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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Waihee sued over credit cards

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer


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A major credit card company has sued former Gov. John Waihee, accusing him of failing to pay more than $72,000 in charges.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in state Circuit Court by American Express Travel Related Services Co. and American Express Centurion Bank. Local attorney Gary Okuda filed the complaint.

Waihee has two accounts with American Express and the lawsuit said he ran up $72,031 in bills as of June 20. But the lawsuit said the former governor "refused, neglected and failed to pay American Express."

American Express is asking that a judge order Waihee to pay the $72,031 principal, plus an undetermined amount in interest, finance charges and delinquent fees. The lawsuit also is seeking attorney fees and other costs.

Waihee yesterday said he had not seen the lawsuit, but acknowledged that he is "in a dispute with them on some of the bills." He said he has been "on the phone" with American Express to "work things out."

"I expect this matter will be resolved very shortly. In fact, I'm a little surprised that they have filed," Waihee said. "It had to do with some delay in payments that were coming in and I guess they felt that they had to file before some of my business arrangements could be worked out."

Waihee, an attorney, said much of the charges were business related.

"I'm responsible for that and I need to get it cleared up," he said.

Okuda could not be reached for comment.

This is the second time in two years that Waihee has run into financial problems. In November 2004, Bank of Hawaii filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Waihee and his wife, Lynne, concerning the couple's Nu'uanu home.

That lawsuit alleged the Waihees owed $779,292 on the first mortgage and $49,306 on the second. A Waihee spokesman at the time said there was a "procedural" matter that needed to be resolved and the Waihees eventually made the payments.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.