University of Hawaii Associate Vice President Brian Minaai, in charge of the UH system’s Capital Improvements office, has been cleared of allegations of favoritism and unethical conduct related to a UH-Hilo dormitory project, following an independent investigation by the state Attorney General.
UH had requested the probe after Honolulu engineering executive Dennis Mitsunaga publicly accused Minaai of potentially wasting millions of dollars in public funds through what Mitsunaga called blatant mismanagement of construction projects, including steering contracts to firms of friends.
Mitsunaga made the allegations during the 2013 legislative session when lawmakers were considering a bill about UH construction projects.
The Attorney General’s report concluded that "while the management of the project by the University of Hawaii was deficient in several key respects, there is no evidence of intent to suggest any criminal behavior by Minaai … nor is there evidence that any of the actions were for a malicious or improper purpose to suggest any civil or administrative wrongdoing."
UH said Minaai has returned to full duties. The university also said in a statement that it is working to improve its management of construction projects.