The Hawai`i Superferry was sailing under a facade of success in the summer of 2008 — boasting of record ridership — but it had already begun to shortchange the state on its monthly fees, according to an Associated Press review of Department of Transportation records.

The company's inability to pay fully in July indicates it was in troubled waters nine months before the Hawai`i Supreme Court decision widely blamed for the ferry's closure came in March, 2009. The court overturned a state law that allowed the Superferry to operate while an environmental impact statement was being conducted.

Two months later, the $300 million Superferry — which had as its large ambition changing the way residents and visitors traveled between the state's four major islands — filed for bankruptcy.

Following months of low booking numbers, extensive legal wranglings and Kaua`i protesters who rode kayaks and surfboards to prevent the Superferry from landing, the ferry company ran out of money.

Neither the company nor the state had disclosed that the ferry service couldn't make its required payments until the the DOT released the Superferry's payment records at the AP's request.
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