Ethics Commission says UH free ticket policy broke ethics law - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ethics Commission says UH free ticket policy broke ethics law, needs changes

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The State Ethics Commission is recommending that the University of Hawaii revamp its complimentary ticket policies because UH has been breaking ethics laws by giving away too many freebies to staff and family members.

UH issued new policies last September that clamped down on how many free tickets UH officials and their family members can receive to UH games, such as football and volleyball. 

But the Ethics Commission said that policy still violates state ethics law. 

"There's a number of areas where the commission has commented where they think the policies allow tickets that may be inconsistent with the state ethics code," said State Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo.  

The commission voted unanimously in a 4-0 vote Wednesday to approve the guidance to UH, which it issued Thursday. 

"What the commission is saying is that just because you work at the university and you hold a certain title at the university, you're not entitled to a complimentary ticket or a complimentary season ticket," Kondo said. 

The Ethics Commission said the UH president, UH Manoa chancellor and members of the Board of Regents serve a "protocol function" at UH games and other events. So ethics commissioners said those top UH officials are allowed one free ticket for themselves and a second ticket for their significant other. But they'd have to purchase tickets for other family members, Kondo said. 

For other UH employees, even high-level officials such as vice presidents and vice chancellors, the Ethics Commission recommended a much stricter policy.

"Complimentary tickets can only be issued if there's a legitimate state purpose, in other words if an employee needs to be there for a work purpose," Kondo said. 

That means the UH employee must actually be working at the game to get a freebie.  

Kondo gave examples such as, "Where a university official is hosting a donor or potential donor. Or perhaps someone from a different university, a counterpart from a different university." 

Over the last three years, former UH Regent Michael Dahilig received dozens of UH tickets worth $5,359, sometimes receiving three, four and in one case seven free tickets to different UH games. This policy would not allow that to happen again.

Dahilig, whose regent's term expired last year, applied to become the Board of Regents' executive secretary, a six-figure position that has been vacant for the past six months.  The regents have not taken action on that appointment. 

The commission is leaving implementation up to UH.  The university did not respond to Hawaii News Now's request for comment by late afternoon Thursday. 

"The university has been very cooperative in trying to adjust their policies to be consistent with the commission's position with respect to how it interprets the ethics code," Kondo said.

He said he has had numerous discussions with UH General Counsel Darolyn Lendio, the UH's top lawyer, about the issue. 

Asked why the public should care about free UH tickets, Kondo said, "They have a relatively significant dollar value associated with a football ticket, for instance, so the commission's viewpoint is there needs to be somebody that is watching over these tickets and is making sure that they're given away for legitimate purposes." 

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:32 AM EDT2018-06-21 14:32:03 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 11:18 AM EDT2018-06-22 15:18:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington.  The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...(AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>
  • Guam man sentenced for girlfriend's death in 2013 shooting

    Guam man sentenced for girlfriend's death in 2013 shooting

    Friday, June 22 2018 11:18 AM EDT2018-06-22 15:18:35 GMT
    (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

    A Guam man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting his girlfriend after an argument about burned rice in 2013. 

    More >>

    A Guam man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting his girlfriend after an argument about burned rice in 2013. 

    More >>
  • 2 airlines ask US not to put migrant children on flights

    2 airlines ask US not to put migrant children on flights

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 1:21 PM EDT2018-06-20 17:21:43 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 11:15 AM EDT2018-06-22 15:15:43 GMT
    United and American Airlines asked the federal government not to use their companies to transport migrant children who were separated from their parents. (Source: Facebook)United and American Airlines asked the federal government not to use their companies to transport migrant children who were separated from their parents. (Source: Facebook)

    American Airlines says it has asked the US not to use its flights to transport migrant children who have been separated from their parents.

    More >>

    American Airlines says it has asked the US not to use its flights to transport migrant children who have been separated from their parents.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly