Ethics hearing begins for OHA trustee accused of accepting improper gifts, misusing allowance

Rowena Akana is accused of using her trustee allowance to pay personal expenses.

Ethics hearing begins for OHA trustee accused of accepting improper gifts, misusing allowance
The State Ethics Commission's hearing began Monday concerning allegations of improper gifts and spending by OHA trustee Rowena Akana.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A hearing kicked off Monday for an OHA trustee accused of misusing funds for personal expenses.

The state Ethics Commission began a contested case hearing on allegations of improper gifts and spending by OHA Trustee Rowena Akana.

Akana is accused of using her trustee allowance to pay for personal expenses and for improperly accepting more than $70,000 from heiress Abigail Kawananakoa to pay for legal fees.

“The evidence will show dozens of instances in which Respondent Akana used her position to provide unwarranted benefits to herself and others, including cable television, parties, political contributions,” said Daniel Gluck, executive director of the state Ethics Commission.

Akana’s attorney, Stephen Tannenbaum countered, “It might look bad on paper, but there’s always a perfectly rationale explanation when you go beyond just a receipt as to why the respondent was thinking this was in the interest of Hawaiians.”

The hearing is expected to last at least one week.

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