Friday, June 14, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
OHA Suing the State - Enough is Enough!
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 10:02 AM :: 4024 Views :: Ethics, OHA

OHA Suing the State - Enough is Enough!

by OHA Trustee Keli’i Akina, PhD, Ka Wai Ola, March, 2020

Until recently, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs operated seven limited liability corporations (LLCs) that claimed to be private organizations not subject to state laws such as the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA). In other words, OHA's LLCs asserted that they were under no obligation to open their books to the public or other government agencies despite the fact that OHA has poured at least $34 million of public funds into these LLCs. That assertion was refuted in March 2019, when a state Circuit Court ruled that OHA's LLCs are indeed public agencies for the purposes of the UIPA.

Nonetheless, OHA is now standing in the way of a legislatively mandated audit of its LLCs by refusing to hand over privileged attorney client communications that arose during executive session meetings requested by State Auditor Les Kondo, prompting him to suspend the audit. In short, OHA has refused to hand the minutes over in unredacted form because OHA has asserted attorney-client privilege over the redacted portions. OHA and the Auditor are essentially disagreeing over whether the privilege is waived if OHA discloses the information, in unredacted form, to the Auditor. Now OHA has gone to court for a declaration that the State Auditor violated Act 37 by refusing to continue the audit, and that the auditor's refusal has resulted in the legislature's withholding of about $3 million in general funds due to OHA that legislators approved last year.

Upon learning of Kondo's decision to suspend the audit, OHA released an official statement on December 30, 2019, accusing him of not doing his job and attempting to "play politics."

As a sitting OHA trustee, I am in disagreement with the stance taken by the Board in this matter.  Our fiduciary duty is to serve the needs of Hawaiian beneficiaries, and ensuring a transparent, accountable agency is at the heart of being able to serve these needs.

To the public, the story of OHA's resistance to transparency is growing wearisome. If there is nothing to hide, why doesn't OHA simply cooperate fully with the State Auditor? The greatest benefit of cooperation would be an immediate upgrade to OHA's credibility, which is at an all-time low in the eyes of the public and the legislature.

OHA has been well aware of its crisis of credibility since at least 2015, when OHA commissioned a scientific survey to gauge public perception of the organization. The survey showed that among Hawaiian serving institutions, OHA ranked least favorable. According to those surveyed, this was due to a perception that the organization and its management "are ineffective, poorly managed, or corrupt" and "do not help or represent the Hawaiian people effectively."

Enough is enough! It's time for OHA to let the sunshine in.

---30---

Related:

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii