by Andrew Walden
Buried deep on page 58 of the State Budget (HB300) is a Grant-in-Aid for State Senator Kurt Fevella’s ‘reelect-me’ community group.
With Governor Green’s staff picking through the budget for possible line-item vetoes, Hawai'i Free Press asked Sen Fevella if he made any effort to recuse himself from voting on the $20,000 Grant-in-Aid application from the Ewa Lions Club Foundation.
Fevella did not respond to our request for comment.
According to DCCA BREG, Fevella has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Lions Club since 2018, the year he was first elected to the State Senate. But Fevella’s financial disclosures for FY 2019 through FY 2023 include no mention of any directorship positions.
The Hawaii State Ethics Commission explains: “The filing of an incomplete or false disclosure…constitutes a violation of chapter 84, HRS.”
Voting on legislation affecting a for-profit or non-profit organization in which you are a director, even if unpaid, is a violation of HRS § 84-14 and Senate Rules 83 and 85.
The Ewa Beach Lions Club, EIN: 47-3823446, has for years avoided providing detailed IRS form 990 breakdowns of its annual expenditures claiming, “gross receipts not greater than $50,000.”
The Lions’ January 12, 2023, GIA application provides a list of community events which conveniently just happen to help keep Sen Fevella in the public eye:
Annual Community Enrichment Events: (Special Needs Children Christmas Party, Ewa Beach Christmas Parade, Ewa Beach Easter Bash, Senior Valentine Dance, Halloween Trick or Treat, Vision Screening, 0ne'ula (Haubush) monthly cleanup, Socks for Soldier, monthly food drive, Veteran Cup Gift Set, Dick Beamer LEO High School Scholarship Program, and support services for our most vulnerable residents. These events perpetuate long standing traditions for Ewa Beach and provides a sense of pride and cultural identities for our residents.
According to the application, only $3,000 of private sector funds is available to support these functions, but the Lions’ website lists a whos-who of Ewa area interest groups as ‘sponsors’:
State Farm - Ewa Beach
McDonalds - Ewa Beach
Weed & Seed - Ewa
Boys & Girls Club - Ewa
Paradise Lua Inc
Ewa Beach Auto Repair
Ewa Beach Lions Club
Fevella’s group was recently criticized for spreading misinformation by the Principal of Iroquois Point Elementary School. The Star-Advertiser, May 2, 2023 reports:
On April 5 the school’s principal, Ofelia Reed, sent a letter to parents alerting them to “inaccurate information” being circulated ahead of an Ewa Beach Lions Club Easter celebration that included a water drive for the school….
“The misinformation states that our school is still being impacted by the Red Hill Water Crisis and that our students are required to bring their own bottled water daily for drinking purposes, as the basis for a community bottled water donation drive at the event,” according to a copy of the letter provided by DOE. “We want to reassure you that our water supply is safe for all uses and that this description is not accurate.”
Your tax dollars at work?
June 26, 2023, is the Governor’s ‘intent to veto’ deadline. Any veto or line-item veto must be handed down by July 11, 2023.