OHA’s “Executive Meeting” Monday Another Violation of Sunshine Law?

As a State of Hawai‘i government agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs comes under the Sunshine Law. The purpose of the sunshine law is to provide public input and oversight for board and commission meetings of the State of Hawai‘i government. The State of Hawai‘i Office of Information Practices (OIP) oversees compliance to the Sunshine Law, which is a criminal statute.

According to the OIP Guide to the Sunshine Law for State and County Boards, “the intent of the Sunshine Law is to open up governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation by requiring state and county boards to conduct their business as openly as possible. The Legislature expressly declared that ‘it is the policy of this State that the formation and conduct of public policy—the discussions, deliberation, decisions, and actions of governmental agencies—shall be conducted as openly as possible.’”

All meetings of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees (BOT) must be open to the public and the BOT must accept testimony, both written and oral, at its meetings. The BOT, however, can hold meetings that are not open to the public, which are called “executive meetings.” Executive meetings can only be convened for eight reasons: licensee information, personnel decisions, labor negotiations/public property acquisition, consult with Board’s attorney, investigate criminal misconduct, public safety/security, private donations, and State/Federal law or court order.

The OIP Guide states, that in order to “convene an executive meeting, a board must vote to do so in an open meeting and must publicly announce the purpose of the executive meeting. Two-thirds of the board members present must vote in favor of holding the executive meeting, and the members voting in favor must also make up a majority of all board members, including members not present at the meeting or membership slots not currently filled. The minutes of the open meeting must reflect the vote of each board member on the question of closing the meeting to the public.”

The BOT, however, could hold an “emergency meeting” that does not require notification with the Lieutenant Governor’s office and agenda only if there’s “an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare.”

The OIC Guide states, “A willful violation of the Sunshine Law is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may result in the person being removed from the board. The Attorney General and the country prosecutor have the power to enforce any violations of the statute.”

As reported by Larry Geller of the Disappeared News.com, there is no evidence that the BOT complied with the Sunshine Law and that the BOT’s meeting in Washington, D.C., where the Trustees voted to rescind the CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe’s letter to Secretary of State Kerry, was held in secret. Information is now surfacing that there was no meeting of the BOT in Washington, D.C., and consequently if there was no meeting then there could have been no votes. The only evidence to confirm that a meeting was held is to have minutes of the meeting that would signify each of the Trustee’s votes and the discussion that preceded it. Furthermore, in order for this meeting to be in compliance with the Sunshine Law, the Lieutenant Governor’s office was supposed to have been notified six days in advance with the agenda for the meeting that was supposed to have been open to the public. But the Lieutenant Governor’s office has no record that any meeting took place in the month of May.

If there was to be a meeting, which we know there wasn’t, the Chairperson of the BOT could have convened an “special meeting” in Washington, D.C., where there existed an unanticipated event that requires a board to take immediate action. On this matter, the OIC Guide states that a “board may convene a special meeting with less than six calendar days’ notice because of an unanticipated event when a board must take action or a matter over which it has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.” However, as confirmed by Mr. Gellar of Disappeared News.com, the Lieutenant Governor’s office has no record that notice of the May 9, 2014 BOT meeting was filed, thereby signaling a clear violation of the Sunshine Law and calling into question the validity of the May 9, 2014 BOT meeting and all actions allegedly discussed and voted on by the BOT.

On May 13, 2014, the Lieutenant Governor’s office received a request from OHA Trustee Colette Y. Machado, Chairperson, Board of Trustees announcing an “Executive Session” meeting of the BOT for Monday, May 19, 2014, to “consider appropriate action with respect to the conduct of Dr. Crabbe,” and “questions and issues pertaining to the Board’s powers and duties under its governance initiate.” This is an executive meeting not open to the public.

BOT_5_19_14 Agenda

The glaring problem with having this closed “executive meeting” is that it required an open “meeting” first. According to the Sunshine Law, “two-thirds of the board members present must vote in favor of holding the executive meeting, and the members voting in favor must also make up a majority of all board members,” and that “the minutes of the open meeting must reflect the vote of each board member on the question of closing the meeting to the public.” If there was no open meeting in Washington, D.C., to begin with, how could Trustee Chairwoman Colette Machado call for an “executive meeting” without first having a open meeting? Simply answered, she can’t because there was never a meeting to begin with.

