by Andrew Walden
A private company controlled by Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) CEO Kamana’o Crabbe now possesses “sole title” to the 1,875 acres comprising Waimea Valley.
That’s the word from attorney Kimberly Greeley, “represent(ing) Hi’ilei Aloha, LLC, Ho’okele Pono, LLC, and Hi’ipaka LLC” in response to an open records request from Hawai’i Free Press.
Ownership of Waimea Valley, on Oahu's North Shore, was transferred to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as part of a $14M preservation deal in 2006. When OHA transferred title to Hi’ipaka, LLC in 2007, it was believed that the company was completely owned and controlled by OHA.
Greeley admits the Uniform Information Practices Act HRS 92-F (UIPA) “defines a government ‘agency’ as a …corporation…owned and operated or managed by or on behalf of this State….” But in response to a December 21, 2016 letter from the Office of Information Practices, Greeley claims: “Although created by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hi’ilei Aloha exists only as a separate, private, non-governmental entity…. There is no government control over Hi’ilei’s activities…. The Company’s management structure is completely independent of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs…. Most significantly, Hi’ilei’s activities are not a required function of any government.” Greeley continues: “Ho’okele Pono is similarly managed and operated privately….”
Greeley asserts: “Sole title to the land comprising Waimea Valley was transferred to Hi’ipaka LLC in 2007. The State does not own the valley nor any of Hi’ipaka’s other assets…. Nor is Hi’ipaka operated or managed by the State…. In sum, the State does not control or direct any of the Companies’ activities or business affairs and does not provide any funding for the Companies. The Companies activities are not a required function of any government agency. The Companies are not, therefore subject to the provisions of the UIPA.”
According to their DCCA business registration listings, the LLCs are managed by the same three individuals--Kamana'opono M Crabbe, Lisa Victor, and Hawley Iona—respectively the CEO, COO, and former CFO of OHA. An OHA source tells Hawai’i Free Press that the three are appointed Managers “in their capacity as OHA executives” rather than being named as individuals. This is supported by the LLCs Articles of Organization on file with DCCA and by a reference on the Hi’ilei Aloha website. The “Purpose” statement for Hi’ilei Aloha, LLC includes “supporting the mission of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.” The Hi’ilei Aloha website lists several of the LLCs—including a fourth one, Ho‘okīpaipai LLC, as “subentit(ies) of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”
Greeley’s response did not directly reference a fifth OHA LLC, Hi’ipoi LLC, but notes that “Hi’ilei Aloha…was created in October of 2007, initially, to serve as an umbrella organization for management of Waimea Valley and Makaweli Poi Mill.”
Is Greeley lying or has a secret coup transferred several major OHA assets to Crabbe and his cronies?
Office of Hawaiian Affairs financial statements record $34M in expenses attributed to Hi’ilei Aloha and Hi’ipaka since 2009.
What else has been stolen via OHA’s LLCs?
We intend to find out. Our open records request is for the complete check register for each of the LLCs from their date of inception. Clearly they have something to hide.
PDF: Greeley Letter
2015: Lawsuit: OHA Uses Corporations to Sidestep Open Meetings Law, Loot Assets, Line Cronies' Pockets
2008: Waimea Valley needs to be Saved from OHA