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Saturday, August 29, 2020
Ethics: DoH Employee Fined $25K for Running Private Business on State Time
By News Release @ 4:50 PM :: 2486 Views :: Ethics, Health Care, Labor, Small Business

Resolution of Investigation 2020-5 (COMPL-I-19-00300) Office of Health Care Assurance, Department of Health, Nurse Consultant’s Alleged Violations of Fair Treatment Law and Conflicts of Interests Law

Editor's Note: ...DoH is too busy to respond to the State Auditor and too busy to organize contact tracing because they are working real estate deals on State time with the Board and Care home operators they regulate.  And their union wants them to be paid to 'work' from home again....

From Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission , August 28, 2020 (excerpts)

The Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) has resolved an investigation of Roel Salanga (“Respondent Salanga”), Nurse Consultant, Office of Health Care Assurance, Department of Health (“DOH”), for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) chapter 84. …

c) The DOH Office of Health Care Assurance licenses adult residential care homes. At all times relevant herein, Respondent Salanga was responsible for performing on-site inspections of adult residential care homes to ensure that they complied with state licensing requirements. Adult residential care homes are subject to both annual and unannounced DOH inspections. …

e) Respondent Salanga, at all times relevant herein, was privately employed as a licensed real estate salesperson by a real estate brokerage firm.

f) In or around September 2018, Respondent Salanga performed an on-site inspection of a certain adult residential care home (“ARCH” or “care home”). Respondent Salanga had not previously inspected the care home or met the operator of the care home (“ARCH Operator A”). During the inspection, Respondent Salanga learned from ARCH Operator A that she wanted to expand her care home business and was interested in purchasing a “care home ready” property to use as a second care home. Respondent Salanga learned that ARCH Operator A was renting the property on which she was operating her current care home. Respondent Salanga was informed that ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law would help ARCH Operator A and ARCH Operator A’s husband in purchasing a second care home, which would be occupied by ARCH Operator A, ARCH Operator A’s husband, and ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law, along with the clients of the care home.

g) Respondent Salanga informed ARCH Operator A that he had a private job as a real estate salesperson and offered his services to find a care home ready property for ARCH Operator A’s care home business. At the conclusion of the inspection, Respondent Salanga gave ARCH Operator A his private business card, which included his name, the name of the real estate brokerage firm he worked for, his personal email address, and his personal cell phone number.

h) At the conclusion of the inspection, Respondent Salanga also reviewed with ARCH Operator A a preliminary report of deficiencies in her care home that he found during the inspection, which needed correction.

i) ARCH Operator A accepted Respondent Salanga’s offer to represent her in finding a property for her care home business.

j) Beginning in approximately September 2018 and into June 2019, Respondent Salanga, using a non-state email account, sent dozens of emails to ARCH Operator A to apprise her of property listings; Respondent Salanga sent many of these emails to ARCH Operator A during state working hours. Respondent Salanga also accompanied ARCH Operator A to visit at least one property for potential use as a care home.

k) Following his inspection of ARCH Operator A’s care home, Respondent Salanga communicated with ARCH Operator A via a non-state email account about correcting the deficiencies discovered during the inspection. For example, in one such email communication in October 2018, which Respondent Salanga sent to ARCH Operator A during state working hours, Respondent Salanga instructed ARCH Operator A to send her plan of corrections to his state office as soon as possible. In the same communication, Respondent Salanga asked ARCH Operator A if she had any interest in property listings he had previously sent her, and if not, he could keep looking for properties for her.

l) At some point, Respondent Salanga was informed that ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law no longer wished to live in the same house as ARCH Operator A’s care home clients; ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law instead wanted to purchase a property as a residence for herself and family members only, including ARCH Operator A and ARCH Operator A’s husband (“family residence”). Respondent Salanga emailed property listings to ARCH Operator A and also accompanied ARCH Operator A and her mother-in-law to visit open houses on Sundays.

