Longest-running OHA trustee, facing charges of ethics violations, fails in re-election bid

Kalei Akaka wins Oahu trustee seat

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The granddaughter of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is among those elected to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Kalei Akaka won the Oahu trustee seat, beating out family friend Esther Kiaaina.

Meanwhile, the winners of the three open at-large seats were: John D. Waihee, Lei Ahu Isa and Brendon Kaleiaina Lee.

Not among the winners: Rowena Akana, OHA’s longest-running trustee, who is facing charges of ethics violations.

The races come amid mounting questions about how OHA is managed, spends its money and awards contracts.

At the same time, Akana is fighting off allegations of accepting improper gifts.

Kiaaina said OHA’s problems are what prompted her to run.

“With a dysfunctional Office of Hawaiian Affairs, you really need someone who can go in there from day one restoring trust at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs,” Kiaaina said. "I believe I’m the right person to do that.

Akaka works at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama in the middle school staff administration and worked at the state Legislature.

“I’m so fortunate to have had a lifetime of experience having grown up in a family dedicated to service, doing things in the spirit of aloha,” Akaka said.

The winner of the open Maui trustee seat: Carmen Lindsey.

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