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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Ethics Commission Outlines Charges Against OHA Trustee Rowena Akana
By News Release @ 10:46 PM :: 1800 Views :: Ethics, OHA

State Ethics Commission issues Notice of Hearing re COMPL-C-15-00236, Hawaii State Ethics Commission v. Rowena Akana

From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, September 11, 2018

…NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a formal contested case hearing on the Further Statement of Alleged Violation will be held before the Commission on Monday, October 22, 2018, beginning at 9:00a.m., and continuing, if necessary, through Friday, October 26, 2018, and/or on subsequent days as ordered or directed by the Commission. The hearing shall be held at Bishop Place, Conference Room 611, 1132 Bishop Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813….

read … Notice of Hearing

Charge (excerpt)

Expenditures from Trustee Annual Allowance: Political Contributions

17. On or about February 11, 2014, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to make a political contribution to the Hawaii County Democrats, in the amount of $50.00.

18. On or about February 11, 2014, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to make a political contribution to the Democratic National Committee, in the amount of $50.00.

19. On or about December 5, 2017, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to make a donation of $500.00 to pay for entertainment for Kanaka Maoli, a Political Action Committee event.

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditures: Home Cable Television Services

20. On or about each of the following dates, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to pay Oceanic Time Warner Cable ("Oceanic") for home cable television service for her personal use, at a cost of approximately $80.00 to $90.00 a month:

a. November 20, 2015; b. December 20, 2015; c. January 22, 2016; d. February 15, 2016; e. March 5, 2016; f. April10, 2016; g. May 9, 2016; h. June 6, 2016; and i. June 30, 2016.

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditures: Services Above and Beyond Basic Home Internet Service

21. On or about each of the dates listed below, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to pay $80.00 or $82.00 to Oceanic or Spectrum for monthly home internet service, which she represents was for OHA-related purposes. Even if the use of Trustee Annual Allowance funds for home internet service was proper, however, the actual approximate cost of basic home internet service was only $47.89 per month:

a. October 22, 2016 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); b. November 24, 2016 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); c. December 20, 2016 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); d. January 20, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); e. February 13, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); f. March 13, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); g. April 20, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); h. May 20, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); i. June 25, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Oceanic); j. July 21, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum); k. August 24, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum); I. September 10, 2017 (payment of $82.00 to Spectrum); m. October 10, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum); n. November 20, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum); o. December 13, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum); and p. December 30, 2017 (payment of $80.00 to Spectrum).

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditures: iTunes Gift Card; Hawaiian Airlines "Premier Club" Membership; Home Security System

22. On or about September 18, 2013, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to purchase an Apple iTunes gift card from the Apple Store, Kahala, valued at $50.00.

23. On or about July 15, 2014, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to purchase a "Premier Club" membership with Hawaiian Airlines for $249.00. Such membership provided benefits including but not limited to check-in luggage allowance of up to two pieces at no charge, priority pre-boarding, "Premier Club Lounge" access at various airports, and a complimentary "Unlimited TV & More Pack" on certain air routes.

24. On or about September 9, 2015, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to purchase a "Canary" home security system from Verizon Wireless for her home for $209.41.

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditures: Food for Parties for OHA Personnel

25. Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to purchase food for parties for herself and/or OHA personnel, as follows:

a. On or about July 3, 2014, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds pay for food from 1132 Cafe & Catering in the amount of $268.59, for a "going away party" for a staff member;

b. On or about February 10, 2015, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds in the amount of $61.83, to pay for food from Zippy's, for a staff "birthday celebration";

c. On or about February 17,2017, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds in the amount of $25.00 for food that was purchased for a party for a staff member's "last day";

d. On or about December 5, 2017, Respondent AKANA used Trustee Annual Allowance funds to pay for food from Royal Kitchen, in the amount of $23.72, for a "pot luck" OHA Trustees' holiday party.

