1947 - 2005
Doug Ledet died in a small aircraft accident off the coast of Catalina Island in 2005.
There were two on board the aircraft with Doug at the controls, but only one body was ever found. When I first heard of the accident, I believed that Doug was the missing one and somehow orchestrated his departure to Mexico. Why would that be the first reaction to such a tragic accident? Because after working for Doug Ledet for 5 years, I had a glimpse into his devious mind. I have never met a man that lied and cheated without regard as he did. Even though there is a grave marker at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, I wonder whose ashes are inside.
okay, maybe he is not in Mexico
Doug and his wife Mieko had operated a successful air tour operation that focused on the Japanese visitors. In 1990 they were looking to develop a new terminal for their business. Doug contacted me to to talk about a possible design of his future development. Several months later I joined Circle Rainbow to assist. The building design changed from a modest facility (that I earlier commented on) to an outrageous 80,000 sq. ft. that did not have a business plan to reach success. The facility had 20,000 sq. ft. of hangar space and 60,000 sq. ft. of office space. This facility and all the deals that surrounded it was the primary demise of CRA.
Mieko's father Kenji Otsuka was a former Vice President of Honda Motors in Japan. In 1990, Kenji introduced Doug to a friend of his that could assist with financing a major project in Honolulu. Mich Investments loaned CRA nearly $8,000,000 by promissory notes before he stopped sending money. Doug put himself in charge of the project which became problematic very quickly. Every contractor had issues with Doug that resulted in walking off the job, lawsuits and those that stayed to complete stated they would never do a job for him again. A number of sub-contractors did their job on the project at the airport and then went out to his residence to continue their skills without a record of time and materials.
Doug started his construction on state land at the airport without having secured a lease for the land or his plans being reviewed. A few months later, CRA and DOT-A finalized a lease to allow this new investment at the airport to continue.
Doug NEVER paid a dollar back to Mich Investments in Japan. He continued to manipulate his position by connecting himself with other dubious characters.
James Downey is mentioned in the article above (Bar-K v STC). Jim arrived on the scene in 1997. I believed Jim was a con man, and he fit right in with Doug. Jim took space in the CRA building (no doubt there was an abundance). He set up a company called Airships Hawaii Inc.
Jim had photos and models of airships (dirigibles) in his office but I believe he would never actually receive one. Now that he was established in the CRA building, my opinion was that he moved to take advantage of the U.S. Immigration Green Card Investment Program (EB-5 Visa). He solicited foreign investors to invest in Airships Hawaii in return for a Green Card. There was a legitimate program but it was my understanding that Jim had his own rules. Doug Ledet may have not been directly involved but certainly knew enough and hoping for residuals coming his way.
Doug also saw an opportunity to get out of the looming problem with his debt to Mich Investments. Jim Downey and Doug came up with ideas and it was interesting to watch them to try to outsmart each other. In the end they both ran away with money in their pocket while leaving others holding the bag.
Meiko Otsuka Ledet was listed as President in certain cases to take advantage of the women, minority ownership opportunities. She didn't spend a lot of time at CRA but did have an office and it was actually nice when she was in the building. She was nothing like her husband.
At times, she would come by my office and we would talk about the business and I would bring her up to date on current operations. After a few visits, Doug made it very clear that I was not to talk with Meiko without him being present. It seems my updates would conflict with his conversations with her. He would tell her what she needed to know when she needed to know it.
The stories of Doug Ledet are endless. Certainly more than I should spend time with but enough so you may understand why Bob Yosaitis and I were compelled to start another company for our own self preservation.
Bob Yosaitis and I both left CRA without notice in April 1998. Any notice would have given Doug an opportunity to screw with us.(more than he already had) I remember the morning I told him that I was leaving. he asked if I would stay long enough to teach him the business, I told him that I tried for the last five years and he didn't seem interested, I'll give you one hour, what would you like to know. After he became aware of our interest in starting another company he went to war, dirty tricks and pranks abounded. He initiated a law suit against me that included amongst other things that I stole company files so I could start a new business. Needles to say that I didn't need files. This BIG lawsuit was settled out of court for $8,000. I pushed to settle rather than win in court at a cost of more than 10 times the amount in legal fees. Doug Ledet filed for bankruptcy in 2000. He petitioned to be allowed to be Debtor in Possession which was granted. A local attorney was appointed by the courts as the bankruptcy trustee. I called the trustee to let him know that I was interested in acquiring specific pieces of equipment and I truly understood the value of the equipment seeing I originally ordered it and I had $200,000 to spend. He informed me that Doug was in charge of all sales. I told him that he was putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Doug manipulated a number of sales to one party (paid collaborators) for a very low number stating to trustee that was the best he could get and the equipment wound up with another party for a higher price with Doug pocketing the cash. The creditors lost once again.
After CRA, Doug Ledet went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration as an aviation safety inspector (operations) which baffled many because his shenanigan's included his previous air tours operation. It was hard to believe he became a safety inspector with the FAA.
Too many stories until the end... maybe.