Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, January 05, 2020
OHA Sacrifices $3.2M to Hide Lawyer’s Conflict of Interest?
By Andrew Walden @ 7:23 PM :: 2761 Views :: Ethics, OHA

by Andrew Walden

Is OHA Board attorney Robert Klein covering up his own wrongdoing at the expense of OHA beneficiaries?

Former OHA CEO Kamana’o Crabbe is gone and OHA claims Crabbe’s departure shows the agency is cleaning up.  But the Board lawyer who signed off on everything is still in place.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is refusing to cooperate with a legislatively-mandated Audit of OHA’s Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs).  HB172, which became Act 37 of 2019, makes release of OHA’s $3,292,290 legislative funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21 contingent on the State Auditor completing “a financial and management audit of limited liability companies created and used by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”

For months, State Auditor Les Kondo has been demanding un-redacted copies of OHA Board of Trustees Executive session minutes—a normal procedure in audits of State departments.  On December 30, 2019, Kondo announced he has 'suspended' efforts to audit OHA due to OHA's refusal to cooperate.

According to minutes of a July 18, 2019 Board meeting, Kondo warned Trustees against attempting to withhold executive session minutes from state auditors.  Kondo also pointed out that the Auditor’s office would treat those minutes as confidential and would not release them to state and federal criminal investigators who are also looking at OHA.  Kondo also reminded Trustees that his office has the authority to subpoena the records and that OHA has in the past released executive session minutes to State auditors without concern.

OHA Trustees minutes show Klein advising Trustees on the Auditors request in Executive Session after Kondo’s appearance on July 18 and again on July 25, 2019.  Klein, on behalf of the Board, then penned a July 30, 2019, letter to Kondo refusing to provide unredacted Executive Session minutes. 

Kondo explains:

“…We requested minutes of the executive sessions convened by the Board of Trustees relating to the limited liability companies (LLCs) that were created by OHA or on OHA's behalf; according to Mr. Klein, OHA intends to withhold portions of the minutes containing communications with its attorneys and will provide us with only redacted minutes.…”

Klein’s $3.2M refusal may cover up his own deeds.  It is likely that most if not all LLC-related executive session minutes feature Klein’s personal participation.  When OHA Trustees go into executive session, it is Klein’s involvement which provides the excuse under a standard legal formula often repeated on OHA Trustee agendas:

“Consultation with Board Counsel Robert G. Klein, Esq. re: questions and issues pertaining to the board’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities relating to the State Auditor’s request for confidential and Attorney-Client privileged materials and information, Pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4).”

Pull the thread, unravel the sweater.

An auditor demands unredacted copies of executive session minutes in part to evaluate whether a board is misusing executive session to hide criminal activity.  If this is the case, Klein would have a personal motive to hide his involvement in illegally hiding any criminal conspiracies among OHA insiders behind the walls of an ‘executive session’.  Even if OHA insiders are not hiding criminal activity, Klein could have misused his authority to violate requirements of the Hawaii Sunshine Law.  If a lawyer is proven to be facilitating or participating in a fraud hidden behind the attorney client privilege, that privilege evaporates. 

Only an examination of the un-redacted minutes can determine which of the possibilities is the truth.  To prevent that examination and possibly protect himself personally, Klein has advised the OHA Trustees to embark on a course which the Legislature says will cost OHA beneficiaries $3.2M in State funding.

Here are two relevant passages from the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct:

Personal Interest Conflicts  -- [10] The lawyer’s own interests should not be permitted to have an adverse effect on representation of a client. For example, if the probity of a lawyer’s own conduct in a transaction is in serious question, it may be difficult or impossible for the lawyer to give a client detached advice….

Nonlitigation Conflicts -- [26]…Relevant factors in determining whether there is significant potential for material limitation include the duration and intimacy of the lawyer’s relationship with the client or clients involved, the functions being performed by the lawyer, the likelihood that disagreements will arise, and the likely prejudice to the client from the conflict. The question is often one of proximity and degree….


Sept 28, 2019: OHA Refuses to Cooperate with Auditor—May Lose Legislative Appropriation to Hide LLC Secrets

Dec 30, 2019: State Auditor Suspends OHA Audit Over Refusal to Release Records


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute


Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii


SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii