FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Rated ‘M’ (for Mature Audiences only): The Teamsters, the Tart & a Pocketful of Meth
A longtime Teamsters union member who drives a vehicle on the “Lost” television production here pleaded guilty last week to a felony drug possession offense as well as to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.
Unfortunately, it only gets better worse from there…
Reynold Kamekona, 53, was arrested the evening of Oct. 21 on Kukui Street after he offered to pay the female officer $50 for oral sex, according to police reports. A plastic bag of crystal methamphetamine was found in his pocket.
He pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a dangerous drug and the soliciting charge before Circuit Judge Richard Pollack, who set sentencing for March 17.
Two hours after Kamekona entered his plea, Teamsters film and television driver Philip Asiata, who has worked for the “Lost” series part time, appeared before Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario to answer drug charges pending against him.
Asiata, who has a criminal record of more than 125 arrests and 52 convictions, pleaded not guilty.
What a racket…
Teamsters drivers hired for film, television and commercial productions are well-paid, earning as much as $3,000 a week. They are hired based on an internal union seniority grouping system that gives producers little say in employment matters.
Men with felony records have been working as movie and television drivers in Hawai’i since the 1960s, when the Teamsters “production unit” was first formed by labor patriarch Arthur Rutledge.
Rutledge defended the employment of felons in the unit, saying he was helping the men rehabilitate themselves.
In the Asiata case, Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario found Asiata mentally incompetent for trial and sent him to Hawai’i State Hospital for treatment and evaluation.
An expert who examined Asiata, Dr. Martin Blinder, said in a report to Pollack that Asiata is unfit for trial due to “polysubstance abuse” and an organic brain injury suffered in 1995.
And, in competition for the best quote of the day:
Blinder said Asiata told him that “before the accident, I was a heroin addict and used crack, but I don’t do drugs any more. I’m a Teamster.”
No, you really just can’t make this stuff up.
Several men identified by law enforcement here as organized-crime figures have worked as drivers for film productions in the past, most notably confessed professional hit man Ronald K. Ching, who was a driver on the “Magnum P.I.” television series while simultaneously feeding a $1,000-a-day heroin habit, according to court records.
Read the rest here.