By: Trustee Rowena Akana
Source: The Garden Island, October 15, 2008
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oswald Stender’s Saturday (“Election-year smears,” Letters, Oct. 11) letter against me just shows that he is living in complete denial about his friends Haunani Apoliona and Colette Machado and is terrified that when they lose this election, he will have to give up his Finance Committee where all of the excess spending has come from and will have to submit to a forensic audit.
For the record:
• I have never used OHA money to take any personal trips and have never solicited invitations to take trips anywhere.
• All of my travel has been approved by the OHA administrator.
• I am the chair of the Native Hawaiian Health Task Force, which has never been dissolved by the board.
• It was Stender and Trustee Boyd Mossman who asked me to speak with the local representative of the Jack Abramoff firm. On a trip to Washington, D.C., trustees Machado, Apoliona, Dante Carpenter, John Waihee IV, myself and the administrator all interviewed three lobbyist firms. I never, at any time, insisted that OHA hire the Abramoff firm.
• Apoliona has, by far, outspent all current and past trustees with her travel expenses. On one trip to D.C. in 2007 alone, she spent nearly $9,000. She spent $56,000 from 2005-2006.
• People who remember when Stender was with the Bishop Estate know that he created so much trouble from the inside of that institution that it finally collapsed and now the Princess’ will has been broken forever.
• As a Bishop Estate trustee, Stender formed a consortium with private investors to outbid his own board to buy a section of land from Maui Land & Pine. He even used a study done by Bishop Estate for his private use with his consortium. For this action, he should have been removed as a trustee for a breach of trust.
It is really sad to see someone so afraid of losing his power on the OHA board that he will do anything — even lie and twist the truth — to discredit his fellow trustee to maintain the status quo.
This is exactly why there needs to be changes on the OHA board. It’s time, folks, it’s time.