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Two UH regents resign over financial disclosure bill

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:59 p.m. HST, Jun 27, 2014

<br />star-advertiser / may 2013<br />@Caption1:Loan growth and the reduction of nonperforming assets have helped Central<br />Pacific Bank post 12 straight profitable quarters. Still, the institution has "a lot of work ahead of us," said President and Chief Executive Officer John Dean.<br />

Two members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have resigned after state lawmakers unanimously passed a bill requiring public financial disclosures from people serving on more than a dozen state boards and commissions.

Regents John Dean and Saedene Ota submitted resignation letters to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie this month, citing the bill. The university provided the letters to The Associated Press on Friday.

The bill, SB 2682, would make annual financial disclosure statements publicly available for the 15-member board and other agencies. Abercrombie included the bill on a list of 10 he intends to veto, but has not made a final decision or given specific reasoning for considering the veto.

The board had previously objected to the expanded disclosures and sent a letter to Abercrombie asking him to veto the bill.

Ota, the owner of a Maui strategic design firm and an apparel company, said in a letter dated Thursday that she has no qualms about disclosing her financial information but doesn't want it released publicly.

"This information is personal and confidential," said Ota, who said she and other regents already sacrifice family time and personal business affairs. "(The bill) sends a clear message to me as a regent that effectively goes beyond the call of volunteer service."

Dean, the chief executive of Central Pacific Financial Corp., said in his June 12 letter that he objects to making his family's personal financial information public.

Lawmakers have not given an indication whether they would attempt to override a veto. The Senate's only Republican, Sam Slom, has called for one but said he doesn't expect Democrats to defy the state's top Democrat, especially during an election year.

The state ethics commission doesn't have the resources to review records currently submitted to look for potential conflicts of interest, lawmakers said in the bill that passed. Members of the public are in better position to identify conflicts, the lawmakers said.