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditures: Donations to Hawaiian Humane Society

26. On or about February 20, 2014, Respondent AKANA used Annual Trustee allowance funds to make a donation of $50.00 to the Hawaiian Humane Society, an animal welfare organization that has no connection to OHA.

27. On or about August 8, 2017, Respondent AKANA used Annual Trustee allowance funds to make a donation of $25.00 to the Hawaiian Humane Society.

Receipt of Gifts from OHA Beneficiary (Payment of Legal Fees); Reporting of Gifts from OHA Beneficiary

28. During the time period of approximately 2015 through 2017, Respondent AKANA was engaged in a lawsuit she filed against OHA ("Akana-OHA Lawsuit"). The legal fees incurred by Respondent AKANA in the Akana-OHA Lawsuit were paid in part by Abigail Kawananakoa, an OHA beneficiary.

29. From approximately February 2017 up to and including September 2017, OHA Trustees, including Respondent AKANA, were engaged in a lawsuit filed by Kawananakoa against OHA. Respondent AKANA participated in at least one Executive Session meeting of the OHA Trustees regarding the Kawananakoa-OHA Lawsuit.

30. On or about June 22, 2017, Respondent AKANA filed a gifts disclosure statement with the Commission, reporting that she had received a gift of legal fees from Kawananakoa, valued at $15,960.43. Respondent AKANA did not report the date that she received this gift.

31. On or about August 29, 2017, Commission staff notified Respondent AKANA, through her counsel, that the June 22, 2017 gifts disclosure statement was deficient because it failed to provide all of the information required by HRS § 84-11.5 -- notably, the date on which she received each gift. Commission staff likewise notified Respondent AKANA's counsel that the Commission had not received any gifts disclosure statements from 2012 through 2016 disclosing previous gifts of legal fees, and inquired as to whether Respondent AKANA had any reportable gifts during that time period.

32. On or about September 8, 2017, Respondent AKANA filed an amended gifts disclosure statement with the Commission for the period of June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017 to report that she had received the following gifts from Kawananakoa:

a. Legal fees, valued at $447.28, on December 16, 2016; b. Legal fees, valued at $15,513.15, on April28, 1017; and c. Legal fees, valued at $6,000.00, on June 17,2017.

33. On or about September 26, 2017, Respondent AKANA filed a gifts disclosure statement with the Commission to report that she had also received the following, previously unreported gifts from Kawananakoa:

d. Legal fees, valued at $10,478.52, on July 1, 2015; e. Legal fees, valued at $9,521.48, on August 10, 2015; f. Legal fees, valued at $6,000.00, on March 24, 2016; and g. Legal fees, valued at $24,125.50, on April19, 2016.

34. The deadline by which Respondent AKANA was required to report the gift valued at $10,478.52, reportedly received on July 1, 2015, was June 30,2016.

35. The deadline by which Respondent AKANA was required to report the gift valued $9,521.48, reportedly received on August 10, 2015, was June 30, 2016.

36. The deadline by which Respondent AKANA was required to report the gift valued at $6,000.00, reportedly received on March 24, 2016, was due June 30, 2016.

37. The deadline by which Respondent AKANA was required to report the gift valued at $24,125.50, reportedly received on April 19, 2016, was due June 30, 2016.

Trustee Annual Allowance Expenditure: Floral Gift to Kawananakoa

38. On or about August 17, 2017, Respondent AKANA used Annual Trustee allowance funds to purchase a floral gift for Kawananakoa when Kawanankoa suffered an illness. The floral gift, which was purchased from Jr. Lou & T, cost $125.65. …

read … Charge 

More Documents:

February, 2018: OHA: Does Draft Audit Blow Blackmail Scheme? 

SA: Hearing set for OHA trustee accused of ethics violations  “Akana says most of the items were permitted under the board’s former personal spending policy and were approved by OHA’s accounting office.  She said she will argue that the Ethics Commission does not have jurisdiction over how OHA spends its trust funds — money set aside for Hawaiians from ceded-land revenues.”

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