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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a slush fund—Where is the money going?
By Andrew Walden @ 9:54 PM :: 3247 Views :: Ethics, OHA

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a slush fund—Where is the money going?

by Andrew Walden 

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a slush fund.  

OHA obtains an annual state appropriation fixed by the legislature.  Customarily, the appropriation estimates a 20% cut of ‘ceded lands’ revenues.  Efforts by OHA to expand ceded lands revenues serve to steer Hawaii towards greater and greater reliance on the tourism industry by repressing alternatives.  Given the predominance of entertainers on the OHA Board of Trustees, this should not be a surprise.

In spite of the relatively manini amounts involved, the cost of acquisition is very high—for instance:

OHA gets a 20% cut of state harbors revenues, thus increasing consumer prices for all imported goods.  OHA’s take for your misery?  A paltry $77M.

OHA supports litigation and legislation designed to restrict the availability of developable land, thus increasing the cost of housing.     

Housing and the high cost of goods are key factors driving the exodus of locals from Hawaii.

Ironically, OHA is repeating the error of Hawaiian Kingdom royals who exploited their own people and relied on an alliance with businessmen.

Looking forwards, OHA seeks expanded revenues from telescope leases on Mauna Kea and military leases statewide.  Anti-telescope and anti-military protesters are controlled by OHA insiders who see the upcoming master lease renewals as an opportunity to get more money for themselves. 

The result:

  • America’s defense posture is compromised.
  • Perfectly good telescopes are being dismantled and shipped off to Chile where science is appreciated.  
  • Military and scientific employment opportunities are lost and Hawaii becomes that much more reliant on tourism. 

In other words, the cost of acquisition is extreme.  But since OHA isn’t paying, OHA doesn’t care.

That’s the income side of the transaction: But what about the expense side?  Where is this ceded-lands money going?

Hawai’i Free Press has obtained a copy of the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Office of Hawaiian Affairs check register in response to an open records request.

The register shows 1,957 checks totaling $35,665,490.47--a spending increase of $2,894,471.42 or 8.8% from last year.

View the check register here:

Which insiders are enjoying the cash flow? 

$12.7M goes to these big winners:

  1. Kanu o ka Aina $3.1M
  2. Kuilei Consulting $2.7M
  3. DHHL $2.3M  (DHHL was promised $3M)
  4. NHLC $1.2M
  5. Resources Connection LLC $1.2M
  6. Alu Like $670K
  7. Marsh $444K
  8. Oahu Publications, Inc (Publishes Star-Adv) $220K
  9. Klein LLLC $211K
  10. Forest Solutions, LLC $211K
  11. Solutions Pacific $199K
  12. Denton’s $177K

Kakaako Goes Out With a Bang

Kuilei Consulting, Inc -- Karl Veto Baker raked in $2,751,674.90, a 229% increase from the $1,199,275.57 Kuilei took for 2021-22, to pay insiders for promoting OHA’s Kakaako Makai development schemes. 

READ: “Dead Bodies, Convicted Felons and Kakaako Makai: Meet the new Gang at OHA.”   

Incorporated April 2, 2021, Kuilei has been raking in OHA money since January 6, 2022.   But this may be nearing the end.  In the 2024 legislative session, OHA did no Kakaako Makai lobbying.   Instead of buttonholing legislators, Veto Baker began the year by racking up $1,000 per day fines from the DPP for promoting a luau at his Pauoa Valley home.

CB Dec, 2022: “Budget documents from last year show OHA has either spent or committed $4 million for Kakaako Makai operations.”

DO THE MATH: $1,199,275.57 + $2,751,674.90 = $3,950,950.47  What a coincidence!

Here is the breakdown:

$3.9M -- Lobbyists, PR, Kakaako Makai

  • $2,751,674.90 Kuilei Consulting, Inc
  • $167,367.01 Kalaimoku Group / John Aeto (advertising)       
  • $444,505.36 paid to Broken Trust DC Lobbyists Marsh USA Inc.
  • $199,123.67 Solutions Pacific (Ray Soon)
  • $220,493.87 Oahu Publications, Inc (Publishes Star-Adv)
  • $78,000.00  Hawaii Public Policy Advocates, LLC
  • $14,100.00 Strategies 360. Inc
  • $13,852.99 Strategic Communication Solutions, LLC (Nathan Hokama)
  • $12,487.50 Digital Moku

Robin Danner Etal -- $81,035.53 (down each year from $262K, $576K, $977K)

$2.4M -- Consultants, Computer Software, Engineering, Training and Marketing

Spending doubled from last year – the difference all goes to Resources Connection LLC 

$1.7M to Lawyers (NHLC and Klein big winners)

Over $390K to Banks and Investment Advisors:

  • $382,181.24 paid to Bank of America.
  • $0 paid to Bank of Hawaii—was $1.7M last year.  (Apparently the mortgage on OHA HQ is finally paid off.  See: Surprise: Entire OHA Trust Fund Frozen by Gentry Pacific Boondoggle)
  • $8,107.14 paid to First Hawaiian.
  • $0  Orrick, Harrington (investment consultants was $50K last year—who is advising OHA on stock market?) 
  • $0  SEGAL ADVISORS, INC. (investment consultants was $70K last year-- who is advising OHA on stock market?)

Other Highlights found by searching the register include

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