Waimanalo teen facing homestead eviction over DHHL lease dispute

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fifteen-year-old Micheal Tacub is facing eviction from his family's Hawaiian homestead lot in Waimanalo.

For nearly all his life, the Kaiser High School freshman has lived in the three-bedroom house with his father and grandmother, Hannah Chang.

Tacub helped his dad care for his grandmother during her final years, saying her intention was for the two of them to eventually inherit the house, as well as the homelands lease.

"My dad's mom lived there," said Tacub. "There's memories in that house."

Micheal's family has lived on the property since the 1980s. When his grandmother died back in 2014, his father tried to get the lease assigned to him -- but he died before that could happen.

The family's attorney, Mia Obciana, blames the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for bungling the transfer to Micheal's father, awarding the lease to an aunt after Micheal's father died.

Obciana says the aunt didn't have any relationship with Chang.

"She's kicking her nephew out of the house. I think it's up to everyone else to decide if it's mean spirited," said Obciana. "I don't think it's personally right and it wasn't done procedurally correctly."

Tacub's aunt refused to be interviewed by Hawaii News Now for this story. Obciana says the department is ignoring Micheal's grandma's dying wish, and Tacub is contesting the transfer to his aunt.

"What the DHHL should be doing is recognizing the transfer to Micheal Sr., and from there find out if he died without an assigned successor," Obciana said. "From what I'm told this happens regularly, there are a lot of beneficiaries who have suffered because of the lack of clarity in the procedures when someone passes away."

The DHHL had no comment on the case, saying the matter is still pending before the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

We're told that Micheal can stay at home at least until June, when the department has scheduled its next hearing on the matter.

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