COUNTY COUNCIL ACCEPTS $10 MILLION GRANT FROM STATE WITHOUT VIEWING AGREEMENT
First hypocrisy at its finest from OHA and its protestors. Now greed and impulsiveness from the State and County. Here’s just another prime example of their bending the rules to meet their own needs, and wasting more of taxpayers time and money.
On November 19, 2019, the city council finance committee had held a meeting that required them to decide whether or not they should accept $10 million dollars from the State for reimbursement. This particular meeting was then postponed to Dec. 3, 2019.
Resolution 403-19 authorized the Office of the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the State of Hawaii pursuant to HRS 46-7, for a grant to the Hawaii County Police Department to cover the costs of the Mauna Kea protesting. However, there are just a few problems with this picture. HRS 46-7 requires the consent and signature of the city council to enter into such agreement. But the agreement had already been signed by the state and Mayor’s office on Nov. 5, 2019.
In attendance during this Dec. 3 meeting, was Joseph Kamelamela from the Office of the Corporation Counsel. Conveniently, Mr. Kamelamela, forgot to bring a copy of the final agreement for the committee to review and authorize. But wanted the council to authorize it anyway without seeing the agreement, and with the condition that they will attach to Bill 115, the Fire Department’s revenue and expenditures related to the Mauna Kea costs at a later time. But what use is that now if the agreement had already been signed? The state completely bypassed what was required by council. Sound familiar?
Mr. Kamelamela went on to say that the state had already partially reimbursed the Hawaii County Fire Department of approximately $5 million dollars without their consent. And further added that this grant money was already included in the budget for the fiscal year that had already been allocated to June 30th. The council was told by Mr. Kamelamela, “it doesn’t matter how the Fire Department gets their funding. And that the council could ratify the agreement if they wanted to, but it would be a challenge because the state would have to attend.”
When questioned by the committee about the legality of this action, and how is it that the funds to the county via state for one Hawaii County department can be approved by council and not the other? Mr. Kamelamela replied, “In reference to the doctrine of revelation, this is the appropriate method that’s been utilized by many councils prior to this. This is not illegal and I could never accept that.”
City council member Matt Kaneali`i Kleinfelder asked if the council was ever going to see that agreement? Which Mr. Kamelamela replied, “Nobody ever asked for it. If you want a copy of the agreement, I can give it to you.” But then turns around and says, “It takes agreements time to get finalized.” So which is it? Was it signed or is it still being finalized?
So let me get this straight. Grant money of $10 million was supposed to go to both the Hawaii County Fire Department and the Hawaii Police Department. However, the Fire Department already received $5million from a “different grant” that was already included in their fiscal year budget that ended on June 30th. So are we made to believe that the Fire department accrued $5 million worth of expenditures towards the mauna kea costs up to June 30th, when the protesting didn’t even begin until July 15, 2019?
So does this now mean the entire $10 million grant is to be given to the Hawaii Police Department who had only accrued 4.7 million in costs? And what happens to the remaining $5.3 million? Well, Mr. Kamelamela’s assistant will tell you that it will be held in a special account until the funds are released. Released to who exactly? Hawaii County Fire Department already got paid. His assistant had already told the council that the $10 million number was just given to them out of thin air since the Fire Department had already accrued close to $5 million in costs. So in other words, the Hawaii County Fire department is still counting on getting a piece of the pie from this recent $10 million grant too.
Council member Valerie Poindexter stated, “I don’t know what we are approving, and I understand the frustration of the people, but I’m not going to be foolish enough not to take the money. That money is ours — the people’s money.” Glad she corrected that last line. And Ms. Poindexter, you are a fool for agreeing to a contract that you never viewed.
I don’t know about you all, but I think our county and state officials, including OHA and DHHL should be held to a higher standard. Perhaps a class action lawsuit by all taxpayers for mismanagement of taxpayer funds, and unconstitutional laws are in order? I say the millions of dollars that we are giving OHA and DHHL annually for no reason, can pay for a new access road for everyone, and pay for the people’s legal representation. I also encourage TMT to do the same should they be driven out. I also say, that all funding that is being provided to OHA be stopped and placed on hold until they release all their financial records to the FBI and state Attorney General’s Office, including the records of the three LLC’s that they think they have hidden from everyone. Better check yourselves before you wreck yourselves. All of you!