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Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Alexander & Baldwin
9 Hawaiian Telcom
Maui Electric Co.
Wailuku Water Co.
WE CAN HEAR YOU NOW
Hawaiian Telcom—which is owned by the immensely wealthy and
influential Carlyle Group—moves up more than a couple notches this week
on news that it’s finally getting its act together. They’ve got a new
Chief Financial Officer—Paul Sunu—who has tons of telecommunications
experience. What’s more, they just announced that they lost less money
in 2006 than in 2005: $144.6 million in 2006 versus $159.6 million the
year before. And the company recently announced that they’re going to
hold off starting web-based television service until “we could ensure a
reliable customer experience,” said HT CEO Michael Ruley in the Apr. 3
Honolulu Advertiser. Let the good times roll!
On Aug. 31, 2006, I cancelled my Hawaiian Telcom phone service.
Because of the timing of my cancellation–due to my moving, not the
actual service, which was never a problem–HT owed me $28.15. I found
this out in late January when the company sent me what eerily resembled
a bill—complete with return envelope—except written next to the phrase
“Total Amount Due” was “$28.15 CR.” The “CR” of course stood for
“Credit,” which the HT customer service rep confirmed to me when I
called the next day. Though she said HT would be paying me the $28.15
very soon, nothing much happened until late February, when I got
another fake bill for $28.15 CR. Ignoring that, I got another fake bill
in late March, again for the same amount, which was tagged as a credit.
But then, on Apr. 3, I opened my mailbox and found an actual legal
check from Hawaiian Telcom in the amount of $28.15. In other words, it
took Hawaiian Telcom—a company owned by a private equity firm worth
billions of dollars—seven months to pay me $28.15, yet they would have
come down on me with both feet if I had withheld a similar check from
them for a tenth of that time. That may not be fair, just or equitable,
but it is powerful. MTW