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'Anti-beneficiary' practices met with scorn

More Native Hawaiians should hold nonhomestead properties, critics say

By Rob Perez

LAST UPDATED: 04:32 p.m. HST, Feb 12, 2014

For the past 17 years, James and Jane Saku­gawa have rented roughly 5,000 acres of ranch property on Maui from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

That is 80 percent of all land DHHL is leasing to tenants on that island through its revocable-permit program.

Yet the Saku­ga­was are not Native Hawaiian beneficiaries.

The fact that two nonbeneficiaries control most of the permit land on Maui underscores a major complaint among Native Hawaiians. They say too few of the agency's nonhomestead properties are in the hands of beneficiaries, the people the department is supposed to be getting onto trust land.

"It's been a thorn in beneficiaries' side," said Blossom Fei­teira, a Maui homesteader and president of the Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands. "This isn't fair, but it's been going on for years."

Only 65 of the 178 revocable permits, or 36 percent, are held by beneficiaries, according to DHHL data.

For general leases, which are longer-term rental agreements for nonhomestead land, the picture is far worse. Only 17 of 126 accounts, or 13 percent, are held by Native Hawaiian individuals or organizations.

Given DHHL's purpose of getting Native Hawaiians (with at least 50 percent blood quantum) onto homesteads, beneficiaries say they should get first crack at any nonhomestead lands made available for leasing, even if on a month-to-month basis.

But the department seems to favor nonbeneficiary tenants, including by making beneficiaries jump through extra hoops just to be considered for nonhomestead properties, according to Fei­teira and others.

"It's very anti-beneficiary," she said of DHHL practices.

DHHL used to have a policy, adopted in 1981, that gave preference to Native Hawaiians in the issuing of general leases. But the commission rescinded that preference in 2001, citing high termination rates involving Native Hawaiian lessees and other factors. The policy did not apply to revocable permits.

Maui beneficiaries over the years have asked to rent some of the 5,000 acres in Wai­ohuli held by the Saku­ga­was but have always been rebuffed by the department, according to Fei­teira. Revocable permits can be ended with just 30 days' notice. The Saku­ga­was are renting the land for 35 cents per acre monthly.

A family spokes­man would not comment, referring questions to DHHL.

Darrell Young, the agency's deputy director, said in written responses to Star-Advertiser questions that revocable permits are not meant to be substitutes for homestead leases.

But as part of their review of the permit program, DHHL officials will be re-examining all aspects to look for ways to improve it, Young said.

They also will be reviewing all permits, including the Saku­ga­was'.

While leasing so much land to one couple appears to be unfair, the development of the Wai­ohuli area is predicated on how much money DHHL will need to spend on infrastructure costs, Young said. That area, he noted, is hilly, rocky and subject to mudslides, and the high cost of development limits the number of beneficiary homes that can be built there.

The Sakugawas aren't the only nonbeneficiary ranchers to capitalize on the availability of inexpensive DHHL land.

Multiple for-profit companies on several islands are renting large tracts of pastoral land from the agency.

On the Big Island, for instance, Kahua Ranch in 2011 was awarded a revocable permit for 1,720 acres in Kawai­hae. The rent is 35 cents an acre monthly.

"There's no excuse not to give that land to Native Hawaiians. Absolutely none," said David Kimo Frankel, an attorney for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.

Young said DHHL isn't legally required to give Native Hawaiians preferences for revocable permits, but that will be among the ideas considered in the department's review.

KipuKai Kualii, who has been waiting for nearly 30 years for an agriculture homestead lot on Kauai, said the shortchanging of Native Hawaiians comes as no surprise.

