HILO — Hilo attorney Paul J. Sulla Jr. was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury on first-degree theft and second-degree forgery charges in connection with a narrow piece of land containing an easement road in lower Puna.
The two-count indictment states on or about Sept. 6, 2016, Sulla “with intent to defraud, falsely made, completed, endorsed or altered … a deed … .” It also states Sulla and Halai Heights LLC “as part of one scheme and/or a continuing course of conduct, intentionally obtained or exerted control over … a parcel of real estate … belonging to Leonard G. Horowitz and/or the Royal Bloodline of David, by deception,” with intent to deprive them of the property.
Halai Heights LLC is listed on the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website as a “real estate property management” company, with Sulla listed as manager. Sulla has disclosed in open court that the other member of Halai Heights is Jason Hester.
A bench warrant was issued for Sulla’s arrest. He will be released on his own recognizance without monetary bail required, according to Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville. Damerville said a penal summons will be issued for Halai Heights since a limited liability company isn’t subject to arrest.
According to the county Real Property Tax Office website, the 0.83-acre parcel of land referred to as “Remnant ‘A’” in the indictment is unimproved other than the easement road. It’s zoned agricultural and has both a total market value and an assessed land value of $27,100.
A warranty deed recorded Sept. 6, 2016, the date of the alleged forgery and theft, indicates a sale of the property for $450,000.
Horowitz, 67, a former dentist whose website describes him as a “clinician, prophet, scholar and natural healer” is an author, YouTube speaker and outspoken opponent of vaccinations. He’s been involved in several civil lawsuits against Sulla and/or Hester, as an appellant and a respondent, for more than a decade, and accuses the lawyer of — among other things — impropriety in connection with the non-judicial foreclosure process.
Earlier this year, one civil matter was remanded by the Intermediate Court of Appeals to the 3rd Circuit Court for further consideration.
“The motivation (for Sulla) was to steal a million-dollar property, and it was necessary to have that particular road, Remnant A, in order to access the principal feature of that property,” Horowitz said Thursday. “The main value of the property was to access the coveted steam vent and geothermal warm pools adjacent — which makes that property extraordinarily unique and was the purpose for which we bought it.
“… The adjacent steam bath house and sauna and the adjacent lot … which is our property as well, could not be accessed without Remnant A. So Mr. Sulla did a self-help. He realized he didn’t own it. He realized that the county had deeded it to the Royal Bloodline of David … .”
The civil lawsuits are in connection with two other properties, as well as Remnant A, including the one with the steam baths referred to by Horowitz.
Sulla, 73, denied the allegations in the indictment and said, “It’s ridiculous.”
“This is part of the civil matter Horowitz has cooked up, now,” Sulla added. “We’re not stealing anything. … There’s no criminality in this.”
Damerville declined comment on the civil cases.
“(Sulla is) charged with forgery in the second degree, which involves a deed to a remnant of land, and he’s charged with theft in the first degree regarding that remnant of land, and he’s presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” he said.
First-degree theft is a Class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment upon conviction and second-degree forgery is a Class C felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison upon conviction.