Wed May 23, 2012, 01:36 PM
ellisonz (26,512 posts)
3-Part Series on Meglomaniac Billionaire Industrialist and Real Estate Magnet Gensiro Kawamoto
Land Barren: Japanese Billionaire Is Raising Eyebrows, Razing Houses
By Adrienne LaFrance 05/21/2012
There are rats in Kahala.
In yard after yard along Kahala Avenue, that spectacular Pacific-flanked stretch of road, rusted twists of debris and abundant thickets of overgrowth are theirs for the nesting.
It may be one of the most coveted ZIP codes in Hawaii, but many of the houses there are abandoned. The man who owns them is rarely seen in the neighborhood.
Why Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto has left this kind of mark on Oahu is as mysterious as the man himself. Asking the famously reclusive Kawamoto is a challenge. Despite repeated attempts through multiple channels, Civil Beat couldn't reach him for this article.
Land Barren: Who is Genshiro Kawamoto?
By Adrienne LaFrance 05/22/2012
Hawaii has known of Genshiro Kawamoto for nearly a quarter century now, but still little is known about the famously reclusive real estate mogul.
Kawamoto rarely grants interviews, and yet at times he has appeared to relish media attention. He is a man of many such paradoxes, known for being as charming as he is ruthless, equal parts impulsive and calculating. But in an attempt to find out what makes Kawamoto tick, you have to go back decades in time and to a faraway island.
Japan is where Kawamoto's story began.
Scattered biographical details have been repeated about him in newspapers and magazines over the years. His name has been spelled Genshiro and Gensiro. He was born in Fukuoka, on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu, the eldest of six. He inherited his family's small kimono company when he was in his early 20s, but closed the business to instead invest in real estate — first in ultra-expensive Tokyo and later in Hawaii.
Land Barren: Since 2005, Dozens of Violations at Billionaire's Properties
By Adrienne LaFrance 05/23/2012
Honolulu city officials have repeatedly fined Kahala's most famous real estate investor for violations at his Kahala Avenue properties.
Since 2005, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has charged Genshiro Kawamoto 32 times in connection with 20 of his Kahala properties. The city has also sent Kawamoto 56 notices of violation, which come before a fine is issued. A DPP spokesman said Kawamoto has corrected all of the violations, and paid $38,000 in fines, including $3,000 within the last few weeks.
DPP spokesman Curtis Lum couldn't say whether Kawamoto's record of violations is higher than others.
“Historically, we have had numerous single property owners who have accumulated more fines than what has been assessed to Mr. Kawamoto in total. DPP does not characterize any property owner, or compare one with another,” Lum said.
Make sure to check out the picture galleries. I think Gensiro Kawamoto is my favorite crazy billionaire and I support what he is doing to the community. It's post-apocalyptic down there in Kahala.
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