Why Two OHA Trustees Should Not Return to OHA

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
Friday, September 26, 2008

Source: Letter sent to various newspaper editors

OHA has had no fiscal accountability under Haunani Apoliona’s chairmanship. Programs have been eliminated or outsourced while our annual budget has doubled from $24 million to $52 million. The contracts of underperforming vendors have been unlawfully extended multiple times.

Apoliona has spent millions flying first-class and hosting lavish parties on the mainland. Her sister also works for OHA and recently had nearly $50,000 on her personal charge card reimbursed by OHA.

Morale at OHA has never been lower. Ten employees were fired or quit this year. Employees are fingerprinted for I.D. cards, tracked by security cameras, and constantly reminded that they can be fired at anytime.

Apoliona’s friend, Trustee Colette Machado, misled the Board into approving a resolution supporting Molokai Ranch’s plan to donate thousands of acres of land to the community in exchange for a development of high-end homes on the ranch. Machado said the community supported this effort, which turned out to be false. Machado was also involved with the group that was to control the donated lands and she is now its chairperson. Machado’s group recently received a $100,000 OHA grant for “operating costs.”

In this election year, voters must make the necessary changes and elect people who will be accountable.