Top charter school officials arrested in record tampering investigation
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Top charter school officials arrested in record tampering investigation

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY

    Principal Diana Oshiro, left, and elementary school Vice Principal Kurumi Kaapana-Aki

Two sisters who are principal and vice principal of the Myron B. Thompson Academy state charter school and have been under investigation by the state attorney general for more than two years turned themselves in to state sheriff deputies today.

The deputies booked Principal Diana Oshiro and elementary school Vice Principal Kurumi Kaapana-Aki on suspicion of tampering with a government record and Kaapana-Aki on suspicion of theft. They then released the sisters without charges.

The state Department of the Attorney General has been investigating the school since at least November 2013 when it asked a state judge to order the state Ethics Commission to turn over records of its own investigation of Oshiro and Kaapana-Aki.

The Star-Advertiser was unable to reach Oshiro, Kaapana-Aki or their lawyers for comment.

Deputy Attorney General James Walther said the department doesn’t have information it can provide about the arrests at this time.

State Public Charter School Commission Chairwoman Catherine Payne said the commission is concerned. “However, the governing board of the Myron B. Thompson Academy must first be allowed to address this issue. The commission will be following up with the governing board.”

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  • Commission Chairwoman Catherine Payne said the commission is concerned. “However, the governing board of the Myron B. Thompson Academy must first be allowed to address this issue. – Yea right, they’ve had 2 years to address the issues since allegations of nepotism, theft of taxpayer money and fraud were made but haven’t done a thing to correct any of it. They allowed it to happen, continue to condone it and are as guilty as these 2 crooked sisters and the rest of the Oshiro family working there. Why it’s taken 2 years for the state to act in this matter when it’s obvious to everyone what’s going on there is the question. These women belong in jail for stealing taxpayer money.

    • Actually, the chair is correct in this case. The Commission doesn’t get the first bite of this apple. It’s first and foremost a law enforcement matter, then the MBT Board has primary responsibility to take the appropriate action with regard to its staff. Only if they fail to do their job does it become a matter for the Commission.

      Now could MBT’s Board have taken the initiative and showed these folks the door already? Of course they could, and the fact they didn’t certainly raises questions about their independence and willingness to act. But they’re also entitled to wait until the criminal investigation is complete and/or any trials or convictions. Perhaps under the circumstances they’re exercising an abundance of caution.

      But only if they ultimately do nothing is there a question of governance that rises to the level of the Commission taking hands-on action. So your complaint is premature.

  • Charter schools do pose a problems for the DOE if the franchises are not monitored vigorously academically and monetarily. Incorporations are more formal and records required to be maintain do provide avenues for proper fiscal integrity. Nepotism can be discouraged but not eliminated as has been disclosed in the recent local union being audited by the federal government where family members were being paid exorbitant salaries. As a former internal auditor do believe that this activity has been disemphassized because it adds to overhead expenses.

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