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Judge dismisses lawsuit over churches’ use of public schools

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    A lawsuit cliamed Ne Hope Oahu underpaid Farrington High School more than $3.2 million in rent and utilities charges for use of the school's auditorium for services.

A judge is dismissing a lawsuit claiming churches owe more than $5.6 million in rental fees to Hawaii schools.

But the judge is allowing Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State founder Mitchell Kahle and public advocate Holly Huber to amend and refile the lawsuit.

Their attorney, James Bickerton, said the judge ruled Thursday their lawsuit didn’t contain the required level of detail for a case alleging fraud. He says he will file a more detailed lawsuit.

Religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom is representing two of the churches. Attorney Erik Stanley says the group will file another motion to dismiss if the lawsuit is refiled.

The group argues the churches aren’t doing anything wrong and the state knows how the facilities are being used.

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