State Ethics Commission releases new details in charter school i - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State Ethics Commission releases new details in charter school investigation

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission's 145-page complaint alleges that elementary school vice-principal Kurumi Kaapana-Aki was absent from Myron B. Thompson Academy during school hours on numerous occasions.

Records show that on those same days she was working for Hawaiian Airlines as a flight attendant.

Commission executive director Les Kondo said that raises a huge concern.

"It appears she didn't have to account for any of these absences from school during school hours," he said.

Attendance records show that from the 2006-2007 school year to the 2011-2012 year, Kaapana-Aki was absent for all or parts of 144 school days. Kondo said Hawaiian Airlines records show that on the same days she flew for Hawaiian.

"The 144 days, as we calculate it, is almost twenty percent of the instruction days. So that's one day out of every week, basically," he said.

Kaapana-Aki was hired to oversee the elementary school by her sister, Academy principal Diana Oshiro, who is also being investigated. Kaapana-Aki earns about $100,000 a year as vice-principal. That includes $35,000 a year as a Temporary Contract Employee. The sisters are suspected of trying to retroactively account for Kaapana-Aki's unauthorized leave by "back dating" leave applications to give the impression they were approved.

"The documents seemed to have been created to give somebody the impression that things were done contemporaneously," Kondo said.

The Ethics Commission's release of a Further Statement of Alleged Violation comes on the heels of Monday's raid of the Academy by the state Attorney General's office. Documents were seized in a criminal investigation.

"The Ethics Commission has no criminal sanction. It's not involved in any type of criminal investigation," Kondo said.

The Ethics Commission has scheduled a hearing for next March. If the women are found to have violated state ethics rules they could be fined up to $500 per violation.

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