Davis Price -- DUI Mugshot Courtesy ECRIM.
by Andrew Walden
Recovering from last week’s Hanalei floods, North Shore Kauai poi farmers appealed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) for financial aid at an April 26 Trustees meeting. Should their for-profit farming operations get a cash payout?
There is precedent.
Publicly available IRS Form 990s filed for the year 2015 show a for-profit Westside Kauai poi mill partly owned by Davis Price, office manger for OHA Kauai Trustee Dan Ahuna, received 'pass through funding' from OHA’s wholly-owned non-profit Hiilei Aloha LLC via another nonprofit, Supporting the Language of Kauai Inc.
Akamai readers will remember this from Hawai’i Free Press, June, 2017:
… attorney Davis Price, 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….
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. …
The 2015 990s from Hiilei Aloha LLC and Supporting the Language of Kauai Inc show that for-profit corporation Aloha Aina Poi Co LLC received up to $96,172 in 'pass through funding' from Supporting the Language of Kauai Inc which had been given $85,000 by Hiilei. Hiilei also transferred $23,000 directly to Lehua Poi Co.
OHA LLCs have been refusing a Hawai'i Free Press open records request for their complete check register for over a year. LLC managers are also still refusing to hand their check registers to OHA Trustees.
The IRS Code states:
The (501c3 nonprofit) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction.
It was IRS threats to invoke this clause that forced the corrupt thieving Broken Trustees of Kamehameha Schools to resign in 1999.
The Operating Agreement between Hiilei Aloha and OHA states:
The Company shall not engage in any activity not permitted to be carried out by a company exempt from federal income tax under Sections 501a and 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code….
Section 8.01 of the Operating Agreement and HRS 428-406 also prohibit grants to for-profit entities.
Hawai’i Free Press reached out to Davis Price for comment on the money transfer and the possible conflict of interest regarding requests for assistance by competing poi producers. He did not respond to our inquiry.