Carbon execs got nearly $500K
HILO, Hawaii - Big Island Carbon LLC's two top executives were paid almost half a million dollars in combined salary and expenses last year by the company that filed for bankruptcy protection in November.
CEO Rick Vidgen was paid $184,000 and Chief Operating Officer Fred Baker got $240,000, West Hawaii Today reported, citing court filings. Together, they were also paid for about $25,000 in expenses.
A third Big Island Carbon executive, Controller Gerald Gruber, received $130,000.
The company received $50 million in private venture capital money and a $5 million federal loan in 2010 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
There was no available record of the company receiving state money. Hawaii County Finance Director Nancy Crawford said there's no indication the company received any county funding either.
Big Island Carbon's Kawaihae factory was created in 2009 to convert macadamia nut shells into granular activated carbon. It filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 5.
Big Island Carbon had $15,353 in income in 2010, $38,845 in 2011 and $14,017 so far this year, according to court filings. Income came from shell sales, equipment rentals and interest.
Vidgen, Baker and Gruber, along with all 22 other employees, were laid off in early October.
The company is searching for new investors or a buyer for the assets of the almost-completed plant.
Airline to offer service to Taiwan
HONOLULU - Hawaiian Airlines plans to begin offering service to Taiwan next summer.
The airline says it will launch service three days a week between the capital city of Taipei and Honolulu.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines' president and chief executive, says the new service will be a convenient way for many in Hawaii to connect with family and create new business relationships, or just visit Taiwan.
Beginning in July, Hawaiian will become the only airline offering nonstop service between Taiwan and Honolulu. It plans on using its new 294-seat Airbus aircraft.
The airline's announcement comes soon after the United States said it would include Taiwan in the Visa Waiver Program. The program permits visa-free travel to the U.S. for eligible travelers visiting for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism.