Dawson Solutions is a subsidiary of the Hawaiian Native Corp., whose offices were raided over the summer by federal investigators seeking information about alleged financial crimes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it awarded a $52.5 million contract to Dawson Solutions to help with hazardous debris removal in Lahaina and other parts of Maui that were engulfed by the Aug. 8 wildfire.

Dawson Solutions is a subsidiary of the Hawaiian Native Corp. and is granted special sole source contracting preferences with the federal government because it is classified as a Native Hawaiian-owned business under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program.

The contract was awarded despite the fact that the Hawaiian Native Corp. and its founder, Christopher Dawson, appear to be involved in a federal investigation involving alleged financial crimes.

Much of Lahaina is unrecognizable today after an Aug. 8 wildfire tore through the coastal town. (Ku’u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2023)

Over the summer, federal agents from the Internal Revenue Service and Defense Criminal Investigative Service, which is a branch of the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General, executed a search warrant at the Hawaiian Native Corp.’s downtown Honolulu offices, seizing computers and company cell phones.

Dawson has since stepped down as chairman of the Hawaiian Native Corp. and as CEO of its 11 for-profit subsidiaries, which collectively operate under the brand name DAWSON.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Dawson Solutions contract is focused on debris removal from private properties and is expected to last at least three months.

The agency said in a press release that debris removal will only commence if property owners give written permission via a right-of-way entry form and that cultural observers will be on site to help ensure that culturally sensitive items are protected.

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