West Hawaii Today has this report on how the Office of Hawaiian Affairs violated the state Sunshine Law:

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs violated the state Sunshine Law when trustees corresponded by telephone and email before sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rescinding an earlier letter by Chief Executive Officer Kamanaopono Crabbe.

Then the board violated the law again when it refused to allow public comment before conducting a closed-door session discussing Crabbe’s conduct.

That’s the finding of the state Office of Information Practices in a Nov. 7 opinion responding to a complaint by six Hawaii residents.

“OHA’s argument that the trustees did not actually need to meet to decide on a response to the Crabbe letter because it was void is beside the point,” the opinion states. “OHA did, in fact, poll the trustees to obtain their agreement to send the recession letter, which they all signed.”

OHA has until Nov. 24 to ask OIP for a reconsideration or to appeal directly to court, OIP staff attorney Jennifer Brooks, who wrote the opinion, said Thursday. The complainants, Kaleo Oiwi, Donovan Preza, Robert Freitas Jr., Jim Smith, Tammie Perreira and Nanci Munroe, also have the right to take the matter to court. …

OHA spokesman Garrett Toguchi said late Thursday that OHA had not yet received the letter and therefore couldn’t comment on it. …

Read Civil Beat’s related story, OHA Says It Is Again United, With Aloha and One Voice.

OHA trustee Colette Machado

OHA Chairwoman Colette Machado at a recent board meeting.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

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