After two months of turmoil, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees today ousted Rowena Akana as chairwoman and elevated Vice Chairwoman Lei Ahu Isa to the top spot on an interim basis.
Ahu Isa joined the board minority of Robert Lindsey, Dan Ahuna, Peter Apo and Colette Machado in voting against Akana, who had narrowly took over the leadership role in December. John Waihee IV, Carmen Hulu Lindsey and Keli‘i Akina abstained, while Akana received only one vote: her own.
A new leader will be selected at the next board meeting, according to the organization’s bylaws. Ahu Isa said after the meeting that she is not interested in the permanent job.
Ahu Isa said she voted to oust Akana to bring stability to the board. She also said she objected to a complaint filed by Akana in First Circuit Court Wednesday on behalf of OHA questioning the validity of the employment contract of CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe.
Earlier in the day, a 9 a.m. board meeting scheduled to discuss a proposed forensic, or comprehensive, audit of OHA was deferred for lack of a quorum.
At the meeting, Ahuna announced that five of the trustees were boycotting Akana as chairwoman.
“She has caused nothing but turmoil in this organization since being elected as chair,” Ahuna said. “And just within the last 48 hours she has gone on a spree personally attacking other trustees, and she unilaterally filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of OHA that will likely end up being found frivolous.”
The matter of the audit was rescheduled for an airing before the board’s Resource Management Committee Wednesday.