m) In or around January 2019, ARCH Operator A informed Respondent Salanga that she (ARCH Operator A) had found a potential family residence property on her own and wanted to visit it. Respondent Salanga contacted the real estate agent representing the seller of the property and arranged for ARCH Operator A and her mother-in-law to visit the property.

n) In or around late January 2019, ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law, represented by Respondent Salanga as her real estate agent, submitted an offer to purchase the property. The agreed-to sales price for the property was $910,000, and an escrow account was opened.

o) In or around early February 2019, ARCH Operator A deposited into escrow a check in the amount of $3,000, as an initial deposit towards the purchase of the property. The check was signed by ARCH Operator A and drawn from a bank account that she used for her care home business.

p) In or around late January and February 2019, Respondent Salanga, during state working hours, sent several email messages to ARCH Operator A and to the escrow company relating to the sale of the property to ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law. Respondent Salanga used a non-state email account to send these email communications.

q) As stated in paragraphs j) and p), above, Respondent Salanga – using a non-state email account – sent dozens of email communications to ARCH Operator A regarding property listings; he also sent several email communications to ARCH Operator A and the escrow company relating to the sale of the property to ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law. On over 20 occasions, Respondent Salanga sent these email communications during state working hours.

r) The sale of the property to ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law closed on or about March 1, 2019.

s) Respondent Salanga, by representing ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law as the buyer of the property, earned a commission in the amount of $22,750.00 for the real estate brokerage firm he worked for. Out of that amount, Respondent Salanga received a commission of $9,947.50.

t) After the sale of the property to ARCH Operator A’s mother-in-law closed (on or about March 1, 2019) and into June 2019, Respondent Salanga continued to send email communications to ARCH Operator A to apprise her of listings of potential properties for her care home business. Respondent Salanga stopped emailing property listings to ARCH Operator A when she informed him that she was no longer interested in expanding her care home business.

u) Respondent Salanga served as the inspector of ARCH Operator A’s care home until approximately September 2019.

v) In or around March 2019, Respondent Salanga performed an on-site inspection of another adult residential care home. Respondent Salanga had not previously inspected this care home and had not previously met the care home operator (“ARCH Operator B”). At the conclusion of the inspection, ARCH Operator B asked Respondent Salanga about the state requirements applicable to care homes. ARCH Operator B explained that her personal circumstances were changing, such that she would be moving her clients out of the current care home and was considering either renovating an existing house or buying a house to use as a care home. Respondent Salanga informed ARCH Operator B that he had a private job as a real estate salesperson and offered his services to find a property for her care home business.

w) At the conclusion of the inspection, Respondent Salanga also reviewed with ARCH Operator B a preliminary report of deficiencies in her care home that he had found during the inspection, which needed correction.

x) Beginning in approximately March 2019 and into June 2019, Respondent Salanga emailed ARCH Operator B several times to apprise her of property listings. Respondent Salanga sent these email communications to ARCH Operator B via a non-state email account during non-state working hours. ARCH Operator B later informed Respondent Salanga that she decided not to buy a property and instead would renovate a house for use as a care home. …

III. Resolution of Investigation

Respondent Salanga admits to violating the Fair Treatment law (HRS §§ 84-13(a), 84-13(a)(1), 84-13(a)(3), and 84-13(a)(4)) and the Conflicts of Interests law (HRS §§ 84-14(a) and 84-14(b)).5

Respondent Salanga has not previously been the subject of a Commission investigation. He cooperated fully with the Commission in its investigation.

Given Respondent Salanga’s admissions to having violated the State Ethics Code, the Commission believes it is reasonable, fair, and in the public interest to resolve the investigation by (1) issuing this Resolution of Investigation, (2) requiring Respondent Salanga to pay an administrative penalty of $25,000.00 to the State of Hawai‘i, and (3) referring this matter to DOH for further disciplinary action as appropriate.

read … Full Report

DLIR Jan 2020: Report: HIOSH has the Ethics of a Used Car Salesman

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