New players emerge around the proposed sale of Hilo's Naniloa hotel

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Nov 06 2013 06:31:00 PM HST

New players have emerged in the latest twist on the proposed sale of Hilo's Naniloa hotel. The drama is playing out in bankruptcy court over what the judge called a "disaster" of a case.

HONOLULU -

For years, the Naniloa hotel has been hanging on by a financial thread.

A dispute with the state over the land lease has brought the case back before a bankruptcy judge..

And now another potential buyer has emerged.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

Ramco Properties is a newly formed entity with Honolulu attorney Rick Fried and Gary Oda, CEO of Allied Builders at the helm.

The two have ties to the hotel next to the Naniloa Resort -- the Hilo Hawaiian -- which is also operating on leased land owned by the state.

But concerns about a construction schedule have put off a decision on the sale until next week.

Nothing has been decided in terms of a sale, but the overbidding process is still open.

"We could entertain other bidders, so it's a short time from between now and Tuesday and its possible that we can have a higher bid than the existing bid from Ramco,” said Bankrupcy Trustee David Farmer.

Ramco submitted an offer of $3.7 million, just up slightly from the $3.5 million bid by an Los Angeles firm last month, who said it may not be out of the picture yet.

"I have a few investors with me and we have to have a meeting to decide what to do.   We need a good hotel down there," said Helen Severson of American Asian Travel Center.

Also among those attending today's court hearing included developer Ed Buchor who according to the trustee has expressed some interest in the case.

And a last ditch attempt by hotel owner Ken Fujiyama to offer the court  a new financial plan failed.

The Judge opted to put off a decision until next Tuesday because of concerns about building violations that require immediate attention. Those include fixing the fire alarm and sprinkler and electrical system.

There is also the problem of a makeshift outdoor kitchen that set Hilo's mayor on a warpath before the land board two months ago.

"This one kitchen at the volcanoes resort? Who would take their family to eat there? $300 a night?  State conventions? Who is coming back?" said Mayor Billy Kenoi as he addressed board members.

It remains to be seen if the delay will fuel a bidding war for the mostly insolvent company.

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