Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs paid $50,000 to a former employee over allegations of sexual harassment.

The allegations were made against OHA Trustee Peter Apo.

Sources said the former OHA staffer accused Apo of inappropriately touching her several times in 2015,” according to reporter Rick Daysog.

Peter Apo seafood fishing editorial. 24 june 2016

Peter Apo.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The report said Apo denied the allegations.

But former trustee Mililani Trask said, “This is wrong. It’s using trust funds to cover up inappropriate sexual activity of an elected official and quite frankly he should be made to pay his own costs and removed from office.”

Asked about the Hawaii News Now story, an OHA spokesman on Wednesday said, “As this is a personnel matter, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has no comment.”

Meanwhile, Apo, a former Civil Beat columnist, issued a statement of his own Wednesday:

The news media, through Mililani Trask, raised questions about my personal and professional character, and my conduct as a Trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Ms. Trask is a defeated OHA candidate with no direct knowledge concerning me or my actions as an OHA Trustee. While I cannot comment directly on her allegations, I can say that I have never broken trust with the OHA beneficiaries I serve.

I ask for a fair shake and before jumping to conclusions, consider the source of the report. I want to thank all of you who have reached out to me in friendship and support during this very painful time. Meanwhile, I will not be deterred from continuing my lifetime of public service to the people of Hawaii. E Ola Hawaii.

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