Maui Now Writes Often of Maui County Fire Fighters, Except When They’re Sentenced to Prison for Meth Dealing

Scene of the crime

Looks like we’ve finally found a Maui firefighter that Maui Now reporter Wendy Osher won’t write good things about. Or anything, it seems–though former firefighter Juanito Dudoit’s sentencing to 10 years in prison for selling methamphetamine out of the Kahului Fire Station happened yesterday, July 10, a search of the Maui Now site at press time failed to turn up a single mention of Dudoit’s name. In fact, the only Maui Now story dealing with Dudoit’s crime that I could find was this year-old unbylined post published at the time of his arrest that doesn’t even mention his name.

This isn’t surprising, given that Osher’s view of journalism is to write nothing but good things about Maui’s police and fire establishment: when they roll on a fire, when they battle forest fires, when they get promoted. Indeed, a few months ago she completed a five-year term–while still working as a reporter covering the fire department–as a commissioner on the Maui County Fire & Public Safety Commission (though her term ended at the end of March, Osher’s name still appears on the commission’s website).

Still, you’d think a story about how a firefighter with 20-plus years of experience sold drugs (for five years!) out of the Kahului Fire Station and even to his fellow Maui firefighters would merit some sort of coverage in Maui Now, which prides itself on really covering the county’s public safety departments. The Maui News certainly wrote about the story–it was on their front page of their July 11 issue. The most chilling part came about halfway in:

In a portion of his statement to lead investigator Keoki Santos that Dudoit didn’t want written down, Dudoit said ‘he distributed methamphetamine to other firemen at the Kahului Fire Station,’ [Deputy Prosecutor Tracy] Jones said. ‘He didn’t want to give up the names,’ she said. ‘He also related he has distributed methamphetamine to engine, hazmat and rescue crews.’

So… there are unknown numbers of Maui County firefighters and rescue personnel that were buying Dudoit’s meth? Actually, no, I was wrong: this isn’t a story–it’s a disaster.

Here’s hoping Maui Now proves me wrong and ends up writing about Dudoit. Their readers certainly deserve it.

Photo: County of Maui