Lawmakers grill state Land Board over below-market rents for state properties

State land management / FILE
State land management / FILE(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:31 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The director of the state Land Board was asked tough questions Tuesday about whether the department is wasting money by charging below-market rents.

Land Board Chair Suzanne Case and department managers swore under oath to tell the truth as the House investigates state land management.

The investigation follows a blistering state audit that found many businesses — some with political connections — could be paying more in rent.

Documents subpoenaed by the committee led to more questions.

“Do you recall this analysis that was done in house that showed a significant detriment to the beneficiaries by accepting below market rent?” asked State Rep. Dale Kobayashi.

“In real life, you walk there and find out whether or not you can get that — its a lot of money to leave on the table.”

“There are a lot of considerations,” said state Land Board Chair Suzanne Case. “They are carefully considered when they come to the board.”

Case said other factors include providing support for social service groups and for the local economy.

The investigation will continue with more hearings to be scheduled.

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