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Friday, June 02, 2017
Conflict of Interest: OHA Audit Committee Member Secretly owns OHA’s Former Poi Mill
By Andrew Walden @ 11:19 PM :: 3580 Views :: Kauai County, Ethics, OHA

Mugshot not available

Davis Price -- DUI Mugshot Courtesy ECRIM.

by Andrew Walden

A key OHA insider working on the a proposed comprehensive audit of the agency has a hidden conflict of interest which ties him directly to Hiipoi LLC, one of the audit targets.

Trustee Dan Ahuna’s staffer, attorney Davis Price, one of five members of OHA’s Audit Advisory Committee, is, according to DCCA records, secretly an owner of the so-called Aloha Aina Poi Company, LLC which owns the former Makaweli Poi Mill on Kauai.  According to sources at OHA, Price accepted nomination to the Audit Committee without revealing his conflict of interest to Trustees.

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Qualify for employment at OHA: Describe how to squeeze $1M out of this poi mill.

Akamai readers will remember that Makaweli was the focus of the December, 2014, Ka Piko v OHA lawsuit.  The former owners of Makaweli had given the poi mill to OHA in hopes that OHA would run it for the benefit of Native Hawaiian beneficiaries.  Instead, according to the lawsuit, OHA insiders looted the poi mill’s assets and used the poi mill as an excuse to transfer nearly $1M of OHA assets to themselves and their cronies via OHA’s wholly owned subsidiary, Hiipoi LLC.  OHA CEO Kamanao Crabbe and Hiipoi manager Mona Bernadino were both named defendants in the lawsuit.

In December, 2012, Hiipoi, without public notice, gave away Makaweli to the for-profit Lehua Poi Company, LLC, which according to the suit was owned by “a friend and associate of Defendant Crabbe's, Al ‘Nakulu’ Arquette.”  DCCA records confirm Arquette's ownership of the now-defunct company.  The lawsuit plaintiffs assert Lehua was given $25K when it took over Makaweli from Hiipoi.

Lehua transferred Makaweli to the for-profit Aloha Aina Poi Co LLC in 2015.  According to DCCA BREG, Aloha Aina is “managed” by Kaina Makua.  It is only by purchasing the Aloha Aina “articles of organization” from DCCA that one may discover that Davis Price is Makua’s co-owner. 

May 25, 2017 OHA BoT--Mona Bernadino begins at 1:03:30 mark.

Price isn’t the only one involved in the cover-up.  Mona Bernadino, on May 25, gave a lengthy presentation on OHA’s LLCs to the OHA Board of Trustees.  Bernadino spoke extensively about Hiipoi LLC but made no mention of Price’s involvement.  

We have reached out to Price for comment.  This story will be updated if he responds.

---30---

2015: Lawsuit: OHA Uses Corporations to Sidestep Open Meetings Law, Loot Assets, Line Cronies' Pockets

2017: Randy Roth: OHA Copies Bishop Estate--Misusing LLCs to Hide from Law

Feb, 2017: Price, Ahuna, and Makua attempt to dig up entire island using 5 gallon buckets

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