Further complicating this issue for the BOT is that the Sunshine Law was directly addressed in an open meeting at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on January 13, 2014. The issues centered on the commercial development of Kaka‘ako and whether or not actions taken by the Board violated the Sunshine Law. Former Associate Justice of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and now BOT Counsel, Robert Klein, made the following statement to the Board’s open meeting of the Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment, which are reflected in the minutes. All nine of the Trustees were present.

Minutes of January 13, 2014:
Robert_KleinBoard Counsel Klein shares that there are a few exceptions. We operate on the principle that if you have two trustees, you’re fairly safe in not filing agendas for meetings between the two. The whole point of the sunshine law is to give notice to the public; if you’re having something that resembles a meeting (a quorum of Trustees that are meeting about anything).

In the case where you have two trustees who are meeting, in most situations that is way short of a quorum. Whatever they’re discussing, as long as they’re not trading votes or making arrangements on a certain issue, you’re not going to run afoul of the sunshine law.

When you get to three trustees, you need a special exemption. Many boards and commissions have 5 members, so when you have 3 together, you have quorum. However, this is a large board where there are 9 of you, so you don’t have a quorum until there are 5 you; so 3 is a safe number. The question is whether you can find an exception in the sunshine law for 3 trustees to meet together and when you look at the sunshine law there are certain exceptions called “Permitted Interactions” and what that means is you can have interactions with 2 or more trustees short of a quorum as long as you’re not trading votes and deciding things away from the public eye.

Under these circumstances the legislature has provided for exceptions. In this situation, the only exception that potentially applies is the exception where two or more but less than a quorum of trustees meet to discuss or negotiate a point that the trustees as a whole in public have already agreed to be the position of OHA and that commission or committee of the Board is moving forward running with the proposal already approved in public by the trustees.

Colette MachadoTrustee Chairwoman Machado cannot claim ignorance of the Sunshine Law and nor can all nine of the Trustees. The actions taken by the Board in Washington, D.C., clearly was in violation of the Sunshine Law. The irony of the whole situation is that the May 9 letter to Secretary of State Kerry attempting to rescind the CEO’s letter of inquiry, which has all nine signatures of the Trustees, is the evidence of the violation of the Sunshine Law. As such, this would consequently render the Trustees’ letter to Secretary of State Kerry “void” because it stemmed from a direct violation of the law itself.

Trustees Dan Ahuna and Hulu Lindsey took the right steps in removing their names from the May 9, 2014 rescinding letter because it shows that there was no “willful violation of the Sunshine Law,” which is a misdemeanor, on their part. It would make sense for all of the Trustees to follow their example before its too late.

CORRECTION: It was incorrectly stated that the meeting scheduled for Monday, May 19, 2014, was an executive meeting closed to the public. The meeting is an open meeting, but a portion of the meeting would be closed to the public. Since the closed meeting is an extension of the original violation of the Sunshine Law that took place in Washington, D.C., the Monday meeting is illegal.

22 thoughts on “OHA’s “Executive Meeting” Monday Another Violation of Sunshine Law?

  1. Flawless logic! Love it! How can we apply this to other government functions, like getting rid of depleted uranium contamination at Pohakuloa? Beginning the closing of US bases? Closing down GMO/pesticide use?

  2. How is the ruckus of OHA’s current situation affect Hawai`i’s sovereign status? None! OHA is an entity of the illegal SOH via the illegal occupier, USA. Granted what Kamana`o’s letter was a good move. It placed the Burden of Proof in Sen. John Kerry, aka United States hand’s. But what OHA supports does not legalize anything even with signatures. The palapala America has sought for 121 years will never be theirs. And OHA attempt is still invalid. Thus, No Treaty of Annexation, Nation within a Nation, Federal Recognition. Not even the vote to Independence because we already are! As for those who have signed? well only time will tell as to where they really stand. The education is too widespread to claim ignorance any longer. And they will be held accountable for treason and OHA will be guilty for sure if they contunue. And if OHA is waiting for an answer from Sen. Kerry, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Similar requests have been ignored before. Although, an answer would definitely be welcomed. Either way it would be an interesting read.

    Can someone explain: if OHA’s existence is a fraud, what danger does it truly pose to our country’s legitimacy? It is evident that OHA IS RACE-BASED, I repeat, RACE-BASED. Unlike the Ku`e Petitions, the signatures were from nationals who were fully aware of the truth. They gave Queen Liliuokalani their full support knowing full well that the overthrow was illegal and America could not legally annex Hawai`i without the Queen being the Head of State of Hawai`i and her people (citizens). It was a time when international recognition was understood and Cleveland knew this along with others in Washington. So what did Congress do? They went into a private session and passed a Congressional Resolution of Annexation to pose as a Treaty of Annexation between Hawai`i and the United States of America. Very much like what OHA does and continue to do. I would say they’ve had a “good?” role model and have learned very well from it.

