County asks court to order property owners to clear homeless camp

  • Tribune-Herald/Michael Brestovansky The homeless camp remains standing on Punahoa Street despite numerous requests by the county to remove it.

After the owners of a property that has become a homeless encampment in downtown Hilo failed to appear at a court hearing Friday, a judge granted a motion to compel them to clear the property.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Ronald Talon, representing the county, told Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto that he made three attempts to contact defendant Elizabeth Jerilyn Rose after she failed to appear in court Friday morning, but was unable to reach her.

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Rose and fellow Big Island resident Michael Ravenswing were scheduled to appear for a hearing regarding their failure to remove unpermitted structures from a lot they own between Ponahawai and Mamo streets in downtown Hilo. The hearing was intended to discuss a motion by Talon to order the owners to remove all unpermitted structures from the property.

If Rose and Ravenswing fail to comply, the motion authorizes the county to remove the structures without the owners’ permission. The motion also cites a statute that would allow the county to seize the property.

According to court records, the county sent Rose and Ravenswing a notice of their violations in January, and in March demanded they remove the structures, but both actions by the county were ignored.

Since then, the lot has become crowded with tents and other makeshift structures and is bordered by a chain-link fence.

As the unpermitted structures remain on their property despite the county’s repeated requests, Rose and Ravenswing — through their businesses NSHE HI Foxglove LLC and NSHE HI Thistle LLC — have potentially accumulated nearly $190,000 in fines since spring.

Nakamoto granted Talon’s motion without discussion, finding the owners in default and granting “all relief sought in the motion,” which might make the property owners liable for all of the fines accumulated so far.

Although Rose and Ravenswing were absent Friday, Rose informed the county that she would “decline” to attend the meeting in a letter delivered to the Tribune-Herald and the office of the County Corporation Counsel in August.

The letter, signed by Rose, deferred responsibility for the hearing to Christopher Jaymes, supposedly the trustee for a trust that includes Foxglove and Thistle.

“As I have no knowledge of who ‘You’ and/or ‘Dr. Elizabeth-Jerilyn Rose’ and/or such other identification any court … has addressed me as, I respectfully ask: by what authority are ‘you’ addressing me as such?” Rose wrote.

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Rose previously claimed her trust, the Hawaiian Rose Trust, exists to restore the Hawaiian monarchy and that the homeless camp sits on Hawaiian Kingdom land and thus does not answer to U.S. laws.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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