Bidding dispute for Koko Craters Stable concession turns ugly

Bidding dispute for Koko Craters Stable concession turns ugly

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is re-examining its concession for Koko Crater Stables ― which was offered to an Oahu horse group ― after a rival stable protested.

Horse Haven was riding high last month after it got an award letter from the city for the five-year concession to manage Koko Crater Stables, but the contract wasn’t finalized.

And after hearing concerns about the plan, interim Councilman Mike Formby asked the city to make sure its bidding process was fair.

Now the city is reviewing the concession and has reduced Horse Haven to a six-month revocable permit.

"I'm glad that the city has chosen to revisit it," said Kim Hollandsworth, owner of Aloha Riding Lessons in Waimanalo.

She was the sole losing bidder, but believes her stable is a better fit for Koko Crater because it has school horses for the public and community programs.

She claims Horse Haven only caters to the elite.

"They don't offer the beginner rider, the rider that can't afford a horse. The rider that doesn't want to own their own horse," she said.

Horse Haven co-owner, Jane Mount, says her group has spent lots of time repairing the neglected facility since taking over management under temporary permits about three years ago.

Their long-term plans include a community center.

“In addition to our horse owners and junior riders, we help beginner students ― from youth to senior ― (who do not own horses) enjoy riding through beginning lessons,” said Horse Haven, in a statement.

Horse Haven says it called police this week after alleged threats on social media. Aloha Riding says detractors launched a smear campaign.

“I feel like the city did an injustice when they did the process because it was not transparent,” said Hollandsworth.

“We look forward to working with the city and would like to respect the current procurement process by allowing the city to conduct its work on this complex issue,” said Horse Haven’s statement.

It’s not known when the city will issue a final decision on the concession.

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