OHA Trustee files suit against state Ethics Commission

OHA Trustee files suit against state Ethics Commission
Office of Hawaiian Affairs. (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state ethics commission is now facing a new lawsuit from an Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee.

OHA Trustee Rowena Akana filed suit against the commission claiming it doesn't have the jurisdiction to fine her $50,000.

The commission filed a complaint against Akana for using her trustee allowance to pay for political contributions, cable TV and internet for her home, and for accepting $72,000 from Abigail Kawananakoa to cover her legal fees.

Akana's attorney says the payments were approved by OHA and involved trust money, not taxpayer funds.

"Is not just about $25 for manapua or a floral arrangement for Princess Kawananakoa. Trustee Akana is fighting for the Hawaiian people to prevent Gov. Ige and the administration from seizing control of OHA funds," Stephen Tannenbaum, Akana's attorney said

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to place a hold on the Commission's complaint and asks for clearer rules and guidelines on how OHA trustees can use their allowances.

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