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UH vice president cleared of wrongdoing

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 01:12 p.m. HST, Mar 05, 2014

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.

Attorney General's report on investigation of University Village Project by Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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gobows wrote:
A waste of time and money. Can we send an invoice to Mitsunaga? Net 30?
on March 5,2014 | 12:01PM
gobows wrote:
Mitsunaga owes us some money
on March 5,2014 | 12:01PM
what wrote:
A government employee in Hawaii would almost have to murder somebody to lose his job.
on March 5,2014 | 01:01PM
XlllX wrote:
MAI the most Famous engineering firm in Hawaii!!! ..Minai should take an add out and it should look like this...."I am here to set the record straight in regards to the personal attacks...by Dennis Mitsunaga....he added our firm even though they already had 5 pre-qualified firms to the selection, and now he smears OCI and the state with false accusations (so sayeth the AG). .. hope that the people of Hawaii will not pay attention to anything else coming from this hypocrite. Minai was smeared by him for political gain. He runs a very successful and ethical State department with contracts statewide that have nothing to do with pay to play as he claims. We award contracts to highly qualified firms, and for no other reason..." BAM Lawyerd
on March 5,2014 | 10:22PM
kiragirl wrote:
Incompetence is not a crime.
on March 5,2014 | 12:14PM
what wrote:
Incompetence is a fireable offense, but nobody seems to care.
on March 5,2014 | 12:41PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
But it should be for public officials being paid by the taxpayers.
on March 5,2014 | 01:33PM
frontman wrote:
And just what did you expect to happen???? This is Hawaii politics at its best.
on March 5,2014 | 12:36PM
what wrote:
This shows that Hawaii leaders are not interested in firing incompetent bureaucrats. You have to break the law to lose your job around here.
on March 5,2014 | 12:44PM
kaeleku wrote:
Let's see who gets the UH Pharmacy Building job? Same guys.
on March 5,2014 | 12:57PM
false wrote:
That would be funny. Well not funny but interesting.
on March 5,2014 | 01:07PM
Cleodog wrote:
I hope not the same guys. The new $19.6 million UH-Hilo student services center didn't open for business this year because they installed doors that were not ADA approved. I hope the UH pharmacy building is built better than that. Anyway, almost $20 million in tax bucks stills locked and empty, and the college students just look in the windows at the empty space and scratch their heads at the incompetence.
on March 5,2014 | 06:46PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
It looks to me that an unsuccessful bidder had sour grapes and leveled some accusations against an administrator who was cleared of any wrongdoing.
on March 5,2014 | 01:27PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
So Minaai is not guilty, just incompetent. Exactly what we want in a UH Vice President, maybe they'll make him the new president.
on March 5,2014 | 01:37PM
shanik wrote:
standard Hawaii, everyone is greased!
on March 5,2014 | 01:41PM
cojef wrote:
Smooth operators or incompetent investigation, take your pick. There was much smoke, but no fire in the pot belly..
on March 5,2014 | 02:05PM
DanLBoom wrote:
A leveling field For ALL Contractors. ,should be implemented.The system is rigged ...he just didn't get caught yet. So long as your insurance, bonding/bonding capacity are met & taxes are current,..make it fair for everyone. Create a better bid /procurement system.Now You see too many of the same old guys getting all the contracts....now why is that?? Imua
on March 5,2014 | 02:01PM
francescaparma wrote:
The corruption in this state is absolutely mind boggling. No doubt the UH ice President is as incompetent as the rest of the bureaucrats at the UH and most other government offices here in Hawaii. Let's be real, a system that automatically gives you raises and higher levels for doing absolutely the minimum such as showing up (sometimes in this state you don't even have to do that) and after x amount of years they suddenly are in positions of power and quite often are totally unprepared for the job their position requires. But heaven forbid anything is done to get rid of the dead wood...there has been so much cheating to get higher pensions throughout the state and city and it still goes on...people steal from schools and government and get a slap on the wrist, and if they pay back the thousands and thousands of dollars they have stolen, if they stay out of trouble, it will be wiped from their record....so they can go somewhere and steal again. Who approved sending the $200,00 and arranged for its being sent for the Wonder Blunder. Why hasn't the public been informed and a name be given and that person be held responsible. Oh, sorry no one in the state or city government is every held responsible for the constant mistakes they make whether it's in the thousands of dollars or millions of dollars, we the people, the tax payers are always the losers.
on March 5,2014 | 02:08PM
eastside808 wrote:
1974 case cited in document states "clear and convincing proof" . Email records only go back to 2011 since other emails when switched over to google was "lost". Decisions made prior to 2011 may have shed more light on Mr. Mitsunaga's allegations, however, they cannot be substantiated. Lucky Mr. Minaai. Therefore innocent until proven guilty with clear and convincing proof.
on March 5,2014 | 02:23PM
gobows wrote:
Where does it say anyone was incompetent?
on March 5,2014 | 02:44PM
gobows wrote:
Incompetent? Where does the report say that?
on March 5,2014 | 02:45PM
gobows wrote:
Report proved Mitsunaga's claims weren't true. Crying wolf.
on March 5,2014 | 02:46PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Just was not proven that's all.
on March 5,2014 | 04:01PM
mcc wrote:
..."while the management of the project by the University of Hawaii was deficient in several key respects, ...Seems like he is incompetent. get him off the job.
on March 5,2014 | 02:51PM
Cleodog wrote:
There is more going on at UHH. The new $19.6 million student services building completed last summer never opened its doors because of a preventable ADA door screw up. The word is out. Read the Kokua Line of 2/25, (second letter) and see that replacement doors are costing almost $10,000 each. (letters to the editor, 2/28). In the mean time, the building remains locked and empty---and will be for the rest of the school year. That is almost $20 million of taxpayer money sitting unused. Trust them and appropriate the money, and they don't know how to use it correctly.. Want answers? Email the UHH chancellor and see if you can get an answer. I didn't. Just Google UHH and get his email address and ask for accountability. Try the Board of Regents, too. Get answers or get taken for a ride.
on March 5,2014 | 03:14PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Great, next time let a JPO (Junior Police Officer) do the investigation. The FBI is better, not another State Agency.
on March 5,2014 | 04:00PM
inverse wrote:
Just like Nago of the last election was not fired for not providing enough ballots to election stations, citing "math errors", even though he himself demanded that outer island polling station captains be fired for much less serious problems. As someone else said, unless a government official commits murder and a recovery of the actual smoking gun, Hawaii gov't officials are NEVER found guilty or held accountable.
on March 5,2014 | 04:22PM
inverse wrote:
PS: In the end,under Minaai, the construction of UH West Oahu was way over budget AND incomplete. And you know there is more to this story when in the last legislative session Demo controlled legislatures took away UH and Minaai's power to handle these very large contracts and gave that responsibility with the Department of Accounting and General services.
on March 5,2014 | 04:34PM
Cleodog wrote:
UH states that it is now "working to improve its management of construction projects.' Here's hoping that this episode will prove helpful to that end. UH can start investigating why the new student $19.6 million services building at the UH-Hilo campus was completed with doors that were not ADA compliant. Who's the responsible party for that expensive construction blunder?
on March 5,2014 | 06:13PM
HD36 wrote:
How would they know? A cash filled package slipped under the table with a wink of an eye leaves no evdience.
on March 5,2014 | 09:37PM
kaipo808808 wrote:
All these idiots making the negative comments should at least read the 137-page AG report. But I wouldn't be surprise that they can't read. Wake up and learn to read!
on March 7,2014 | 01:28PM
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