Saturday, July 20, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Full Text: Hawaiian Roll Commission Releases Financial Records
By Andrew Walden @ 9:16 PM :: 13550 Views :: Akaka Bill, OHA

by Andrew Walden

In response to an open records request from Grassroot Institute, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has released the complete non-payroll check register for the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.  The NHRC Expenditures report from inception to February 28, 2015 shows total expenses of $4,030,525.85. The check register totals only $2,999,969.69. The source of the discrepancy is not clear. 

In late 2013, OHA trustees had voted to close out Kanaiolowalu.  In an email exchange leaked separately to Hawai'i Free Press, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oswald Stender says as of October 2013 over $3M had been spent on Kanaiolowalu and "most Hawaiians are distrustful of the effort and just not interested." 

An October 16, 2013 report on the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission FY 2014 Operating Budget to the OHA Committee on Asset and Resource Management shows 25% of names on the now-combined Roll are "without any contact information" boosting the report's estimate of "bad contacts" on the Roll to 45%. (ARM #13-09 last page)

Responding to Roll Commissioner Mahealani Wendt, Stender explained: "The one mission for the Commission was to make a list-not to build the nation.  After spending over three million dollars with a goal of 200,000 registrants, the effort produced 20,000.  When you add what was spent for Kau Inoa, OHA has spent over $10,000,000 for 120,000 registrants out of 500,000.  When Kanaiolowalu had sign up booths at events that had 300 to 400 people in attendance and then signed up less than 10% of those in attendance, you need to ask 'Why?'  For the many I have spoken to -- many are not interested;  many are confused with all these lists; and many are distrustful of the effort.  So after 12 years and $10,000,000- I say stop...."

But Kanaiolowalu was not stopped in 2013.  According to a source close to OHA, "This prompted an agreement and deal. OHA would reconsider their 'no more money for Kanaiolowalu' vote and OHA would continue funding the Commissioners but it had to be part of the OHA Plan for Federal Recognition."

A year and a half later, Kanaiolowalu's spending of OHA's rapidly depleting Trust is in excess of $4M.  But now, thanks to Grassroot Institute's open records request, we can discover where the money went.

The NHRC Expenditures report shows:

  • $2,005,032 went to "Services on a Fee Basis"
  • $1,060,545 went to salaries and fringe benefits
  • $216,328 for rent, CAM, 'leasehold improvements' and misc.
  • $114,963 in state and out of state travel expenses
  • $94,251 for "conferences"
  • $93,870  furniture & fixtures, other expenses, rentals, and supplies, software & equipment, and rental of equipment
  • $55,014 for "parking" and "parking validations"
  • $46,846 for "legal services"
  • $44,699 for "Grants-in-aid-sponsorships"
  • $8,788 for "honorarium"

These administration expenses --in excess of $3.7M-- were matched by less than $270K in expenditures for outreach materials:

  • $143,119 for advertising
  • $98,609 for printing
  • $23,926 for promotional items
  • $3,623 for postage

The check register reveals $1.775M went to five vendors:

  • $673,485 paid out to Makauila, Inc ("Makauila is normalizing the Hawaiian language and perspective through the production and distribution of Native Hawaiian educational, language, and cultural multimedia content. Because of our unique competency in Hawaiian knowledge, we are a strong partner for Native Hawaiian organizations and institutions to effectively engage their target audience through media."  Directors include KSBE operatives Leslie K Kimura and Ann Botticelli and Exec Dir is Amy Kalili, girlfriend of Roll Commissioner Naalehu Anthony)
  • $574,946 paid out to ASIO Corp. ("Deployed innovative solutions including SMS based financial management, large scale ancestry verification, and infrastructure support for a worldwide voyage."--co-founded by Donovan Kealoha and Olin Lagon)
  • $370,000 paid out to "1013" (A 'branding and production company' headed by Jason Suapaia.)
  • $5,716 to convicted criminal and political operative Harry Mattson. (Associate of Norma Wong and Roll Commission Chair John Waihee III.)
  • $151,422 to Norma Wong (Associate of Roll Commission Chair John Waihee III, and convicted criminal Harry Mattson.)

A much larger group received smaller checks:

*NOTE: Some of these numbers have been corrected from the original.

The pattern?  Politically connected individuals and company owners receiving thousands of Kanaiolowalu dollars from the OHA Trust to fulfill nebulous responsibilities.

How did OHA get into this situation?  Trustee Peter Apo at the January 27, 2015 ARM Committee meeting explains what happened in the Legislature in 2011: "So here we are negotiating the ceded lands settlement, two hundred million Kaka'ako, and in the eleventh hour, that bill gets inserted in Act 195. Okay? You either have to agree with Act 195 or we may not give you the two hundred million dollar settlement. That's how we got into Act 195. We had no control over that unless you wanted to turn down the settlement and so when we move forward and I don't know how many millions of dollars we're into that now...."

After signing Act 195 into law, then-Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed the five members of the Kanaiolowalu Roll Commission on September 8, 2011

This is the record of Abercrombie's last 'gift' to the Hawaiian people.   


PDF: Payout by Recipient in Declining Order

PDF: Roll Commission Check Register

PDF: NHRC Expenditures Report

PDF: ARM 13-09

PDF: Stender-Wendt Emails Oct 2013


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


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


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

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


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

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii