by Andrew Walden
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is on another ‘Nation Building ‘Aha’ drive, but even with the offer of a $10,000-per-meeting bribe, sovereignty activists remain skeptical--as they should—and the dots connect right back to the last big scheme to loot the Hawaiian patrimony--Broken Trust.
Sovereignty activist Leon Siu, March 22, 2014, recites the history of OHA’s schemes:
“Before the Akaka Bill, there was the Native Hawaiian Convention (Aha Hawaiʻi ʻŌiwi), the product of years of preparation: electing delegates from each island, extensive community meetings, creating governance models to be considered at a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, etc. But when the state realized that there was a strong possibility that Aha Hawaiʻi ʻŌiwi would choose the independence model, the state suddenly yanked the funding, essentially freezing the process in place. Since then, every other OHA/State-funded governance initiative got its plug pulled whenever it arrived at favoring independence.”
Free Hawai’i has been running weekly video exposes of OHA’s latest ‘Aha since March 5. Like Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs claims, “This time will be different.” The April, 2014 edition of Ka Wai Ola features coverage of a March 14-15 “Nation Building Summit” at which “70 leading thinkers on Hawaiian sovereignty … pressed their call for unity at a statewide summit designed to adopt an ambitious set of goals to provide a jolt of energy to Hawaiian nation building.” 70 x $10,000 = $700,000.
OHA is going out of its way to give the appearance that it is pushing for a pro-independence outcome at the ‘Aha. This is likely aimed at pressuring the US Department of Interior. But even as OHA’s CEO Kamanao’opono Crabbe was pandering to the “summit” -- OHA Chair Colette Machado, Native Hawaiian Roll Commission Head John Waihe`e III, and others were in Washington DC secretly meeting with the US Department of Interior.
After Free Hawai’i exposed OHA’s duplicity, Crabbe admitted they were right—but offered money to buy off activists willing to go along. In a page 14 column, strategically positioned above an ad encouraging groups planning community events to apply for a $10,000 “’Aha Hui Grant”, Crabbe announces that OHA is “talking to people who may have previously opposed OHA and we’re pledging financial support to groups with divergent views on self-determination and sovereignty.” 70 x $10,000 = $700,000.
Crabbe then admits OHA is in secret negotiations with the Feds and that such negotiations are OHA’s job and are part of a “process” designed to bring something to the table:
“…there are so many things that are up in the air. We are committed to a process. The great value of this process is that it brings hope to our people.
“At the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, we will help facilitate and educate the people on all options for self governance. We are maintaining relationships with the state and federal governments…. Cutting off these relationships would mean we couldn’t bring the latest information to the table for the people to decide upon. So if you hear of ‘secret’ trips or backroom dealing, rest assured that we aren’t straying from the process. We’re doing our job to keep diplomacy alive and keeping all options open for the Hawaiian people.”
Crabbe’s admission came after Free Hawai’i, March 20, 2014 published, “THE PHOTO THEY DIDNʻT WANT YOU TO SEE” and followed up with a video which is drawing lots of attention in the Hawaiian community:
Caption: “Native Hawaiian Roll Commission Head John Waihe`e Sr., OHA Chairperson Colette Machado & OHA Trustee John Waihe`e, Jr. & Others With US Senator Mazie Hirono Before Meeting Secretly Last Week To Have Kana`iolowalu, The Native Hawaiian Roll Administered By The US Dept. Of Interior.”
OHA’s effort comes in spite of the fact that US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell travelled to Honolulu to address the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement convention September 4, 2013. Seeming to discourage talk of tribal recognition via executive order, Secretary Jewell told reporters: “It would be preferable to go through the process congressionally because that's a clear path forward. Other paths forward are less clear, and that's what we are assessing.”
Here is the March 19, 2014 Free Hawai’i video ‘Busted and Disgusted’ which spills the beans:
Three days later, Leon Siu wrote:
OHA also announced at the recent press conference, that during this new nation-building initiative, it was going to be "neutral," not advocating for any particular outcome like they did for 15 years where they spent around $20 million (in beneficiaries' money) to push for the now-defunct Akaka Bill. OHA's new position of neutrality should be treated with skepticism. As a state agency, OHA is hard-wired to an integration, nation-within-a-nation, American Indian tribe model (such as the Akaka Bill and now, Kanaʻiolowalu).
OHA made their "neutrality" announcement two weeks ago. But a week later (last week), OHA chair, Colette Machado; trustee, John D. Waiheʻe, IV; OHA attorney, the former Hawaii State Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein… made a secret trip to Washington, D.C. to talk to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Federal agency that oversees the affairs of American Indian Tribes. Also present were: John D. Waihe'e III (the former governor and current chair of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission); OHA Washington lobbyist Dennis Dwyer and other prominent state players.
What were they doing at the DOI? Apparently, to make another attempt to strike a back-door deal for (U.S.) "federal recognition" as an Indian tribe. Maybe they thought that by getting federal recognition right now, they could circumvent their own "Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention" that they just announced the week before! A few days later, at a so-called "governance" conference in Honolulu, when confronted about the secret meeting with the DOI (even other OHA trustees did not know about it), chair Collette Machado admitted and repented that they had made the trip.
So much for OHA's profession of "neutrality"! Old habits are hard to break.
The name of DC lobbyist Dennis Dwyer pops up alongside John Waihee III in Hawaii’s biggest crooked deals of the last three decades.
Dwyer shows up repeatedly to testify secretly in OHA trustees’ executive sessions where John Waihee IV sits as a voting Trustee. Now Dwyer is apparently being paid by either OHA or the Roll Commission (headed by Waihee III) to steer OHA’s negotiations with the US Department of the Interior.
Dwyer’s DC lobbyist firm Williams and Jensen is simultaneously a highly paid lobbyist for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and rail contractor Infraconsult.
Waihee and Dwyer both worked for the infamous Verner Liipfert lobbying firm representing OHA until 2001 and also representing the Broken Trustees in their effort to continue looting the Bishop Estate.
And what was it that Verner Liipfert was doing for the Broken Trust gang?
An Oct. 12, 1999, article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes the efforts of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate (KSBE) trustees in 1995 to evade oversight of their corrupt doings. The Trustees’ self-serving investments caused losses of $264,090,257 in 1994 alone. To avoid scrutiny, they considered moving KSBE corporate headquarters out of Hawaii to the windswept plains of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota.
In an apparent attempt to circumvent state and federal oversight, the Bishop Estate paid Washington D.C.-based (law firm) Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand more than $200,000 to look into moving the estate's legal domicile, or corporate address, to the mainland, sources said.
Verner Liipfert, whose local office is headed by former Gov. John Waihee, identified the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation as the top relocation prospect after reviewing the legislative, tax and judicial environments of 48 mainland states and Alaska.
The study was part of a broader effort by the former board members to lobby against federal legislation limiting trustee compensation and to convert the tax-exempt Bishop Estate to a for-profit corporation.
Twenty years later Waihee and Dwyer are at it again. This time their target is OHA instead of KSBE.