FOR THE RECORD: KALAELOA RACEWAY PARK
News Release from DHHL July 6, 2014
On June 16, 2014, the HHC took action on the commercial land dispositions that were not in compliance with their use agreements with DHHL. These Revocable Permit agreements terminated on June 30, 2013.
In one item of business, the Commission addressed SORT LLC’s petition for a contested case hearing. The Commission voted 9-0 to deny the petition.
In another item, the Commission decided to terminate 18 of 19 accounts, including SORT, LLC, by a vote of 8-0 (Tassill recused due to conflict).
On a further agenda item, the Commission approved accounts eligible for an additional one year renewal of the transitional right of entry granted by the Department. This list was approved by the Commission by a vote of 5-1 (Kaapu, Gomes, Ross Davis recused due to conflict, Tassill no).
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Questions and Answers from Rob Perez, Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
Q: I'm going to do a short story for one of our weekend editions on the recent action taken by the commission to terminate/not renew the rental agreements for the 19 former RP holders.
I was hoping to get an overall comment from you about that action to include in the story. The reasons for the termination/non-renewal seem pretty straightforward based on Exhibit A, but if you need to mention any extenuating circumstances for a particular case, please let me know.
A: The action by the Hawaiian Homes Commission reaffirms its commitment to native Hawaiian beneficiaries (50% native Hawaiian Blood Quantum) served by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). DHHL attempted to resolve noncompliance issues, but in the subject cases it was not achieved. Commercial dispositions including RPs and ROEs are a revenue generation vehicle for DHHL and this was an important step in clearing the way for a stronger program.
Q: I would like to mention in the story the status of the proposed revisions to the RP program. Will a proposal be presented to beneficiaries soon?
A: Recommended amendments to the RP program will be discussed at the HHC’s July meeting.
Q: I also plan to note that some permit holders took steps to correct problems to become compliant with terms of their agreements, such as the case involving Stuart Hanchett. Did he complete the removal of his home from the RP land on Kauai?
A: As of a site visit last month, most of the structure had been demolished.
Q: Finally, I’ll be mentioning the lawsuit that George Grace filed in April against Linda Chinn and Kalei Young and wanted to offer them or the department an opportunity to address Grace’s allegations or provide a general comment about the lawsuit.
A: The lawsuit against our employees was dismissed.
Q: I forgot to include one more question in my email. Is SORT able to continue operating the race track while DHHL and the AG’s office pursue termination of SORT’s rental agreement?
A: Demand that racing activity cease was delivered well before the Commission’s June action. SORT does not have a rental agreement. A demand to vacate the premises has been delivered. No one is authorized to occupy the property and therefore any racing activity thereon is also unauthorized.
Q: Thanks for the responses. I learned only today of the lawsuit that George Grace filed June 16 against the commissioners and DHHL. Can you provide a comment to address those allegations, some of which are similar to the ones from the April lawsuit?
A: Since this is a pending legal matter, DHHL defers comment to the Department of the Attorney General.
Q: In my story, I’m planning to say that the commission at its July meeting is expected to discuss for the first time the proposed rules to revise the revocable permit program.
That’s an accurate statement, yes? In other words, the commissioners have not discussed the proposed rules at a previous meeting. Or have they?
A: Yes. This is the first opportunity for the commission to discuss the recommended amendments from the assessment committee for the revised revocable permit program.
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