Commentary by Eric Toulon on Former Garden Island Publisher Scandal

Aloha Damon,

Got a big kick out of your article about Cynthia Schur being promoted.

In 1996 a con man named Michael James Burns, Jr. came to Kauai and ran numerous cons including at Hawaii’s two largest banks, and by 1998 he was convicted and sentenced to continuous prison for five years, given partial furlough in late 1999 where he created Aspen Venture Group, unrestricted furlough in early 2000 where he was hired by the directors at Grove Farm, one of whom was a close associate of Ms. Schur’s husbands Barry’s good friend Gary Baldwin named Robert Mullins.

Mr. Baldwin became quite influential in local politics after Iniki as a result of his close relationship with Senator Dan Inouye.

During Burns extensive con spree the newspapers mentioned a Michael Barnes as running a fairly extensive crime spree around the same time as Burns and the same thing as Burns but nothing about Burns himself.

This was also around the same time that Baldwin was jumping all over Schur as a result of an article that Gary Hoosier wrote skeptical to the need of the creation of the Hawaii Tourism Authority that Baldwin appears to have been quite instrumental in creating, as a result of Hawaii’s prolonged economic malaise, that started primarily on Kauai as a result of the closed hotels following Iniki.

In the immediate aftermath of Iniki there was a strong push to reopen the hotels that stopped, around the same time that Baldwin started getting involved in the Yukimura Administration.

As a result of the pressure Hoosier left the Garden Island, and appears to have been replaced by former attorney Sam Blair, who wrote an article the following year about how the Kauai ethics committee looked into the relationship between A&B director Charlie King and Planning Commissioner Baldwin.

2002 must have been a bad year for Baldwin, first withdrawing from the HTA for “health” reasons, shortly after a scalding audit by Marion Higa, followed by his being picked up as a result of an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Shortly thereafter Ms. Schur is transferred to California.

In 2006, after I found out about Burns, and then Foley, I contacted the doctor who filed criminal charges against Baldwin and in late 2008 I received them.

After Kusaka nominated Baldwin to the Kauai Planning Commission he said on his application that he had gotten here thirteen years earlier, or in 1983, when the reality is he was last heard of in Colorado, in January 1985, where his crimes were big news particularly in Aspen, where he had been an advisor at John Denver’s Aspen Colorado Windstar Foundation.

That was the same year Burns was starting his career in wines catering to shops and restaurants a number of which were in Aspen Colorado.

Aspen Venture Group, legitimate name, or con man humor? I’m sure it’s legit!

And by the way, pigs fly!

And if you’re a reporter, and Cynthia Schur is your editor, don’t publish anything derogatory about the endeavors of con men!

Take care,

Eric Toulon

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