By: TRUSTEE ROWENA AKANA
Source: February 2008 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column
`Ano`ai kakou… As those of you who read my columns religiously are aware, because of the article I wrote in December of 2007 criticizing the OHA Chairperson Haunani Apoliona’s leadership of OHA, I was pressured by five of my colleagues to resign as vice-chair of the budget committee.
The other thing that occurred was a paid article written by Mrs. Winona Rubin in our January 2008 Ka Wai Ola newspaper in which she tried to discredit my criticisms. While I could go down the list of her ridiculous excuses and disqualify and negate everything that she said, it would only end up being a waste of your time. Let me simply say that Mrs. Rubin is in a great deal of conflict of interest and everything that she said in her ad should be looked at in that light.
First off, Mrs. Rubin is the chief-of-staff for Chairperson Apoliona. Before that, she was her administrative aide. Before that, she was her boss at Alu Like, Inc. They have had a very close relationship for over 30 years. Her biased opinion should be viewed as just that, biased.
What I would like to know is why Haunani Apoliona cannot speak for herself. After all, I personally hold her responsible for all of the turmoil that is going on inside of OHA: the Low morale, turn-over of employees, favoritism, nepotism, and distrust among employees. Mrs. Rubin should stop embarrassing herself with her poor excuses and provide all of us with real answers.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain, in detail, the expenses thus far for the legal advice from the attorneys we hired who have not been able to deliver in any success in moving our federal legislation forward.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can justify why there was no evaluation of their performance before Chairperson Apoliona recommended that their contract be extended for a third time.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can justify all of the millions of dollars spent on the continent for Kau Inoa registrations, done by non profits and others, to register Hawaiians and paid as much as $10.00 for each application.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain why, for the past two years, more effort has been spent getting signatures on the continent instead of focusing on our own state where 80% of the Hawaiian population resides.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain why Chairperson Apoliona’s sister has been put in charge of mainland registrations and flies first-class each time she travels.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain how Chairperson Apoliona’s sister was able to obtain an OHA charge card for $10,000 when not even Trustees have charge cards.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain why, when Chairperson Apoliona’s sister maxed out the charge card, she was allowed to continue making purchases with her own credit card and have OHA reimburse her in the 5 figure range and still counting for hotel, air fare, receptions, car rentals, etc., even when in some instances there were no receipts, and in some cases the travel was not authorized.
- Perhaps Mrs. Rubin can explain why Chairperson Apoliona’s sister was not fired for these egregious actions using Native Hawaiian Trust Funds. Would she have been fired if she were not the Chairperson’s sister?
- To date, no grand total of expenditures have been given to Trustees regarding the Kau Inoa registrations, or the total amount OHA spent on Federal legislation.
Finally, if Mrs. Rubin wants positive things to occur at OHA in 2008 she needs to begin with addressing some of more pressing internal issues within OHA and be honest in her assessment and not blinded by conflicts of interest.