As I am working on this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter today, I am not going to write too much on the ongoing sad and sorry saga that continues to unfold in a Hawaiian courtroom.
However, here is one update for you to peruse. Here is the Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s daily update on the proceedings.
I also received an update from Mike Uslan. You may recall that Mesa sued Uslan, who was involved with the H.E.R.O website (Hawaiian Airline Employees Repelling Ornstein.) In this case, “Hawaiian” referred to the state, not the airline, as Aloha and Hawaiian airline employees were involved in the group.
Keeping that in mind, Mike sent us a pretty long summary of what transpired yesterday in court — penned by a friend of his. According to the report, one could hear the “Darth Vader” theme being hummed by members of the gallery when Mr. Ornstein strode up yesterday to testify.
The notes on the day’s activities continued,
“On day two Mesa finished Pappaianou’s testimony and then presented three witnesses: Mesa’s IT manager, McKay Monson, their V.P./ Chief Info Officer Jeffery Hornberg, and CEO Jonathan Ornstein. I’ll abbreviate the first two witnesses, as J.O.’s testimony outshines anything that they testified to.
Pappaianou testified that he was able to see from 40+ feet away that Murnane was looking at porn, but stated that he took no action against Murnane at the time. [Some in the gallery suggested that we should do a CSI-like porn/ not-porn test from the same distance away in the courtroom. . .]”
The report continues, “There was more testimony from Pappaianou and the other two that basically discredited Mesa’s porn theory and made it quite obvious that the story was concocted recently. For example, the alleged porn that Pappaianou and Hornberg saw Murnane looking at happened in 2004. Since then the next time that Hornberg even thought of it was when he was asked to come and testify, last week. The evidence destruction happened in 2006.”
After Jonathan took the stand, I thought Hawaiian attorneys were right in making the point that there were potential Sarbanes-Oxley issues involving a recent Mesa press release. I had thought the same thing. According to the notes we received, this was the recent press release,
“in which, while stating that Mesa maintains the “highest ethical
standards,” Mesa fails to disclose to shareholders that Mesa’s CFO –the person responsible for public shareholder reports – was facing allegations of destruction of evidence that he was federally-mandated to preserve. J.O. admitted that he had reviewed and approved this press release. J.O. got flustered here and blurted out that they had no responsibility to issue any information at all under NASDAQ rules.
Hawaiian then established that in spite of Mesa’s ‘highest ethical standards’ they did nothing in the face of Judge Faris’ ruling that Murnane had lied. Hawaiian attorneys then brilliantly confronted J.O. with the Wall Street Journal article in which J.O. stated that ‘he took exception with the court’s conclusions’. As ‘the court’ was Judge Faris — the very man that J.O. was sitting in front of — this caused a bit of squirming on the Mesa bench.”
Oh boy. Who needs a new TV season when we have entertainment like this every day?
As for Ornstein’s testimony, as well as that of other Mesa employees, well, let’s just say it’s worth more commentary than I have time to give it today.
Ticker: (Nasdaq:MESA), (NYSE:HA)
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