By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Kazi Foods of Hawaii has closed its Pahoa KFC restaurant at the Woodlands Center.
According to written statement from the company, the restaurant closed down on Sept. 21. The statement said: “All 15 employees will be interviewed for possible transfers to other Kazi Foods of Hawaii-owned KFC or Burger King restaurants on the Big Island.” It also stated: “Kazi Foods of Hawaii is unable to comment further at this time.”
The Pahoa KFC opened in January 2011. This past May, HNMP filed a pair of lawsuits against Kazi seeking $312,000, claiming a breach of lease by the fast-food franchisee, alleging that Kazi failed to pay off a lien of almost $205,000 granted to Ivan Mochida Contracting Inc. in December for the restaurant’s construction and seeking eviction of Kazi from the restaurant’s premises.
The lawsuit also stated that Kazi did not pay its agreed upon share for construction of an extension road connecting the Kahakai Boulevard intersection at Highway 130 to allow access to the center, seeking $475,500 road construction is $39,553 plus accrued interest.
According to court records, on Aug. 20, Judge Ben Gaddis ruled in Hilo District Court that KFC’s lease with HNMP did not require them to pay for the construction of the Kahakai extension as part of improvement common areas, but granted HNMP summary possession of the restaurant.
A writ of possession, which ejects Kazi from the premises, was filed in court on Monday.
A sign on the door of the restaurant said: “To our valued customers we are close for bussiness (sic) thank you for your patronage KFC Pahoa.” The store’s phone was not answered on Thursday afternoon.
The company said that the Kazi-owned Burger King in Woodlands Center is not affected by the KFC closure.
Court records indicate that a similar suit for the Pahoa BK restaurant was settled and the case dismissed without prejudice — meaning the claim can be refiled, if necessary — on Sept. 11.
Kazi Foods of Hawaii is the franchisee of 26 KFCs in Hawaii, including three still in operation on the Big Island in Hilo, Kona and Waimea, and 32 BK restaurants, including four on the Big Island in downtown Hilo, Prince Kuhio Plaza, Kona and Waimea.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.