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Ziplinegate – KapohoKine vs. Umauma

So just to let folks know… it looks like KapohoKine vs. Umauma Ziplines is going to be an interesting legal case if there even is a case made.

The notorious and very well known attorney Gerard Leeloy talked to me today off the record for awhile and just needed to get my view on things.  I appreciate him not attempting to throw me under the bus and just wanting to get to know me a bit better.  I told him I have nothing to hide.

This is the first time I’ve met him in person as I’ve only heard about him from some of the high profile cases that he has taken on.

I believe that he knows that I have done nothing wrong and I don’t believe I will be targeted for anything… although I may be called as a witness.  He didn’t mention anything about the letter I received asking me to remove the post from my blog either.

I’m not gonna blog too much about things as I hate pushing buttons that don’t need to be pushed at this time.  I did tell him I would be posting something about today’s meeting with him.

I  referred him to my website’s search engine and just to make it easier for everyone… I’ll simply share this link so anyone can see what I’ve written about Umauma Ziplines and that I believe I’m being as fair as possible in my reporting of what I have learned.

A Darkerview on “Ziplinegate” Oh the IRONY!

Geez… I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself involved in… but I’ll be posting more comments on this entire situation going on with the possible lawsuit against my blog when I know more status about it.

In the meantime, I’ll throw the attention to the latest blogger to give attention to this matter and that is Andrew Cooper over at The Darker View where he states in his post “Blogging and Libel“:

“…The ironic part is that Damon had previously given a great deal of positive press to this operation. This top banner on his blog even features a photo of Damon riding the Umauma zipline!..”

Damn Andrew… you really know where to sock me in the gut huh? Just teasing as I’ve previously stated this is one of the best pictures of me taken ever!

I’ll be changing my header in the next few days due to the recent things that have happened in the last few days.

Got Windmills – “…Don’t Mess With Hawai`i Bloggers”

I’m very thankful of the support I’ve been receiving regarding the Texas attorney who is thinking of suing my blog for my write up on December 8th about the Umauma Ziplines.

Andy Parx of Got Windmills today wrote a post entitled “My Oh My What a Wonderful Day” where he describes one of the oldest tricks in the books that lawyers like to scare people with and that is the cease and desist letter.

Parx writes more about the differences between journalist and bloggers stating:

… With the advent of “bloggers” the question is whether, when they engage in the act of reporting, they are de facto journalists. While many of the more stogy practitioners may argue for all sorts of self-serving and exclusionary rules for what a journalist is or isn’t, there’s still “no license required. ”

In fact, after much debate our own Hawai`i state reporters’ “shield law” essentially defines a reporter by the act of reporting- something bloggers do every day whether, like Ian they consider themselves journalists or, like Damon and Larry, not.

In this case Damon simply reported on the situation, citing and naming his source. Whether or not “The Umauma Experience” is actually safe or not his report is true in that the story is that two co-owners are alleging they are not safe.

And in libel cases, truth is the ultimate defense…

I just wanted to say thanks for all the support that I have been getting on this. I really didn’t want to stir the pot so much as to just let folks know that KapohoKine was opening a new zipline course. In the course of things… I guess we all may learn a lesson or two.

I really like the way Parx finished his post….

“…The other lesson may be that, even if you’re from Texas, don’t mess with Hawai`i bloggers.”

Disappeared News on the Zipline Post Threat

I wanted to thank another blogger that I noticed has posted his thoughts on the recent news that I may be sued by a Texas attorney for my thoughts about the Umauma Ziplines and KapohoKine going separate ways.

Larry Geller of Disappeared News posted a blog entitled “Hawaii should regulate potentially hazardous recreational activities like ziplines” where he expands on Ian Linds thoughts and goes even further by saying:

…Anything that could be called a “death slide” would, you’d think, be inspected regularly by some government body. Apparently not…

Geller concludes:

…Damon and Ian have provided a public service by posting information on their findings. At least those who Google for information on ziplines in Hawaii will possibly hit one of the articles. But for those who don’t Google, some official procedures and protocols need to be put in place to protect the unsuspecting public from the effects of “allegedly substandard and rusting” facilities anywhere in Hawaii.

Ian Lind and Andy Parx Defends My Post About My Zipline Experience

I mentioned the other day that a Texas attorney was going to attempt to sue me for a blog posting I made on the Umauma Ziplines and the cancellation of my trip that I had planned due to safety concerns.

I’ve gotten a lot of support in the comments on that post as well as email comments from others supporting me.

I had to laugh at Kauai Blogger Andy Parx email to me suggesting I tell him the following:

I’d tell him to go f**k himself and take it up with the people who said it. All you did was quote them. These kinds of letters are bluffs. They don’t want a lawsuit- all that would do is put the guy’s quote in the mainstream media.
Tell him to f**k off and that you “welcome a lawsuit where we can air the issue of the safety of their ziplines before the community and in the mainstream press”.  That’ll scare ’em off.

I was even more stoked when former Honolulu Star-Bulletin Investigative Reporter Ian Lind posted the following blog on his site today “Big Island blogger faces legal pressure to withdraw reporting on zipline safety concerns” where Ian was able to find out some other things about the attorney’s client C.L. Carlile Enterprises, L.P.  that is attempting to in essence… censor me.

“…And just who is this Carlile Enterprises?

