OHA CEO's contract challenged

Updated: Feb. 1, 2017 at 10:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's more fireworks at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

OHA Chairwoman Rowena Akana is asking a judge to rule that CEO Kamanao Crabbe's new three-year contract is invalid.

Akana, who is facing her own removal as Chair in a board meeting Thursday, said Crabbe was offered a deal twice last year but he twice kicked it back for revisions.

She said he only signed it about a week before the November election after it began to look like some of his supporters on the board might lose their seats.

Akana said the full board never approved the contract.

"The Nov. 1 employment agreement is void and of no legal effect because it was not duly authorized and approved by the Board of Trustees," wrote attorney Richard Rand.

But Crabbe's lawyer Lyle Hosoda called it a "desperate" move.

He said the contract was signed by then-Chair Robert Lindsey and OHA's general counsel, former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein. Hosoda added that OHA's board cannot terminate Crabbe without going through a lengthy dispute resolution process.

On Thursday morning, OHA's board will discuss the hiring of a forensic auditor to go over OHA's finances. They will also vote to reorganize the board.

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