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Private Moments Adult store in Keaau draws landowner’s ire

Honolulu- from – W.H. Shipman Ltd. has gone to court to stop an adult video and lingerie store from operating in a shopping center across from Keaau Middle School on the Big Island.

Shipman, which owns the land but leases it to Keaau Plaza Inc. shopping center, filed suit yesterday in Circuit Court against the operation of the Private Moments store, which opened Jan. 8.

The suit seeks a court order to block the store, asserting that under Keaau Plaza’s lease terms, no sublease can occur without Shipman’s prior written consent, and that immoral or offensive uses are prohibited, according to a release from Shipman.

Ford Pascual, owner of Private Moments, told the Star-Bulletin the storefront is blacked out so no merchandise can be seen from outside and when anyone enters the front door, the rest of the store is blocked off with curtains.

He has posted signs prohibiting minors (under 18 years of age) from entering. The store is also closed for an hour after school lets out for the day from Monday through Friday, he said.

“I’m trying to cooperate with the school and following every law there is. … People crucified us before we even opened,” Pascual said of his first business venture with wife Leslie Pascual.

“This is a constitutional thing—freedom of choice, freedom of speech. I can’t see any reason why (my store) should be considered any more immoral or offensive than the tattoo parlor, pawnshop, a bar and Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts shop at Keaau Plaza,” he said.

“You guys (in Honolulu) got Victoria’s Secret. Here in Keaau we got Private Moments,” Pascual added.

The shopping center, which has fewer than 10 stores, is adjacent to McDonald’s on the Keaau-Pahoa Road about eight miles from Hilo. It is across from the middle school, public library and the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island.

“We were alerted by middle school parents and other community members,” said William Walter, president of Shipman, who has written objections from more than 100 Keaau and Mountain View residents and parents of students in nearby schools.

Pascual said he was not notified of the sublease restrictions until he was almost ready to open. He said neither Keaau Plaza head Jerry Nagakura or Shipman would agree to reimburse him for the $40,000 in renovations he has invested, or subsidize a move to another location. Pascual added that his store replaces a video store that carried adult material for several years.

Nagakura’s attorney Raymond Hasegawa said he would not comment because the complaint not yet been served.


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