Residents gripe about billionaire neighbor's unkempt yards, vermin

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HONOLULU (AP) - Neighbors of Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto are urging the Honolulu government and the Japanese Consulate to force him to clean up 20 properties.
The City Council tentatively agreed to ask the consul general of Japan in Honolulu to talk with Kawamoto about resolving the dispute between the 1,700 members of the Kahala Community Association and Kawamoto. The dispute is over unkempt yards, broken walls and vermin infestations.

HONOLULU (AP) - Neighbors of Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto are urging the Honolulu government and the Japanese Consulate to force him to clean up 20 properties.

The City Council tentatively agreed to ask the consul general of Japan in Honolulu to talk with Kawamoto about resolving the dispute between the 1,700 members of the Kahala Community Association and Kawamoto. The dispute is over unkempt yards, broken walls and vermin infestations.

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Attorney Richard Turbin says Kawamoto has allowed many of his properties to fall into disrepair after he bought them four years ago. Three of the properties were rented to needy families.

"This is a serious problem that has occurred there. He has torn down walls, he has filled up swimming pools, he has allowed the properties to be overcome by weeds," Turbin told the council's executive matters committee.

"My attitude is ... if the consul general knows there is a problem with a Japanese national I'm hoping he would talk to him and say, 'Hey, you have to fix up your property, you have to do something.' He has done it to so many of the houses and he has blighted the neighborhood," he said.

Japanese Consul Toshio Kunikata declined comment.

Councilman Charles K. Djou introduced a resolution for the City Council to consider after it received numerous complaints about the vacant properties.

"Mr. Kawamoto owns over two dozen multimillion-dollar mansions in the Kahala area, but has utterly failed to follow legal property covenants to properly maintain his properties. I hope the Japanese Consulate can assist us in finally getting Mr. Kawamoto to respond to concerns from the Kahala community," Djou said.

Kawamoto bought about 20 homes for close to $115 million, after selling about 160 Oahu homes he had bought in the 1980s.

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