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Military agreements earn $9.5 million a year for ORI

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The nonprofit company dedicated to helping those with developmental disabilities and now under scrutiny by the federal government currently has contracts to run janitorial and cafeteria services in Hawaii with the Navy and the Army totaling more than $9 million, the two military branches told the Star-Advertiser., a website operated by the government watchdog group Center for Effective Government, independently found that Wahiawa-based Opportunities and Resources Inc. received $32.6 million in military and other federal contracts from 2000 to 2012.

Last month the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development fired off a letter demanding that the city repay $7.9 million in Community Development Block Grant funds issued to ORI subsidiary ORI Anue­nue Hale for construction of its Aloha Gardens Project. Local HUD official Mark Chandler cited numerous improprieties tied to the construction and use of the project, which consists of a wellness center and a campsite that are supposed to be used exclusively by seniors and developmentally disabled adults.

HUD also questioned the motives of city officials who chose ORI to be the first and, to date, only nonprofit to have a city-issued federal loan forgiven. City Managing Director Ember Shinn said despite suggestions by HUD that the forgiveness of the loan was politically motivated, there is no proof of such.

It is widely known that developmentally disabled clients of ORI, and its for-profit sister company Helemano Plantation, are employed at the military facilities, but attorneys for the companies have declined to discuss specifics.

Queries made by the Star-Advertiser confirmed ORI currently receives $9.5 million a year for multiyear contracts with both the Navy and Army.

The Navy contract pays the nonprofit $8.2 million annually to provide janitorial cleaning and waste removal services for offices, gyms and common spaces at various Air Force and Navy buildings within Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, said Denise Ems­ley, public affairs officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii. The buildings include Navy hangars and offices on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific in Wahiawa, the Pearl City Peninsula, the Pearl Harbor Naval Magazine in West Loch and Moana­lua Shopping Center, Ems­ley said.

ORI has a separate contract with the Army valued at $1.3 million annually, said Stefa­nie Gar­din, external communications chief for U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii public affairs. That contract requires ORI to provide dining room attendant and cook support personnel, supervision and related items for dining room facilities at Schofield Barracks and Hele­mano Military Reservation, Gar­din said. The reservation is near ORI and Hele­mano Plantation. also found that ORI had a contract or contracts totaling $201,000 to provide service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service.

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