"They're ripping off beneficiaries in multiple ways," Kua­lii said.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Nothing new here folks, move along.
on May 7,2013 | 01:42AM
harryuhanejim wrote:
I Beg To Differ. There is no moving on to... We have educated our children, and they want to move home... Humble to the needs of our youth.. kalamai. but it's about their chance!.
on May 7,2013 | 03:31AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
sorry Malama but there isn't a carpet big enough to sweep this much dirt under.
on May 7,2013 | 07:11AM
policywonk wrote:
Please, somebody, investigate Robin Danner - She is both the instigator of this article series (very obvious from those interviewed) and the queen of insider deals (unfortunately lately, those insider deals were exposed and thrown out by homesteaders in Anahola and Kekaha on Kauai where Danner is trying to move into alternative energy deals). Please look into the web of organizations Danner has created in Alaska and Hawaii to build insider influence and catch government grants that never trickle down to the native Hawaiians, but feed her organizational infrastructure and political influence. Danner wants the US Federal government to be her ticket as the key to the uses of Hawaiian home lands. The investigation should also clarify whether Robin Danner herself qualified for a homestead at the time she received one. Did she qualify then, as a native Hawaiian beneficiary under the Hawaiian Homes Act when she received her homestead?
on May 7,2013 | 10:04AM
Pocho wrote:
If Danner is the instigator I applaud her!
on May 7,2013 | 06:16PM
pueohonua wrote:
Pocho, you sound like a "jealous" Pocho. Leave the Hawaiians alone to sort out its bureaucracy. No one here stole anything. They took undeveloped land and leases and did something with it. Oh, so what if they have a couple more structures, main thing they trying to take care of their ohana. More power to those that can take something and make something with it. There is no dirt except from those who are so "jealous"!
on May 7,2013 | 06:56PM
Pocho wrote:
why jealously on my part. I only point out the high makamaka CHEATERS building houses where there ain't supposed to. Wake up smell da coffee and open your mind. A cheat is a cheat no matter how you look at it. I own my own house, no need DHHL assistance and am proud of that and Fee simple too to boot.
on May 7,2013 | 07:15PM
pueohonua wrote:
As a Pocho you came on one ship perhaps the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria! You should buy your own fee simple house. The Hawaiians had their lands ripped off from them. So, if Sen. Solomon can get a lease as a native Hawaiian this is her privilege and birthright. Perhaps she has good credit standing something that the majority of native Hawaiians don't have. This is why the DHHL is always looking for "qualified" Hawaiians that can secure a residential and commercial mortgages. Calling the Senator a cheat is unbecoming. The reason for the fledgling DHHL system is because it was set up for Hawaiians to fail.
on May 7,2013 | 09:54PM
Pocho wrote:
pu, you guess wrong. hahahahahaha hawaiian dis hawaiian dat. She one BEEG time CHEAT, doesn't matter if Hawaiian or not but she one and she cheat the Hawaiians on the waiting list.
on May 7,2013 | 10:06PM
Pocho wrote:
I bet pu I've been on this Rock longer than you. hahahahahaha
on May 7,2013 | 10:07PM
pueohonua wrote:
At 35 cents an acre where do I sign up. I have excellent credit, I am native Hawaiian and have been in farming and banking for most of my professional career. These sound like political pay-offs. Where is the Abercrombie administration in all of this. But then again, how many native Hawaiians can lease, pay and produce results in the form of revenue. That's the key. I think Jobie Magasatani has a big job ahead of her and I think she is moving in the right direction. We shouldn't be creating obstacles by manufacturing blame on someone who was recently appointed in March. She needs support to clean up what the political machine has created since Statehood. I doubt she was even born when horse trading was going on. I don't think Robin Danner has had any concrete BUSINESS solutions. If she did then she wouldn't have created a hostile environment at DHHL and the Abercrombie administration. She is not absolved from wrong doing. She was in the pocket of Alapaki Nahale-a who was asked to resign because he was incompetent. How do you put the head of a School administration in charge of 200,00 acres with no business experience? Am I missing the boat? Well, you can attribute that nomination and selection of Nahale-a lt to Robin Danner and her gang who was hoping to "milk" DHHL under Nahale-a. And guess what? She did "milk" DHHL under Nahale-a. He gave her a "no bid" contract to develop a solar farm in Anahola. The deal terms allowed her to take a % of DHHL lease rents, their reupfront fees that should have gone to DHHL and a percentage of gross revenues from the developer. I think the beneficiaries of the DHHL was duped out of income slated for the trust for their benefit. The beneficiaries should file litigation against all parties to the transaction as a breach of trust fiduciary obligations and "insider" dealing and name the Director, Commissioners and Danner's group. More people knw what's going on then what Rob Perez is reporting.