It’s involved in real estate, oil and gas back in Texas, and is owned by Cleo Carlile, who splits time between the big TX and Hawaii. Carlile Enterprises also owns several pieces of former sugar land along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, and is the landowner offering the “Umauma Experience”, as well as owner of the zipline facilities there, including platforms, cables, rain shelters, and a new building for a kitchen and gift shop…”

Ian continues on about what the safety and certification process that may or may not happen with the zipline industry here in Hawaii and then goes on to say:

…Mr. Carlile and his company may have a beef with his former business partners, but it seems to me that his Texas attorney is off-base for this ill-considered attack on a local blogger.

Damon reported the dispute over safety issues in a straightforward and responsible manner. This was not a story that he was reporting, but a direct consumer experience he shared via his blog. And it happens to involve matters of public health and safety, and should have alerted the mainstream media to potential safety and regulatory issues in this relatively new recreational sport. There are obviously more sides to the story which need to be covered, but Damon deserves credit for flagging the issues and sharing them…

I’d like to thank Ian and Andy as well as the others that are supporting me in my effort to blog about my daily experiences. I hate it when folks take things so seriously that they go out of their way to actually stop me from doing something on my own personal blog!

I’m sorry if their business has been affected by what I wrote but that’s not my fault! I should be allowed and entitled to write freely about the experiences I have without being threatened by big money attorneys and their clients that don’t act responsibly!

I Guess I’m Gonna Get Sued… Or Something. Texas Attorney Contacts Me Regarding My Blog!

I received an email last night requesting my home address and no other reason why this person wanted it. I sent the person an email back asking why they wanted my home address and I found out this person is an attorney representing the Umauma Ziplines and his name is Robert Whitt.

Mr. Whitt is asking me to:

“…provide proof by December 31st, 2010, that you have fully complied with this letter and that you will continue doing so. If you continue making or posting derogatory statements or blogs about my client or otherwise do not comply with the demands made herein, you are advised that my client intents to vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to it.”

So I’ve been threatened with a lawsuit because of the post that I posted here on December 8th on the Umauma Ziplines, KapohoKine to Build New Zipline Course… Ends Affiliation With Umauma Ziplines Due to Safety Concerns.

You can read the letter he has threatened me with below here by clicking on it.

Click to Read

I sent this letter and the threat that they have sent to me to KapohoKine Co-Owner Tony DeLellis and he responded:

“It’s all true.  put the letter on your blog.  that’s why there were pictures, and that’s why they went to the expense of replacing the cable.”

Attorney Whitt did send me a certificate that said they passed their zipline course safety inspection… however this date was on Dec. 21, 2010… long after I had posted my blog posting.

Here is a copy of that certificate I’ve circled the date in red:

Of course for me… the real pictures speak for themselves!

If this isn't a faulty line... I don't know what is!

I don’t have any plans on taking the post down… so I guess we will see what happens from here!

A Whale of a Weekend at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel

The Sign Outside the Hotel

Two weekends ago I had a chance to take a relaxing vacation away from the craziness of the upcoming census work I would be doing for the next few months and I couldn’t think of a better way of doing it then by going over to the Kona side of the island and staying at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

I arrived there just as the sun was setting over the mountain leaving a beautiful reflection of the sun off the waters onto Kona Village.

The sun sets over Kona Village

I guess I should have turned the lights on before I tried to take a picture of the room from the doorway… but I think you can get a good idea of just how large this room was.

Bathroom to the left closet to the right

I had a nice cozy sleep in their newly remodeled rooms which had these “Cush” beds that made me not even want to wake up in the morning.

Now this was comfortable

The room had a small fridge as well as microwave, but I only used the fridge of course.

When I woke up in the morning… I washed up and got ready for the day spending it with a friend I hadn’t seen in about 25 years.

Rise and Shine!

When I walked out onto my lanai and saw this view… I knew it was going to be a special weekend.

Beautiful view off the lanai

My friend and I actually went Ziplining at two separate places on the first day before I dropped him off with his family.

Here is a video of Dave Haggen Ziplining the longest Dual Zipline on the Island of Hawaii:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3CRJPqxKrc&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

That night I spent some time around the hotel and ended up eating at Wendy’s only because I was too late and I missed their Island Breeze Luau.

Island Breeze Luau I've heard is one of the Big Islands Best

After having a long day of activities with Dave, I dropped him off and then went back to the hotel to relax for a while.

There is nothing better then being able to swim in a pool, take a hot tub and being just footsteps away from a nice cold drink.

A nice way to close out the evening

The next day I took a quick tour around the hotel and realized that the pier that was out front of the hotel was the pier where the big marlin fish get reeled in.

One big fish displayed in the lobby

I was intrigued by much of the Hawaiian Collection that they had on display.

Some of the Kamehameha Lineage

Even though the hotel is currently going through a remodel, many of the display cases were readily available to see.

More of their Hawaiian Collection of art and treasures from the past

After grabbing breakfast in town with Barbara Uechi of the Guava Bee Blog, I grabbed my friend again and took off for Kona Boat Rentals where we had a 21 foot boat waiting for us.

At the helm of a 21 footer

It was like old times for Dave and I as we used to always take out his ski boat on Lake Whatcom… the only difference this time was that it was in the Pacific Ocean and we were 25 years older.

Kona by the sea

And of course back then… we didn’t have to worry about WHALES popping up out of nowhere!

Humpback Season in the Pacific

I really had a great weekend at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, I just wish that weekends like these… could last forever.

Another last look out the lanai before saying Aloha!

It was really great seeing my old best friend from High School and I really wanted to say thanks to the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel and it’s friendly staff for hooking me up with a great weekend.