by Andrew Walden
Oahu First Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree’s June 25, 2019, “Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law” continues to send OHA insiders scurrying.
Crabtree ruled that Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) owned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are “state agencies” subject to Hawaii’s open records law known as UIPA and must within 30 days hand over "their check registers and income and expense statements."
As a result of the court order, OHA LLCs handed over the following records:
Responding to a separate UIPA request, check registers have been handed over for the additional four known OHA LLCs:
The next step is to analyze the records to determine what it was that OHA has been hiding in its LLCs.
The LLCs demanded payment for alleged costs and produced the records on paper—printed out from the original Excel spreadsheet files--in spite of a request for electronic records. This is designed to make it more difficult to search the records—but not impossible.
Click the links above and search the record yourself—who are the “beneficiaries” of the OHA “friends and family plan”?
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Also--As a result of Judge Crabtree’s order, OHA Trustees, July 25, 2019, voted to approve Action Item RM 19-08, revising a clause in the operating agreement of OHA’s LLCs which had previously allowed nepotism.
A 2017 Hawai’i Free Press article explains:
…In response to an open records request, Hawai’i Free Press has obtained copies of the Operating Agreements with which the Office of Hawaiian Affairs created its Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs).
Using identical language, each of the LLCs Operating Agreement Article 4.03.a, states: “…the Managers shall have the power and authority on behalf of the Company to acquire or lease any real or personal property from any Person, whether or not such Person is directly or indirectly affiliated or connected with the Managers or any Member….“
Obviously this clause opens the door to violations of State ethics laws regarding procurement, conflict-of-interest, nepotism, and self-dealing. OHA insiders with a controlling position in the LLCs, could funnel as much money as they want to as many friends and family as they wants while OHA subsidies and LLC operating revenues pick up the bill.
OHA has poured over $34M into the LLCs. …
Action Item RM 19-08 changes Article 4.03.a to read:
“…the Managers shall have the power and authority on behalf of the Company to acquire or lease any real or personal property from any Person, pursuant to the Conflict of Interest policy….“
This marks the endo of a decade-long period in which OHA operated the LLCs illegally under the now-debunked legal theory that the LLCs had somehow been transferred out of the State’s control.
But OHA insiders have not changed. Confronted with the failure of years of legal advice they have paid millions of dollars for, Trustees have recently grabbed ahold of what is for them a new tool for secrecy. PIGs –Permitted Interaction Groups—now allow OHA Trustees to hide their ethically questionable dealings, most notably the targeting of Trustee Keli’i Akina for having the temerity to speak up for ethics and transparency in OHA affairs.