on May 7,2013 | 02:56AM
bender wrote:
It shouldn't take a 3 day report by the StarAdvertsier to get Jobie moving. Even now DHHL is tap dancing around the issue, saying they will think about it and not saying they are going to move in a different direction. The truth is they don't know what direction they're going to go until Gov Abercrombie tells them who to go easy on.
on May 7,2013 | 06:41AM
policywonk wrote:
Jobie Masagatani is, by all accounts, doing a stellar job, having been confirmed just this year. This article series does not report that Robin Danner and most of the people quoted in these three articles were embarrassingly defeated in their attempt to prevent Ms. Masagatani from being confirmed. Ms. Masagatani has the love of the hawaiian people. She is honest and fair, and is a roadblock to Ms. Danner's corruption. Star Advertiser reporters beware. While DHHL historically has had problems with corruption, Ms. Masagatani is trying to ensure that those days are gone - starting by claiming Hawaiian rights to its rightful resources, and giving native Hawaiians the voice they have always deserved. Danner's tactics of stirring up frustration by blaming current DHHL leaders for decades of abuse they did not create comes straight out of the playbook of power grabbers like Danner and her cronies.
on May 7,2013 | 09:51AM
Pocho wrote:
there's no corruption. She fixes what needs to be fixed. The CHEATERS don't comply and should be tearing down their dwellings. What you watching son, you got horse blinders on?
on May 7,2013 | 06:02PM
pueohonua wrote:
Oh jealousy is so obvious! Oh pissed off cause they were smart enough to build structures to house their ohana. Get your own house Pocho.
on May 7,2013 | 06:59PM
Pocho wrote:
I got my own house/land fee simple to boot. No need to rely on DHHL, lose money buying Hawaiian Home Lands, you go down on one of them DHHL tracks and take a look at the streets, not worth it. Only get one lane and you gotta watch out for da kids you know.
on May 7,2013 | 07:17PM
Mythman wrote:
Were the Sakugawas friends of Dan Inouye or maybe Henry Guigni?
on May 7,2013 | 03:15AM
Pocho wrote:
DHHL should have leased the Sakugawa lease to the Hawaiians who wanted the land. Then have the Hawaiian Lease it to the Sakugawas. Get the Hawaiian on the list to make money off the Sakugawas
on May 7,2013 | 07:51PM
harryuhanejim wrote:
This Article is in memory of Kahale Smith.. of Anahola, who fought with and died the day and moment he was being evicted from his home in Anahola by the Department of Hawaiian Homes lands. . . Not to mentioned the now de funked queen Linda Lingle. and the violent Attack on Puhi bay community in Hilo.... many many others. BACKLASH. ten fold.
on May 7,2013 | 03:28AM
tonosama wrote:
C,mon you Hawaiian Samurai's. Band together and reclaim your land. This class of movement is worthwhile pursuing.
on May 7,2013 | 04:08AM
harryuhanejim wrote:
on May 8,2013 | 01:53PM
South76 wrote:
I wonder how much these DHHL personnel are getting paid by tax payers and how much under-the-table money they get from these politically connected people getting fast-track leases? How come Star-Advertiser did not include these figures? So sad many native Hawaiians are leaving these islands for the mainland and never get a chance to live on their land.
on May 7,2013 | 05:04AM
bumba wrote:
The problem is and has always been: Educated Hawaiians ripping off uneducated Hawaiians. Solution? Educate them all, that's what Pauahi intended. Unfortunately, the educated Hawaiians choose to educate just a few.
on May 7,2013 | 05:06AM
Grimbold wrote:
All this shows native Hwaiians are just as corupt as the other races. No better as it is often claimed, when other races are critisized.
on May 7,2013 | 05:34AM
JPG wrote:
Its not the Hawaiians doing this dummy
on May 7,2013 | 08:10AM
Annabella46 wrote:
It is time to form a Civil Grand Jury in Honolulu to oversee and help improve the overall functioning of government entities within the county. When any Hawaiian sleeps in the street while non Hawaiians lease hundred of thousands of acres.........oversight outside the government is needed. Form a Civil Grand Jury !
on May 7,2013 | 06:35AM
bender wrote:
DHHL direcxtor Young is using a red herring when he says the lands are suitable for homes. Not all those on the waiting list are looking for house lots, some want pastoral and ranch lands for farming operations. Make it available to those on the list first, and go through the entire list before talking to those who don't meet the requirements for a DHHL lot. It's not that hard if you try.
on May 7,2013 | 06:44AM
Pocho wrote:
agree, that's why all the huhu here. the SELF SERVING CHEATS in wolf clothing
on May 7,2013 | 06:05PM
Kaleo744 wrote:
No matter the race when opportunity arise do like the white men do ":DIVIDE AND CONQUER" as a "native" Hawaiian who has been waiting for an Ag lease since 1985 on MAUI just pisses me off when I hear of non-beneficiaries receiving long term leases, my chances and desires to raise live stock has all been shot because now Im older and if I should receive a lease now their is no way in hell that I would be able to farm the land because Im ready to retire in a few short years. Any attorney out there wants to represent us Hawaiians whose denied this opportunity and lets a start a CLASS ACTION law suit against DHHL and all of the non-beneficiaries who gaining big time profits that should have been given to the beneficiaries the way it way intended. RIGHT OR WRONG
on May 7,2013 | 06:46AM
DonkeyCurl wrote:
Linda Chinn needs to go to jail! If she worked in the private sector, she would have gotten fired along time ago. The next story, all the koa unaccounted for off DHHL's Big Island lands!
on May 7,2013 | 07:28AM
JPG wrote:
CORRUPTION @ its finest! Dig a little deeper!!!!
on May 7,2013 | 08:11AM
Bully wrote:
Why is Darrel Young, the deputy director responding the questions instead of the Director Jobie Masagatani?
on May 7,2013 | 09:02AM
ready2go wrote:
We're speechless! Hard to believe these stories are true.
on May 7,2013 | 10:31AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Heads should roll at DHHL. These non-Hawaiians should be ashamed of themselves. There should be a criminal investigation on how the land was procured.
on May 7,2013 | 10:49AM
jkjones wrote:
it appears rob prez is all over the place. first he berates dhhl for givng permits to Hawaiians, than he grouses about non hawaiians holding the majority of the leases let out to the general public. With all the info that Mr perez is circulating, one thing is clear, dhhl is above his realm of understanding and he is passing on info with another agenda. Another thing, it is apparent he received info from a dissident group. Robin Danner is part of the problem. she launched a takeover with her 501 (3) companies and ran down anyone in the homestead communities with previous grants or position to push her monopoly. she ran a democratic banner with support fron sen inouye and scourged previous grantors from the lingle administration. her record goes back to the rich oil fields of alaska where she represented big oil companies for sen stevens in an attemp to discredit native alaskans of their claims. when it came to the akaka bill she tried to ram it down the throats of hawaiians on the neighbor islands and was vocally against holding hearings with the congressional delegation on the out islands. this is all part of the tip of her greedy spear. moreover, this is the group, that rob perez jumped into bed to make specious headlines. granted there are problems in management at dhhl--but rob perez has mislead on several cases in his categizations and clearly is in support of the biggest problem--robin danner!
on May 7,2013 | 11:19AM
allie wrote:
You Mr. Hee hon?
on May 7,2013 | 12:22PM
Hunterboy wrote:
Increase rent by 1,000% for non Hawaiians.
on May 7,2013 | 12:48PM
Pocho wrote:
take the land AWAY. One month notice to vacate!
on May 7,2013 | 06:06PM
MalcolmK wrote:
US Constitution, Article I, section 9: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States...". That's hereditary title. US Constitution, Amendment 14: "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Hawaii Constitution, Article 1 section 5: "Section 5. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of the person's civil rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of race, religion, sex or ancestry" US Senate Oath of Office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God. Hawaii Legislature Oath of Office: ""I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as ........................ to best of my ability."
on May 7,2013 | 03:16PM
MANDA wrote:
This series should be another Broken Trust-type scandal and subsequent housecleaning. But will anything happen?
on May 7,2013 | 07:24PM
HawaiiVal wrote:
Thank you very much for researching and publishing this important series.
on May 8,2013 | 12:42PM
zelda123 wrote:
The article should start by saying ......For the past 17 years, James and Jane Saku­gawa have paid someone off .... 5000 acres for $1,750 a month, liars and cheats the lot of um .................. ( allegedly )
on July 12,2013 | 04:04PM
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