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Kai37 wrote:
I don't blame them for resigning. I'm not wealthy, but I wouldn't want my personal financial info out there for the public to see, where it can be used against me, or have me targeted by scammers, crooks, etc. A lot of qualified persons will probably hold back on volunteering their time and expertise (on these government-related boards) because of this transparency law.
on June 27,2014 | 04:05PM
1local wrote:
good riddance...
on June 27,2014 | 07:59PM
jomama wrote:
1local has no idea what they are talking about. John is a terrific person and has made tremendous contributions to Hawaii, including keeping CPB whole with its 1,000 taxpaying employees (while taking a $1 salary I might add). Who in their right mind would open their finances to public scrutiny? All because the state ethics commission can't do its job? Gimme a break.
on June 27,2014 | 09:02PM
pcman wrote:
IRT jomama. It sounds like there is nothing for John to hide. I have done financial disclosures before and it is not about how much you are worth but who you have investments in and how you could be influenced in your decision processes. That's all. The information is still controlled by privacy laws. Anyone who releases the information can be prosecuted.
on June 28,2014 | 04:28PM
klastri wrote:
No, you're wrong. This bill removes the privacy of the information required. You might consider doing some basic research before commenting.
on June 29,2014 | 03:48PM
false wrote:
They do this for free...free. Life's short enough for them, having to deal with legislators pulling rank over them, plus seeking publicity and freebies seats and parking stalls...to say nothing of getting their kid into the law school. Problem with the legislature is it's a part time job. The solution would be to replace the part-time with no-time. Espec Romy Cachola
on June 27,2014 | 04:35PM
pcman wrote:
Being a UH Regent yields a lot of influence in the businesses of the UH system. The Regents don't need to be paid by the UH because they already have high paying jobs. The UH system generates hundreds of millions annually. Many corporations nominate their senior executives to be Regents and allow them to use company time to do Regent work if required.
on June 28,2014 | 04:39PM
safari wrote:
Ethics! Audit them all, law makers too. See all the monkeys fall out of the tree. Clean House.
on June 27,2014 | 04:41PM
jomama wrote:
Read the article safari. Your comment makes no sense.
on June 27,2014 | 09:03PM
mikaele1 wrote:
In todays world where identity theft is common,public disclosure of your financial statement is asking for trouble. Volunteer board members should be spared this risk no matter how popular the bill is. We need a large pool of qualified candidates for these positions and by forcing public disclosure the pool will be shallow.
on June 27,2014 | 04:44PM
klastri wrote:
Agreed. This will do nothing good.
on June 29,2014 | 11:49AM
islandsun wrote:
No loss. This has been the worst performing group in quite some time.
on June 27,2014 | 05:03PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Now the adventure begins to find worthy candidates?
on June 27,2014 | 05:17PM
admiral wrote:
There are many able people in Hawaii who would be willing to accept this scrutiny and serve. They couldn't possibly do a worse job than the current crew. In fact, if Central Pacific Bank were run in the same incompetent manner that the BOR operated under Dean's leadership, a prudent person would be wise to bank elsewhere. The plain fact is that BOR appointments, like too many other appointed public service positions, are political plums for corporate executives that come with long-term financial benefits far greater than any nominal direct compensation would offer. Far better to have people with relevant background in higher education--or at least professional knowledge of its workings--than people who haven't been near a university since they graduated (or didn't) decades ago.
on June 27,2014 | 05:38PM
klastri wrote:
If you served on a university board of trustees or board of regents - your comments here prove that you don't - you would know that the board does not insert itself into questions of academia. They help guide the business of the university. And can you cite one example - just one - of a regent taking advantage of the plum that you mention? I'm betting no. No one on this comment board celebrating the resignation of these two regents has said one thing that cited evidence of any kind against any of them. The ignorance is breathtaking.
on June 29,2014 | 11:53AM
Wazdat wrote:
What a joke our elected leaders are. Really tell people to disclose personal information to the public? How about putting people on that board that are smart people with NO ties to big business, developers or the unions. You know normal residents who care about the average person.
on June 27,2014 | 06:11PM
bobjones wrote:
oops. that should be "vetoes", not "votes."
on June 27,2014 | 06:43PM
soundofreason wrote:
""This information is personal and confidential," said Ota, who said she and other regents already sacrifice family time and personal business affairs. "(The bill) sends a clear message to me as a regent that effectively goes beyond the call of volunteer service.">>>> Agree. Decide what infractions you're trying to prevent and attach criminal charges to THOSE infractions and be done. Quit punishing the innocent.
on June 27,2014 | 06:32PM
jomama wrote:
on June 27,2014 | 09:04PM
bobjones wrote:
No great loss. Those in office or on boards and commissions that affect our lives MUST be willing to have transparent financial lives. That comes with those jobs. If they feel their financial lives are private, then stay in private jobs and eschew political office, boards and commissions. I hope the governor will either sign that bill into law or let it become law without his signature. If he votes, the Legislature should override.
on June 27,2014 | 06:41PM
honokai wrote:
I certainly would not say with "no great loss" unless I was trying to hurt or disrespect people. Please watch your elocution. They made a simple choice. Please do not attach a negative meaning to it unless you have a reason to do so.
on June 27,2014 | 07:13PM
jomama wrote:
You will lose a lot of talent that way and be worse off for it.
on June 27,2014 | 09:05PM
veloperson wrote:
Fine. Let those who oppose full disclosure for whatever reason quit! These are unelected folks who have alot of power and we urgently must have them fully disclose any potential conflict; if Neil vetos this, it should be a major step for Ige to win.
on June 27,2014 | 07:17PM
honokai wrote:
They did quit. Please don't read anything more into this than what it is.
on June 27,2014 | 07:27PM
localguy wrote:
Cleaning out some of the deadwood wasting student tuition money and tax payer funds. Lets clear out some more. A good start.
on June 27,2014 | 09:37PM
klastri wrote:
What exactly are you talking about? What dead wood? These are two public servants who worked for free to provide guidance for a fine university. What malfeasance can you attach to any individual regent? I'm betting none. Just lots of ignorance and hot air.
on June 29,2014 | 03:52PM
KWAY wrote:
The light comes on and all the cockroaches scatter
on June 27,2014 | 10:12PM
klastri wrote:
Can you cite anything - anything at all - that supports what you wrote? Probably not. You anonymously suggest that these people have done something wrong when that's simply an outright lie.
on June 29,2014 | 03:54PM
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