September 5, 2013

Move afoot to remove former Hawaii PUC Chairman Caliboso’s law firm from Lanai wind farm case

Duane Shimogawa, Reporter- Pacific Business News | Sep 5, 2013 |

Just two weeks after former Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chairman and Honolulu attorney Carlito Caliboso recused himself from working on Castle & Cooke Inc.’s proposed 200-megawatt Lanai wind farm project, there’s now an effort to remove his entire law firm from the case, according to a filing with the PUC.

Castle & Cooke has already fired back against proposed intervenors Kaulana Kahoohalahala and Matthew Mano’s motion to disqualify the Law Firm of Yamamoto Caliboso LLC from representing Castle & Cooke in this docket, saying that its request should be denied.

The Lanai-based community group Friends of Lanai also has filed a motion to disqualify the Honolulu firm.

Castle & Cooke said that both Caliboso and his firm are in compliance with “Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct” because the current case involves a new matter that is separate and distinct from other dockets in which Caliboso took part in when he was the chairman of the PUC.

Additionally, Castle & Cooke said that given Mano and Kaulana Kahoohalahala are not parties to the current docket, they do not have standing to make their motion to disqualify.

In a letter sent to the PUC last month, Caliboso voluntarily elected to recuse himself from the case to “avoid any further distraction that may result from my participation in this proceeding.”

He said that the firm’s other lawyers will continue to represent Castle & Cooke as allowed by applicable rules. In July, the PUC decided to review Castle & Cooke’s Lanai wind farm project in a separate filing from a draft request for proposals for 200 megawatts or more of renewable energy for Oahu.

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