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Sunday, April 2, 2023
Charter School Corruption: Ten Years Later Felony Theft Whittled Down to Almost Nothing
By News Release @ 8:07 PM :: 2826 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

Department of Education, Public Charter School Employee’s Violation of the Fair Treatment law

Resolution of Charge 2023-1 (COMPL-C-14-00222)

Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission , March 24, 2023 (excerpts)

The Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) hereby resolves a Charge issued against Laara Allbrett (“Respondent Allbrett”), former Director, Halau Lokahi Public Charter School (“Halau Lokahi”), Department of Education, for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) chapter 84.

I. Facts

Respondent Allbrett does not contest the following facts:

a) Respondent Allbrett was employed as the Director of Halau Lokahi Public Charter School (“Halau Lokahi”), Department of Education, from 2001 through July 2014.

b) At all times relevant herein, as Director of Halau Lokahi, Respondent Allbrett was a state employee as defined in HRS § 84-3 and was required to comply with the State Ethics Code.

c) As Director of Halau Lokahi, Respondent Allbrett oversaw administration of Halau Lokahi. Respondent Allbrett had the authority to purchase, authorize the purchase of, and/or approve the purchase of goods and/or services, using state funds appropriated for Halau Lokahi for legitimate state purposes. As Director of Halau Lokahi, Respondent Allbrett was ultimately responsible for all Halau Lokahi purchases.

d) On or around December 21, 2013, Respondent Allbrett’s son graduated from the University of Hawai‘i Hilo.

e) In December 2013, Respondent Allbrett and others, including Respondent Allbrett’s family members, flew from Honolulu to Hilo to attend the graduation of Respondent Allbrett’s son. Respondent Allbrett purchased, authorized the purchase of, and/or approved the purchase of Halau Lokahi funds to purchase airline tickets for Respondent Allbrett and others for this trip.

f) In or around December 2013, Respondent Allbrett repeatedly purchased, authorized the purchase of, and/or approved the purchase of other goods and services using Halau Lokahi funds related to this trip. Including the cost of the airline tickets, Respondent Allbrett spent approximately $2,048.43 of Halau Lokahi funds on this trip.

g) In or around July 2014, Respondent Allbrett resigned from her position as Director of Halau Lokahi. Respondent Allbrett has not been employed by the State since the time of her resignation.

h) In January 2015, The Hawai‘i State Public Charter School Commission revoked the charter contract with Halau Lokahi for failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management and the resulting legal and contractual violations.

i) On or about October 30, 2017, the State initially charged Respondent Allbrett with felony theft in the second degree relating to the use of Halau Lokahi funds to purchase airline tickets for this trip. This initial charge was dismissed without prejudice on or about April 23, 2019. The State subsequently refiled the charge on or about August 26, 2019.

j) On or about April 13, 2022, Respondent Allbrett pled no contest with a deferred acceptance of pleas to the criminal charge of theft in the third degree. As part of the plea agreement, Respondent Allbrett was required to pay restitution to the State in the amount of $940.00. 

III. Resolution of Charge

Respondent Allbrett pled no contest with a deferred acceptance of plea in a related criminal case. As part of that plea agreement, Respondent Allbrett is required to pay restitution to the State in the amount of $940.00.

Given the violations of the State Ethics Code, the Commission believes it is reasonable, fair, and in the public interest to resolve this Charge by (1) issuing this Resolution of Charge, and (2) requiring Respondent Allbrett to pay an administrative penalty of $2,500 to the State of Hawai‘i. …

read … Full Report 

BACKGROUND:

2019: Why is the Hawaii Attorney General too busy to prosecute charter school corruption? -- After 16 months of delays emanating from the AG’s office, on April 23, 2019 Circuit Judge Glenn Kim tossed the State’s case against Laara Allbrett.  The former director of the now-shuttered Halau Lokahi Public Charter School evaded prosecution, “because the state took too long to take the case to trial.”

UPDATE June 23, 2019: State re-files single theft charge against former charter school director UPDATE from AG: “A felony information charging Theft in the Second Degree against Laara Allbrett was filed on the 19th.  The criminal case number is 1CPC-19-0000911.”

SA Editorial: AG mixup in Kalihi school theft case

HNN: Felony theft charges against a former charter school principal dropped

2017: Former Charter School Principal Charged with Theft  -- At one point, the school had racked up more than $400,000 in debt with $100,000 in undocumented expenses.  An audit of the school’s expenses found some questionable purchases, such as $12,000 for healing oils and acupuncture....

2014: Transsexual Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu, director of culture, Halau Lokahi Public Charter School

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