    These OHA problems has caused a lot of confusion and has led us off the path of truth. What is the truth?. America is illegally occupying the Hawaiian Kingdom. We have taken OHA’s bait to sideswipe us into chaotic disarray causing us to focus on lies and deceit. We must get back and focus on the goal to de-occupy our country. OHA’s incident has caused us to trust the enemy. OHA is our enemy- the sellout of our freedom.

    In my opinion, the solution of OHA’s issues are irrelevant. What they (all) have done is dig themselves further into the pit of war crimes. And because of their pride, they refuse to stop. I’m not quite sure what Kamana`o’s reasons for writing that letter. It did sound like a good idea at the time. I’d like to believe that he was sincere. And because of it my husband and I had signed his support petition. I would like to believe he has moved on to the path of truth to seek justice. But after all the kaka I’ve heard, I think I need to step back and to be objective.

    I believe that the education I’ve received and am still learning is taking our country to a brighter and hopefully a peaceful future. To make our own decisions knowing that what we do will benefit the nationality of our own country, to realize our votes can be the platform of keeping our governmental leaders truthful from private agendas. That we will not longer have to “pay” for another country’s wealth. It is too valuable to regress into the cloud indoctrination. Too long have we been led by private agenda, greed and western ways that led us astray. We need to back to basics but always be mindful of those lessons. I want to be part of to solution not the problem.

    I would appreciate your comments.

    Mahalo piha.

    • Aloha Doreen,
      I believe your comments are spot-on. I would just like to add one other point. Dr. Kamana’opono Crabbe’s letter got a lot of media attention and many people here in Hawai’i, who knew very little about this issue, learned a lot from it. He introduced key words and phases that got attention, like Hawaiian Kingdom, sovereign independent State, international law, the sole-executive agreements, and incurred criminal liability under international law.

      For those of us who have been paying attention, we understand the meaning of these words, but for all the others, who probably do comprise the majority of our population in Hawai’i today, this is all news to them. But the fact that this information came from such a respected member of the community will make folks take a closer look at what’s really going on here. That in itself is worth more that all the money OHA has dumped into their “nation-building” campaign.

      • Excellent input from Doreen and Mahina. This controversy is helping to educate many people to the reality that this is not a mere “academic exercise” or (heaven forbid) a “conspiracy theory.” (But of course what happened in 1893 WAS a conspiracy of the highest order.) I will be doing a presentation in Maine on Sunday on this subject,doing my part to educate Americans about the phony history they have been taught. What Mr. Crabbe has done is courageous, but I concur with the above remarks that whatever Mr.Kerry says, if anything, is irrelevant to the core matter. It is essential for non-Hawaiians to truly “get the message” and opt out of the empire. Is anyone running via Hawai’i Green Party on the issues of political sovereignty and food sovereignty, etc.?

        • Mahalo, Jon and e kala mai Doreene for misspelling your name,
          For so long now, we’ve been pretty much “preaching to the choir” because the choir has been the only ones who have been paying attention. Dr. Crabbe’s letter has opened up those doors and taken this conversation to the people who have been unaware of the whole situation. Yes Jon, it took a tremendous amount of courage to do what he did, but now that he has, it’s up to us to keep the discussion flowing with the truth and facts.

  3. Unfortunately this is the kind of things that happens when u sow into unrighteousness, greed , selfishness . Sad but very telling of the players. Need to get back to righteousness , integrity ,. Government officials serve the people not themselves . U know who u are no need to give names . Light always exposes darkness no worries just repent / apologize and move forward.

    • This is true Kaipo, im sad to say the puppet office of Hawaiian affairs is blinded because of power and money. Shame they cannot see the hewa they create, like threatening people into signing up by saying you going lose all your rights if you don’t sign up. Just by saying this they all should be in jail. What kind of beginning can this lead to? Only leads to more tricks/threats and lies. The fact of the matter is you guys dog and pony show is a blatant disregard for our queen. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government still exist with FULL constitutions and laws that has no racial clauses. Starting a new nation within a nation not only goes against international laws, it also makes fools of those in charge of doing so. Nation within a nation will receive monetary donations from the federal government in thee amount of nickel and dimes until they don’t want to give it anymore. Full independence as the true Hawaiian kingdom government will generate billions in revenues for our people and also take care of our own resources, aina, water, remove the u.s military e.t.c…. Maka ala look at yourselves, shame. ke akua malama na kanaka

  4. Aloha Kaipo. I beg to differ with you, but to just enlighten you on your comment about repent and apology. In any civilized society their is a thing called the rule of law. That applies to Hawaiian Kingdom Law as well as the United States of America Law, which BOT (Bureau of Trustee’s) are mandated to up hold! BOT (Bureau of Trustee’s is In the position of authority to affect a great number of very important issues that effect the Hawaiian’s Sovereignty’s Vision. The kangaroo court system pre- 1893 does not apply here, Just present 2014 and beyond “pono “discussions is what we seek and demand. Entertaining the thought of “Attempts to Denationalized Inhabitants of Occupied Territories, is a sin that we as Hawaiians can not grant a pass. Just one of thousands opinions feel the same, Be scrutinizing the many players of oppression, your on notice ………..

    • shame, sound like one American Hawaiian, in fact united states went create that term ” Hawaiian”. Another way to mix up the people. The kanaka people against your so called meetings to create a nation. We have our nation already. Final Notice

  5. While at the final Maui meeting, Machado expressed the thought that people are “reading” into this and that the closed door session is actually to benefit Kamanaopono, to limit the bleeding, or something to that effect. She said that he can share the gist of the meeting afterwards if he wishes.

    Sounds like she’s confident that she’s got the votes she needs to rid “her” board of Crabbe.

      • That’s just my thought. Check out Mauinow.com for their report of the Maui gathering. It just didn’t seem like she was very shaken or thought much of the Sunshine Law.

  6. Aloha Doreene
    I’m with you. This whole process that oha is doing is a complete waste of time and money. How can oha build a Hawaiian nation. The Hawaiian nation was built in 1843 by Kamehameha lll. We call it the Hawaiian Kingdom. It was never transfered or ceded it was seized in 1898 and has been illeagaly occupied by America for military purposes. There is no treaty of cession, there is no 50th star and there is no OHA.
    That money you are using to denationalize my fellow country men belongs to the Hawaiian Kingdom.
    OHA please be well aware that WAR CRIMES are serious serious business. OHA perhaps your next meeting instead of going to Washington DC for answers get in touch with Dr Sai …. hawaiiankingdom.org/blog… GET EDUCATED. You’re either with us or against us….. We are all on this journey of knowledge…..
    Mahalo Doreene

    • The money is no the Hawaiian kingdoms $$ its Americas $$ the people who runs oha Hawaiian homes and the fake state of Hawaii (fed gov money ) its not ours once you say its ours then your saying we belong to the us. In time they will have to pay they Hawaiian kingdom . aloha and be strong

      • Aloha Elson. The Hawaiian Kingdom is illegally occupied by the USA. As such, the HK’s resources: land, water, mineral rights, and revenue are pillaged and plundered to benefit of the country of the United States of America.

        See HK blog 1/25/14, Hawaiian War Crimes: Extensive Appropriation of Property. “Between 2002 and 2012, the United States Internal Revenue Service, hereinafter “IRS,” illegally appropriated $74.8 million dollars from the residents of the Hawaiian Islands. During this same period, the government of the State of Hawai‘i additionally appropriated $2.2 billion dollars illegally. The IRS is an agency of the United States of America and cannot appropriate money from the inhabitants of an occupied State without violating international law. The State of Hawai‘i is a political subdivision of the United States of America established by an Act of Congress in 1959 and as an entity without any extraterritorial effect, it couldn’t appropriate money from the inhabitants of an occupied State without violating the international laws of occupation.”

        The manini money Hawai`i receives from America is not out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s ours! The money is funneled back out of the resources illegally taken from Hawai`i. The SOH agencies, DHHL & OHA are illegal entities receiving stolen property to run their programs.

        Don’t be misled, any money we receive by the USA Legislative directives are disguised to look as if the USA “owns” those resources. This are international war crimes.

        It’s all about understanding our history and continued education.

        Aloha piha.

  7. If the sunshine law applies to OHA, SHOULDN’T APPLY TO Act 195, Kana’iolowalu, the governor, and DHHL? Those should be investigated as well since we’ve been railroaded into the Akaka Bill by manipulation and a play of semantics to deceive and commit fraud. Those backroom deals are a killer in their continued conspiracy. Fight them with their own weapons…

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