Friday, March 02, 2018


Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Keli`i Akina voted against a measure to impose a moratorium on the use of trustee allowances and CEO-initiated sponsorships, two spending mechanisms flagged as questionable by the state Auditor in its recent report on OHA.

Regarding his vote, Trustee Akina offers the following statement -

“I voted against the measure to impose a moratorium on OHA trustee allowances for two reasons.

The first reason I opposed the moratorium is that it is the wrong medicine.  The correct medicine is for trustees who have misspent from their personal accounts to repay all inappropriate expenditures. The moratorium simply pushes the matter off for further policy discussion.  I called upon current and past trustees to repay any of their expenditures flagged as inappropriate by the state auditor.

The second reason I opposed the moratorium on trustee expense accounts is that it is a largely symbolic measure that takes attention off of the more significant issue raised by the state auditor, which is the gross misspending by the OHA CEO.  

By comparison, while the state auditor flagged $46,480 in inappropriate trustee account expenditures for 2015 and 2016, the state auditor flagged more than 14 million dollars in overall discretionary spending and CEO-initiated sponsorships. 

In perspective, inappropriate trustee account expenditures were only a fraction, one-third of 1% of the total amount of inappropriate expenditures in OHA.  Further analysis shows that the vast majority of trustee account expenditures were actually not problematic.  The state auditor found no problem with 78% of all trustee account expenditures, which amounts to a grade of B- .

The real problem OHA needs to deal with is reigning in the spending by its CEO and Administration.  The moratorium measure passed today may give a false impression that OHA is dealing with the problems raised by the audit.  

OHA beneficiaries and state taxpayers deserve better.  They deserve trustees who will do their fiduciary duty and replace the current CEO.”