OHA Trustee Candidates Aila and Kiaaina ‘Instrumental’ in OHA’s Biggest Boondoggle
by Andrew Walden
OHA Trustee candidates Esther Kia'aina and William Aila claim OHA needs reform, but their record shows they are part of the problem.
In publicity interviews at the time of their campaign announcement they let the cat out of the bag:
“Aila and Kia'aina say they were ‘instrumental’ in Hawaii’s successful bid to host the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress.” – Civil Beat, Oct 31, 2017
A State Auditor's report, released four months later, cites OHA’s $500,000 co-sponsorship of IUCN as a the largest single example of “Spending on Loosely Administered, Non-Competitive Awards” which cause “the Fiscal Reserve (to be) spent down rapidly.”
OHA CEO Kamana'opono Crabbe as ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at IUCN, Waikiki, September, 2016.
IUCN has been tagged as a ‘Greenwashing Event’ funded by Shell Oil. Why would they need OHA money?
Activist Mililani Trask explained to the OHA Board of Trustees Jan 26, 2017: “(OHA CEO Kamana'opono) Crabbe gave the IUCN conference a $500,000.00 gift of trust funds on so he could be the Master of Ceremonies of a gala Hollywood style opening ceremony at the IUCN Conference in Honolulu. He brought in, at the Trust’s expense, dozens of his friends to dance, chant and pose for the media. These expenditures did not benefit our Hawaiian Peoples and were a flagrant Breach of Trust. OHA Trustees did not approve these expenditures until after Crabbe made he commitment and thereafter, on the advice of Klein, voted to support it to avoid possible litigation!”
According to the Audit Report (pg21), that BoT approval came in October, 2014.
The Audit Report (pg 21) points to: “action items we tested were missing multiple items, including two — $500,000 for the IUCN Congress and $100,000 for the trip to New Zealand — that provided only proposal letters as support for the funding requests. The information most frequently missing from or unclear in the action items were: (1) authorized use; (2) why the request could not be funded through the budget; and (3) urgency and impact to OHA.”
The involvement of Kia'aina and Aila in an expensive project designed to boost Crabbe should be of no surprise. They have been working hand-in hand with Crabbe for years.
November, 2009: Esther Kia'aina and Kamana'opono Crabbe were both appointed on the same day to top positions at OHA by former CEO Clyde Namuo--Kia'aina as “Chief Advocate” and Crabbe as “Research Director.” Kia'aina and Crabbe would work side-by side for the next two years.
2011: Namuo quits as OHA CEO to become become Executive Director of Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. Crabbe becomes OHA CEO.
2012: Kia’aina runs for US Congress in District 2 but comes in third getting only 5.7% of the vote in the Democratic Primary. Kia’aina 2012 Campaign donors include: Crabbe supporter and current OHA Trustees Chair Collette Machado, FedRec Profiteer Anthony Na’alehu, and crooked DoI appointee Tony Babauta—an associate of Robin Danner who would, in November, 2012, be fired by the Obama Administration.
2013: DLNR News Release, July 19, 2013 -- “As part of the transition (to a new administrator of the State Historic Preservation Division), a screening committee consisting of DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Deputy Director Esther Kia'aina, OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamana'opono Crabbe, and University of Hawaii anthropology and ethnic studies professor Ty Kawika Tengan has been established to review applications and interview candidates.” Abercrombie’s DLNR Chair Aila would announce Alan Downer as the next SHPD administration in November, 2013.
2014-2016: Kia'aina and Aila “were ‘instrumental’ in Hawaii’s successful bid to host the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress.”
According to her LinkedIn page, Kia’ana’s current sinecure as Executive Director of the Pacific Basin Dev Council (PBDC) began in October, 2017—just as she announced her campaign. PBDC is located at OHA's old HQ building and has been a revolving door with OHA admin in the past.
Hawai’i Free Press asked Aila and Kia’aina how they respond to the calls for Crabbe’s ouster in wake of the State Auditor’s report. They did not reply to our inquires -- but their campaign rhetoric shows their focus is entirely on punishing OHA Trustees who oppose Crabbe. Conveniently, the three Trustees who most consistently support Crabbe—Dan Ahuna, Robert Lindsey, Collette Machado-- are not up for reelection this year.
Will the thousand dollar crooks who oppose Crabbe be pushed aside by Aila and Kia'aina to enable OHA's continuing multi-million dollar graft? This year, ‘Throw out the bums’ might mean ‘keep Crabbe’ if voters pick the wrong replacements.
February, 2018: Crabbe: Who is the Auditor to Judge ME?
March, 2018: OHA: Does Draft Audit Blow Blackmail Scheme?
April, 2018: Land and Power: Abercrombie, Delacruz Behind Slate of OHA Trustee Candidates
April, 2018: Sam King Announces OHA Candidacy