Sunday, March 22, 2015
Full Text: Hawaiian Roll Commission Releases Financial Records
By Andrew Walden @ 9:16 PM :: 8756 Views :: Akaka Bill, OHA
by Andrew Walden
In response to an open records request from Grassroot Institute, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has released the complete non-payroll check register for the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. The NHRC Expenditures report from inception to February 28, 2015 shows total expenses of $4,030,525.85. The check register totals only $2,999,969.69. The source of the discrepancy is not clear.
In late 2013, OHA trustees had voted to close out Kanaiolowalu. In an email exchange leaked separately to Hawai'i Free Press, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oswald Stender says as of October 2013 over $3M had been spent on Kanaiolowalu and "most Hawaiians are distrustful of the effort and just not interested."
An October 16, 2013 report on the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission FY 2014 Operating Budget to the OHA Committee on Asset and Resource Management shows 25% of names on the now-combined Roll are "without any contact information" boosting the report's estimate of "bad contacts" on the Roll to 45%. (ARM #13-09 last page)
Responding to Roll Commissioner Mahealani Wendt, Stender explained: "The one mission for the Commission was to make a list-not to build the nation. After spending over three million dollars with a goal of 200,000 registrants, the effort produced 20,000. When you add what was spent for Kau Inoa, OHA has spent over $10,000,000 for 120,000 registrants out of 500,000. When Kanaiolowalu had sign up booths at events that had 300 to 400 people in attendance and then signed up less than 10% of those in attendance, you need to ask 'Why?' For the many I have spoken to -- many are not interested; many are confused with all these lists; and many are distrustful of the effort. So after 12 years and $10,000,000- I say stop...."
But Kanaiolowalu was not stopped in 2013. According to a source close to OHA, "This prompted an agreement and deal. OHA would reconsider their 'no more money for Kanaiolowalu' vote and OHA would continue funding the Commissioners but it had to be part of the OHA Plan for Federal Recognition."
A year and a half later, Kanaiolowalu's spending of OHA's rapidly depleting Trust is in excess of $4M. But now, thanks to Grassroot Institute's open records request, we can discover where the money went.
The NHRC Expenditures report shows:
- $2,005,032 went to "Services on a Fee Basis"
- $1,060,545 went to salaries and fringe benefits
- $216,328 for rent, CAM, 'leasehold improvements' and misc.
- $114,963 in state and out of state travel expenses
- $94,251 for "conferences"
- $93,870 furniture & fixtures, other expenses, rentals, and supplies, software & equipment, and rental of equipment
- $55,014 for "parking" and "parking validations"
- $46,846 for "legal services"
- $44,699 for "Grants-in-aid-sponsorships"
- $8,788 for "honorarium"
These administration expenses --in excess of $3.7M-- were matched by less than $270K in expenditures for outreach materials:
- $143,119 for advertising
- $98,609 for printing
- $23,926 for promotional items
- $3,623 for postage
The check register reveals $1.775M went to five vendors:
- $673,485 paid out to Makauila, Inc ("Makauila is normalizing the Hawaiian language and perspective through the production and distribution of Native Hawaiian educational, language, and cultural multimedia content. Because of our unique competency in Hawaiian knowledge, we are a strong partner for Native Hawaiian organizations and institutions to effectively engage their target audience through media." Directors include KSBE operatives Leslie K Kimura and Ann Botticelli and Exec Dir is Amy Kalili, girlfriend of Roll Commissioner Naalehu Anthony)
- $574,946 paid out to ASIO Corp. ("Deployed innovative solutions including SMS based financial management, large scale ancestry verification, and infrastructure support for a worldwide voyage."--co-founded by Donovan Kealoha and Olin Lagon)
- $370,000 paid out to "1013" (A 'branding and production company' headed by Jason Suapaia.)
- $5,716 to convicted criminal and political operative Harry Mattson. (Associate of Norma Wong and Roll Commission Chair John Waihee III.)
- $151,422 to Norma Wong (Associate of Roll Commission Chair John Waihee III, and convicted criminal Harry Mattson.)
A much larger group received smaller checks:
- Tens of thousands of dollars of non-payroll checks made out to members of the Roll Commission, Roll Commission employees, and other individuals.
- Numerous checks made out to Hawaiian Civic Clubs and other Hawaiian organizations
- $23,679 paid to CNHA
- $10,384 paid to CNHA co-founder Robin Danner, a member of the Roll Commission
- $5,088 to Mahealani Wendt, a member of the Roll Commission
- $4,452 to Roll Commission staffer Raynette Suganuma-Carlson
- $2,349 to Diana Suganuma
- $46,846 to Ronald Sakata
- $10,000 paid in a single check to Marilyn L Khan (Hale o na Alii)
- $9,500 to John Garcia
- $114,874 to Ryan's Graphics Corp.
- $50,000 to Pacific Data Systems
- $45,000 to Makuakane Music (Kenneth Makuakane & Tasha Tavares, Hawaiian musicians.)
- $24,000 to SMS Research
- $40,031 to Mana Media, LLC (Controlled by John Aeto's Kalaimoku Group, LLC & PacificBasin Comm. LLC)
- $30,523 to Kalaimoku Group, LLC (John Aeto)
- $8,002 to Workflow One LLC, (HQ same buliding as OHA's old address: 711 Kapiolani Blvd)
*NOTE: Some of these numbers have been corrected from the original.
The pattern? Politically connected individuals and company owners receiving thousands of Kanaiolowalu dollars from the OHA Trust to fulfill nebulous responsibilities.
How did OHA get into this situation? Trustee Peter Apo at the January 27, 2015 ARM Committee meeting explains what happened in the Legislature in 2011: "So here we are negotiating the ceded lands settlement, two hundred million Kaka'ako, and in the eleventh hour, that bill gets inserted in Act 195. Okay? You either have to agree with Act 195 or we may not give you the two hundred million dollar settlement. That's how we got into Act 195. We had no control over that unless you wanted to turn down the settlement and so when we move forward and I don't know how many millions of dollars we're into that now...."
After signing Act 195 into law, then-Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed the five members of the Kanaiolowalu Roll Commission on September 8, 2011.
This is the record of Abercrombie's last 'gift' to the Hawaiian people.
PDF: Payout by Recipient in Declining Order
PDF: Roll Commission Check Register
PDF: NHRC Expenditures Report
PDF: ARM 13-09
PDF: Stender-Wendt Emails Oct 2013