State briefs for May 22

Condo owners file lawsuit against building contractor

HONOLULU — Members of a condominium association filed a lawsuit, saying their building is unsafe and uninhabitable.

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The lawsuit filed by owners of units in the 3-year-old Waiea tower in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu said the property has more than 100 construction defects that lowered its value.

The lawsuit names Waiea’s general contractor, Nordic PCL Construction. It also targets subcontractors, designers and suppliers who were not named.

Nordic failed to construct the building to the level of quality promised, including a wall of windows the contractor promoted as “smooth and seamless, like the ocean on a calm morning,” the lawsuit said.

Other building defects named in the lawsuit range from missing pool cabana door-latch bumpers and discolored pool grout to faulty air conditioning, inconsistent hot-water temperatures and a defective parking garage door.

The lawsuit renews allegations made in a 2017 federal lawsuit filed against Nordic by Waiea’s developer, Hughes Corp., that said Nordic owed the developer more than $75 million in damages for alleged defects, cost overruns and late delivery. The suit was dismissed in August.

The Dallas-based Hughes Corp. spent about $300 million to build Waiea. The average price for 171 units in the nearly sold-out tower was $3.6 million.

Tech is vital element in search for missing woman

WAILUKU, Maui — Technology is becoming a vital element in the search for a woman who went missing in a rural Maui forest.

Volunteers searching for 35-year-old Amanda Heller are employing GPS devices and computers with live feeds and real-time data from the parking lot of the Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui.

There is no evidence of foul play, but police said they continue to investigate.

Eller, who was last seen May 8, is thought to be lost in the reserve near her home in Haiku, where her vehicle was found. Friends said she liked to run and hike.

Chris Berquist and others are coordinating the search by deploying volunteers with GPS apps for iPhones and Android devices.

As the search for the physical therapist entered Day 11 on Sunday, the focus was on filling the live map with GPS search information.

The map showed areas saturated by searchers and others needing coverage to fill the search perimeter around the spot where Eller’s vehicle was recovered, Berquist said.

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Search leaders are equipped with iPads, laptops and smartphones, while whiteboards and paper charts are used to track volunteers and contact information for drivers and commercial drone operators.

Family and friends have also relied on Facebook to gather and distribute information.

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