Japanese real estate mogul arrested for tax evasion

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Mar 05 2013 04:55:00 PM HST

The news of the arrest of Japanese tycoon Genshiro Kawamoto this week for tax evasion has rippled across the Pacific.

HONOLULU -

Contractor Rodney Foth is busy cleaning up one mess for Genshiro Kawamoto: graffiti on one of the tycoon's homes.

He's stunned to hear his boss has an even bigger mess on his hands:  allegations he failed to pay the Japanese government $9 million in taxes.

"I am quite surprised actually. He is a very smart man.  I figured he would have his corners covered. I am sure he will bail out soon," said Foth.

Foth said he only recently began helping Kawamoto manage his properties, in exchange for using the pools before they were all filled in.

"I told him I would apprehend the graffiti artists in the area. And so far we made a police report and we got four people apprehended," said Rodney Foth.

Kawamoto told KITV just a few weeks ago he planned to spend the next three months completing the Kahala gardens. The question is, what happens now.

"If he can’t leave Japan, let’s say because he is convicted of a crime, who is going to watch over the properties? Will the Japanese government levy liens and haul away the statues? There is a lot of uncertainty,"said Kahala Resident Richard Tuurbin.

While some residents wouldn’t object to the later, another resident who sold out to Kawamoto lamented the state of the neighborhood. 

 "I am just not happy that it was him we had to sell to. It's been emotional to see what has happened. This has been 10 years since this was going on and it’s not right,” said Johnson.

Johnson said Kawamoto is not a man of his word .

Johnson sold his mother's home after her death, but only after being reassured that her favorite tree that she personally planted would remain untouched.

It, like so many others, was chopped down.

Johnson hopes Kawamoto's arrest is the beginning of the end to the billionaire’s blight.

"Maybe we can right this wrong that's happened in this community," said Johnson.

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