New questions raised about loan to ousted Bishop Museum CEO

New questions raised about loan to museum CEO

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state Attorney General's office investigates dozens of questionable credit card expenditures by the ousted CEO of the Bishop Museum, there are new questions about whether he improperly benefited from his position.

Blair Collis has served as the museum's CEO for nearly five years, but last Friday the museum announced he would be stepping down from his post, which pays more than $200,000 a year.

The state is looking into more than $14,000 in expenditures on Collis' museum credit card.

Sources said that most of the transactions were allegedly for personal travel. And in its filings with the IRS, the museum said the credit card expenses were converted into a loan after they were rejected as legitimate.

"My sense is there is concern about expenditures of funds and that dictates to people in these positions that they have to be extra careful," said attorney Eric Seitz, who knows Collis.

Sources said that board members are also looking into a separate $40,000 loan that Collis obtained from an elderly former director.

They said the former board member was in discussions to leave her Diamond Head estate to the museum, but pulled back due to alleged ill dealings arising from the loan.

Seitz said the museum's board should have conducted an independent investigation before accepting Collis' resignation.

He said that many of the expenditures are work-related and that the loan was a personal one unrelated to museum business.

He blames political infighting for Collis' departure.

"In this case the board knew ... all of the facts and frankly had decided at one point it didn't warrant sufficient concern," he said. "And then other people didn't like that and stepped in and basically began to shake things up."

Collis could not be reached for comment. His last day is Friday.

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