truly think that you are blogging irresponsibly, spreading mistruths about my blog,, and me… None of my stories appeared on my blog before in print in the Weekly. I wrote about the essay contest on my blog, and wrote a completely different version of it for the Weekly. You are messing with my credibility and my reputation, and I don’t take that lightly. You are slandering Sherri Smith and John Williams, claiming they’re contest is “bogus,” when they have a lawyer telling them their contest is illegal. I don’t know about you, but I stand by my work. Get some integrity, Damon.

    Damon – Tiff I understand you may be irate. Just as irate when you said I was in the officers face. I have not wrote anything that is not correct. They have a lawyer telling them??? Did you get that lawyers name?

    I find these comments left by “Heywouldjablowme” fairly credible… and no I’ve never heard of the dude.

    “heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 6:23 PM:
    ” These articles should also address questions as to the involvement of County Deputy Prosecutor Henry Nakamura & Dept. of Education Secretary Mary Correa. A title for these articles could be, “Write An Essay, Win A New House, Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $101”. Sheri Smith is quoted as saying, “my ultimate desire is to be an innkeeper.” With good behavior & acting like a model prisoner, Smith may yet get her wish-at Hawaii Community Correctional Center for Women.
    I rest my case, for now. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 5:55 PM:
    As of this entry’s writing, the website, seems to have been shut down. This is a proper & prudent course of action for Smith/Williams to have taken until a proper legal opinion on the legality of their offering can be rendered by a Hawaii court judge. Smith/Williams should immediately refund any money sent to them as well. A follow up article should appear in the Big Island Weekly, as well as in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald & West Hawaii Today to inform Big Island residents as to how & if this has been resolved. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 5:00 PM:
    ” That same benefit of the doubt should be accorded to Department of Education superintendent Mary Correa, who is also named in the article as a participant. All we have to go on at this point is what was printed in the article, statements that the author attributes to Shari Smith, but nowhere in her story does Tiffany Edward Hunt state that participation in this “contest” was directly confirmed to her by either Nakamura or Correa. Maybe the statement by Smith re. the participation of Nakamura & Correa is false, maybe it’s true. We just don’t know. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 4:31 PM:
    ” designated agent (realtor) subject to both criminal & civil penalties. In conclusion, I agree with poster Red in that I too would like to hear directly from Deputy County Prosecutor Henry Nakamura, and anyone else for that matter who has a greater knowledge of the legal system than I possess. It strains credulity to believe that Mr. Nakamura would be involved in the promotion of this scheme, & at this point I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt & assume that he’s not involved, unless I’m provided with evidence to the contrary. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 3:49 PM:
    ” If all the aforementioned weren’t enough to discourage everyone from participating in this lottery, consider this: any transfer of real property title requires full disclosure of any material defects. The responsibility for full disclosure falls upon the property owners and their designated agents, which would be any realtor who becomes involved. That this property may be subject to seizure & forfeiture as a result of it’s being part of an illegal gambling enterprise constitutes a material defect. Failure to disclose this would be a serious breach of law & ethics which would leave Smith/Williams & their ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 1:35 PM:
    ” Furthermore, in the Hawaii Penal Code, Gambling Offenses, definitions of terms section, it states,
    “(9) “Profit from gambling activity.” A person “profits from gambling activity” if he accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement understanding with any person whereby he participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling activity.”
    Corporations, unincorporated associations, & other entities are treated as if they were an individual. The DOE, which administers our public schools, is such an entity, and would therefore be prohibited from accepting any money derived from any gambling enterprise. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 1:14 PM:
    ” “She (Sheri Smith)…would like to…provide financial donations to Puna schools.”

    This is impossible as the Hawaii Penal Code specifically prohibits this from occurring. The prohibition exists to prevent just this type of abuse, where someone would use the excuse that they are providing some type of social benefit which would outweigh any “minor” transgression they had to pursue in order to achieve their goal.
    It states, ” No other person, corporation, unincorporated association, or entity receives or becomes entitled to receive, anything of value or any profit, directly or indirectly, from any source…” ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 12:57 PM:
    ” Any family members who receive this “dirty” money would also have to return it. The money would not go back to Smith/Williams, but rather to the state under their right of seizure/forfeiture. Smith/Williams would still be left with the debts they had before they launched this scheme, but they’d be in even worse shape due to additional fines, penalties, interest, & legal fees. If Smith/Williams use any of their illegal profits to “complete their castle”, that property too could be subject to seizure & forfeiture. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 12:42 PM:
    ” “With the potential to make at least $606,000 from the contest, Sheri Smith said she and her husband plan to complete their castle, pay off mortgages, family members and other bills, before tithing and donating to local schools.”

    My understanding of the law is that any ill gotten gain or profit from any illegal enterprise is subject to seizure & forfeiture. If this “contest” is judged to be an illegal lottery, any money collected by Smith/Williams is subject to forfeiture. The mortgage company will have to pay back any mortgage payments made with this “dirty” money. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 12:30 PM:
    ” We therefore have laws which prohibit us from engaging in these illegal business enterprises, and provide penalties for those who choose to flout these laws and and engage in unacceptable behavior in spite of these laws. Unfortunately for Smith & Williams, they seem to have chosen a business model that has been deemed unacceptable in Hawaii, and that is why there are laws which specifically prohibit this type of activity.
    Lets look at another relevant quote from this article: ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 12:04 PM:
    ” There are, however, acceptable and unacceptable ways to earn a living, and there are rules to this effect. These rules are what we refer to as laws, and these laws are there to govern behavior in the marketplace and our daily “commerce” with one another. If one chooses to not play by the rules, there are consequences one must face if caught “cheating”. Penalties for cheating are also prescribed by law. Prostitution, drug dealing, theft, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, fraud, extortion, & gambling are all examples of what our society deems as unacceptable means of commerce. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 11:53 AM:
    ” Let’s take a look at these quotes from this article.

    “Smith and her builder husband, John Williams, intend to raise funds to complete their castle-like home”

    “If Smith has her way, this essay contest will be “a business”,”

    “I’m a businesswoman,”

    “The purpose of Essay 101 is to raise funds”

    By Sheri Smith’s own admission, this scheme was created to “raise funds” & to “be a business”. By definition, a “business” is an entity created to make money. There is nothing inherently wrong, immoral, or illegal about fund raising or engaging in business. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 11:29 AM:

    “Smith and her builder husband, John Williams, intend to raise funds to complete their castle-like home”

    “If Smith has her way, this essay contest will be “a business”,”

    “I’m a businesswoman,”

    “The purpose of Essay 101 is to raise funds”

    “The second-place winner receives a $10,000 prize and the third-place winner receives a $5,000 prize.”

    “With the potential to make at least $606,000 from the contest, Sheri Smith said she and her husband plan to complete their castle, pay off mortgages, family members and other bills, before tithing and donating to local schools.”

    “She (Sheri Smith)…would like to…provide financial donations to Puna schools.” ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 10:56 AM:
    ” “712-1230 Forfeiture of property used in illegal gambling.

    Any gambling device…furniture, personal property, vehicles, vessels, aircraft, or gambling record possessed or used in violation of this part, may be ordered forfeited to the state…”

    Anything used in the promotion or advance of gambling activity is subject to seizure & forfeiture. The
    cottage & the 8,000 square foot lot it sits on, computers, faxes, printers,
    autos used to transport entry fees and essays, all are subject to seizure & forfeiture. Essays and entry fee checks could be construed as “gambling records”. “Possession of gambling records” is an additional punishable offense. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 10:19 AM:
    ” If the “winner” declares & pays the income taxes on these gambling winnings (the cottage) as he is required by law to do, he would be admitting that this is, in fact, gambling. Gambling is illegal in Hawaii. The tax returns could be admitted into court as evidence as a signed admission of guilt. He could be convicted of gambling offenses by his own admission, subject to penalties as prescribed by law, and the property then subject to seizure & forfeiture. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 9:46 AM:
    ” If the “winner” then turns around and sells the home for $200,000, they have then also realized an additional capital gain of $199,899. Any profit one realizes from the sale of real property is viewed as taxable income. If the “winner” acquired & then sold this property in the same year, they’d have an income tax liability based on an income of $399,798 from this alone. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 25, 2008 9:10 AM:
    ” Hawaii state & the IRS view gambling winnings as taxable income. Anyone who “wins” this cottage is liable for income taxes based upon the full appraised value of the home. For instance, if this cottage is appraised at $200,000, the “winner” will be taxed just as if they had made that $200,000 as earned income from employment or capital gains. The $101 could qualify as a tax deduction, so the net taxable gain would only be $199,899.00.
    Any annual municipal, county, or state real property taxes would be in addition to a person’s federal/state income tax liability. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 24, 2008 5:55 PM:
    ” Red,
    You “don’t shave your pits…(you) wear Patchouli … (&) live in Puna” Wow Red, you sound just like my kind of girl. I think I’m in love. (haha) ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 24, 2008 5:39 PM:
    ” Smith & Williams are using the internet to solicit business for their illegal scheme, so it goes beyond the borders of the State of Hawaii and the jurisdiction of both Hawaii State & Hawaii County authorities. It therefore may fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation & may be illegal under one or more laws relating to “racketeering”. This should be another incentive for Smith & Williams to consider for shutting down this scam. Federal penalties would be in addition to, not instead of, any Hawaii state penalties. ”

    heywoodjablowme wrote on Dec 24, 2008 4:50 PM:
    ” The Hawaii Penal Code states: “A person commits the offense of gambling if he knowingly advances or participates in any gambling activity.”
    If a person puts up or wagers something of value (in this case $101) with the hope or expectation of gaining something of value(in this case the house,the second place $10,000 prize, & the third place $5,000 prize), it is gambling. If this “contest” were to be run without the requirement of the $101 entry fee, I believe that then it would be totally legal under Hawaii law, unless there are other laws which
    prohibit it. “

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