The Maui County Department of Liquor Control doesn’t exactly go out and party very often. But when they do, it can be a real blowout.
Case in point is the 2005 State Liquor Conference, held Oct. 9-12, 2005 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on Hawai’i. Now to be fair it was more of a conference—attended by liquor officials from all over the state—than it was an actual party, but it was at one of the swankier resorts in the state.
The Hapuna Beach Prince has an 18-hole golf course, six restaurant/lounges, 350 ocean-facing guest rooms, tennis courts, spas, fitness centers, a beauty salon and nightly stargazing events. Oh, and every guest is supposed to get a free glass of Passion Orange Juice upon arrival.
It wasn’t cheap, either. According to expense reports filed by the 10 Liquor Commissioners and Adjudication Board members who went—Donald Fujii, Joe Tanaka, Zachary Helm, Frances Meshulam, Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama, Edwin “Ken” Yokouchi, Mary Doreen Alborano, Marilyn Chapman, Lance Collins and Tami Nascimento—the conference cost the department $10,876.99, assuming my math is correct. That total includes $2,850 to cover the conference fees for the 10 attendees ($285 per person), $3,596.40 in travel reimbursements ($359.64 per person), $2,600 in per diem advances ($260 per person) and $1,782.59 in airfare advances (an average of $186 per person) and the odd parking fee reimbursement, which ran about $20.
And it all came out of the LC’s budget, funded by all the liquor license fees and fines it’s been collecting. Now according to the LC’s 2005 Annual Report, they’re $659,425.99 in the black, so it’s not like even 10 grand in expenses put the squeeze on the department.
Oh, and apparently everyone learned a lot. At the Nov. 3, 2005 Adjudication Board hearing, the attendees said they saw the “dynamic” Bill Kanoi, who works in the Hawai’i Island Mayor’s office. They saw a “gruesome” presentation by a couple of paramedics. And they learned from a Norwegian Cruise Lines official that LC investigators couldn’t board ships floating offshore, even if they were trying to enforce county liquor laws.