Aloha, Trustee Donald Cataluna

It is with great trepidation that I bid a fond Aloha to my friend and fellow trustee Donald Cataluna, who has been a strong voice for his beneficiaries on the islands of Kauai and Niihau for many years.

Don is known for his passion for protecting native rights and his deep compassion for our beneficiaries in need.  He is credited with stopping NASA from constructing a massive building alongside their telescopes on sacred Mauna Kea and saving the Salt Ponds in Lihue as well as many other projects.

Don has been a true leader whose main focus has been to protect our trust assets while working tirelessly in our beneficiaries’ best interest.

I will miss him.

OHA Election

My congratulations go out to Dan Ahuna, our newly elected Trustee for the islands of Kauai and Niihau and to Maui Trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Hawaii Island Trustee Robert K. Lindsey Jr., and Molokai & Lanai Trustee Colette Machado, on their re-election.  I look forward to working with all of them over the next two years to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.

OHA’s “money pit” now at $28,128,000.00 and growing

When the Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of the Gentry Pacific Design Center this past summer for $21,370,000.00, I was one of several Trustees with serious concerns about the purchase.  There were just too many “unknowns” about the property and I personally felt very uncomfortable with the purchase.  For example:

  • The Gentry Pacific Design Center is 80-years-old and its electrical system is outdated;
  •  The enormous cost and resulting disruption of relocating OHA staff to the Design Center; and
  • The cost of changing the Design Center into an office building.

As I feared the costs associated with the Gentry Pacific Design Center, which is now referred to as the “Corporate Office Building” or “COB” are skyrocketing to nearly $30 million.

On November 1, 2012, the Board of Trustees authorized nearly $7,000,000 in expenditures:

(1) Up to $663,000.00 in essential costs relating to:

  • Tenant Improvement Allowances – $400,000/year for up to 20,000 of the leasable square footage which will be leased or renewed through June 30, 2013; and
  • Immediate Due Diligence Projects – $263,000, including the replacement of a 23-year-old fire alarm system ($100,000)

(2) Up to $6,095,000.00 in design and construction and non-OHA tenant relocation costs relating to OHA’s relocation to COB; and

(3) “Secondary Repairs” – It should be noted that OHA still has to pay for repairs totaling an estimated $404,000 beginning in year three, mainly to repaint the building exterior ($110,000) and to replace the single-ply roofing membrane ($250,000).

As I have said before, it makes absolutely no sense that OHA is spending a great deal of money to purchase and renovate an 80-year-old Design Center full of existing tenants instead of using the $28,128,000 to build a brand new state-of-the-art office building on land we already own.

My preferred location for a new OHA Headquarters is on the Kakaako Makai settlement properties that we recently received from the State.  The Kakaako waterfront is an excellent place for economic development and a permanent home for OHA’s headquarters.

Is anyone listening?  If you are interested in why OHA would spend all this money on an old building that was not for sale, please call (594-1857) or write to Trustee Oswald Stender.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!