OHA trustees to investigate CEO
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees Thursday held off any disciplinary action against CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe and instead decided to delve further into claims of financial improprieties that may be linked to the agency’s director.
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The Office of Hawaiian
Affairs trustees Thursday held off any disciplinary
action against CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe and instead decided to delve further into claims of financial improprieties that may be linked to the agency’s director.
Meeting in closed executive session, the nine-
member board discussed
all aspects of Crabbe’s performance and attempted
voting but ultimately did
not reach a conclusion about the CEO, the board’s
attorney, Robert Klein, told reporters afterward.
Crabbe, the agency’s top staffer for six years, was on vacation and not at the
meeting to defend himself.
“The discussion will
continue when the CEO comes back to work,” said Klein, a former Hawaii
Supreme Court justice.
“We want more information and will bring it back
to the table for more discussion,” Chairwoman Colette Machado added.
After the meeting, Oahu
at-large trustee Keli‘i Akina noted that he is already on record calling for serious action to deal with the financial issues that emerged from a scathing state audit issued last month that documented unrestrained discretionary spending.
“I think they need to take decisive action,” Akina said of his fellow trustees. “I’m pleased that robust conversation has started, but I’m urging my fellow trustees to have courage and exercise their fiduciary duty.”
The trustees rejected a proposal to replace Crabbe last year, but there may be more urgency now after they learned the Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the state Attorney General Department in an investigation of OHA.
During open session, Nanakuli homesteader
Germaine Meyers offered
up examples of questionable expenditures approved by Crabbe and urged the board to fire him. She urged them to replace him with “a pono CEO” who can help guide the comprehensive audit and come up with an anti-corruption plan.
But DeMont Conner of Nanakuli said the board of trustees is ultimately responsible for any misspending.
“If the paperwork wasn’t correct, you should have caught that. If the policies and procedures weren’t right, that’s your responsibility to fix that. But yet,
because the heat is on, you like nix the brother to save your own okole,” he said.
Caberto, an OHA Fiscal
Department employee who addressed the board while she was on vacation, said
the problem isn’t the administrator.
“The true travesty is the monies that have been spent for legal fees amongst you all fighting each other,” Caberto said. “We do a lot
of beautiful work here. I’ve seen it. But because you spend so much time fighting, our people don’t see the good we do. Be the heroes. Lay your swords down.”