by Andrew Walden (UPDATE Jan 2017: 2015-16 Check Register added to list.)
Who is more secretive, HART or OHA?
In June the Grassroot Institute obtained the HART check register within two days of their request--in searchable electronic format and at no charge.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is not so forthcoming.
Hawai'i Free Press submitted a public record request for the complete OHA check register in electronic form on April 8, 2015. It was ignored in spite of state law mandating a response within 10 working days.
We then filed a complaint with the Office of Information Practices April 24, 2015 which resulted in a letter from OIP to OHA dated May 1, 2015. This was also ignored by OHA. A second letter from OIP drew a May 15, 2015 response from OHA stating that the request would be granted--at a cost of $1560.00. Included in their calculation was 80 hours at $20 per hour for 'review and segregation' of the check register.
We agreed to pay and sent OHA an $874.55 down payment May 25, 2015.
On June 22, 2015 we received the records--in paper form stacked a foot deep along with a demand for the other half of the payment. We complained to OHA that we had requested electronic format, not paper, and a week later received in the mail a thumb drive with a useless ultra-low-res pdf of the paper records.
There is no sign that even one minute was spent on OHA "review and segregation" of the check register. Both the paper printout and the low res pdf are of course printed from a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel--the type of electronic record which would actually be useful to anyone searching the records. Whereas HART in two days provided Grassroot with the complete HART check register in searchable electronic form, OHA in two months provided what they hoped would be a useless paper record--and that only after we jumped over their artificially created $1560 obstacle.
In spite of OHA's attempt to circumvent UIPA, we have managed to make usable hi-res pdfs by scanning the paper printouts of the check register. And after about 20 hours of work we managed to transform the 2014-2015 OHA check register into a usable Excel file.
One interesting take away from the PDF -- The very first check on the very first page of OHA's 2014-2015 fiscal year is $25,000 written to convicted felon and mortgage scammer, David Keanu Sai. This would seem to support allegations that Sai was paid $25,000 by Kamanaopono Crabbe to write the May, 2014 'Kerry letter' questioning whether Hawaii is legally a state. The check registers also show Sai receiving $30,000 from OHA in the 2008-09 fiscal year, $30,000 in 2009-2010, and $10,000 in 2010-2011. According to an August, 2014 report in the Star-Advertiser, these payments were for Sai to write a book on Hawaii land titles--the basis of Sai's Perfect Title frauds--and the book has not been completed to this day.
More next week as we search through the 2014-2015 Excel file and cross reference with the pdfs from earlier years. Feel free to read through the check registers yourself and forward any tips to email@example.com.
Excel: 2014-2015 OHA check register
OHA Check Register PDFs:
2015-16 (added Jan 28, 2017)
2016-17 (added Oct 10, 2017)