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Hawaii close got $7.3 actor in nonbid work

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By Jim DooleyAdvertiser Staff Writer

Joseph G. Pickard

Micah Kane

The Kaupe’a subdivision in Kapolei is allotment of the better residential development in Administering of Hawaiian Home Lands history. Some families already accept confused into completed homes.

Photos by ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

Construction continues at Kaupe’a. In October 2003 the DHHL awarded a $984,000 consulting arrangement to Association Planning and Engineering Inc. to plan and architect the apartment project.

DHHL’S ORIGINS, KEY HIRES AND NONBID CONSULTANT CONTRACTS

1920: Passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, with 190,000 acreage of acreage to be fabricated accessible to individuals of at atomic 50 percent Hawaiian ancestry. Affairs administered by the U.S. Interior Department.

1959: Statehood, conception of the accompaniment Administering of Hawaiian Home Lands. Agency assumes albatross of administering program, beneath the blank of the Interior Department.

1980: U.S. Civilian Rights Commission belletrist abandoned 13 percent of acreage fabricated accessible to Hawaiians; 64 percent of Hawaiian Home Lands acreage acclimated by accompaniment government or clandestine enterprises. Added than 6,000 Hawaiians on cat-and-mouse account for land.

1982: Interior Administering ysis belletrist cat-and-mouse account of 7,000 applicants. Accompaniment allotment of Hawaiian Homes affairs criticized as “insignificant.”

1983: Native Hawaiian Study Commission belletrist accompaniment “failed miserably” in abating acreage to Hawaiians. Federal-State Task Force on Hawaiian Homes Commission Act cites abundant violations of the act, recommends added allotment and accelerated administering of acreage to Hawaiians on the cat-and-mouse list.

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1986-87: 2,500 battered lots broadcast statewide.

1987: Accelerated administering affairs attracts new able applicants for land. Cat-and-mouse account grows to 12,000 names.

1995: Accompaniment settles acknowledged claims over abusage of Hawaiian Home Lands properties, agrees to pay DHHL advantage of $30 actor per year for 20 years. Eight years abide on agreement.

2003: Gov. Linda Lingle takes office, installs Micah Kane at DHHL, announces affairs to advance and charter 6,000 new residences to Hawaiians.

July 1, 2003: New accretion law takes effect, acute associates of adviser alternative committees be “impartial and independent.”

September 2003: DHHL hires Joseph Blevins of Kaua’i as acreage administering ysis administrator. According to Blevins, Joseph Pickard of Association Planning recruited Blevins for the DHHL job.

Oct. 16, 2003: Larry Sumida assassin as DHHL absolute acreage development specialist. Recommended for the job by Bernard Kea of Association Planning.

Oct. 24, 2003: DHHL alternative board associates Sumida, Blevins and above Association Planning agent William Makanui III baddest Association Planning as “best qualified” aggregation for $984,000 DHHL adviser contract.

Oct. 29, 2003-Nov. 17, 2004: Sumida/Blevins/Makanui alternative committees aces Association Planning for four added nonbid adviser contracts.

Dec. 22, 2004-June 18, 2007: Association Planning awarded six added nonbid adviser contracts.

Five nonbid Administering of Hawaiian Home Lands adviser affairs account $7.3 actor were awarded in 2003-04 to an engineering close by administering advisers with accomplished ties to the company, possibly actionable a accompaniment accretion law allowable by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administering to action cronyism.

Community Planning and Engineering Inc. was awarded the affairs by a DHHL alternative board that included two new administering advisers recommended for their government jobs by Association Planning officials, according to annal and interviews. The third affiliate of the board had ahead formed for the company.

Based in allotment on acquaintance acquired beneath the aboriginal bristles contracts, the aggregation afterwards accustomed six added nonbid DHHL jobs account an added $7.6 million.

The 50-year-old consulting close is headed by Republican fundraiser and contributor Joseph G. Pickard, who purchased it in 2003, at which point the aggregation began acceptable DHHL adviser contracts.

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Pickard, his ancestors associates and business interests accept been donors to Lingle’s campaigns and the Hawai’i Republican Party, giving added than $70,000 to the GOP and the campaigns of Lingle and Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona back 1998, according to annal of the accompaniment Attack Spending Commission and the Federal Acclamation Commission.

The aggregation accustomed no DHHL affairs and actual little assignment from added accompaniment agencies from 1993 to 2003, according to a account of abilities the close filed with DHHL.

The arrangement awards coincided with the Lingle administration’s barrage of an aggressive and big-ticket affairs to advance bags of new homes for Native Hawaiians.

DHHL administrator Micah Kane, accomplished administrator of the Hawai’i Republican Party, dedicated the arrangement awards, adage the aggregation was able-bodied able for the jobs and has performed accomplished assignment for the department, abundant of it beneath the administering of Bernard Kea, a admired part-Hawaiian architect who awash the aggregation to Pickard but backward on with the close in a part-time status.

Pickard’s political abutment of the GOP had annihilation to do with the arrangement awards, Kane said.

Lingle agent Russell Pang said the governor has no captivation in adviser selections.

“The accretion action is advised to be, and ultimately is, accessible and transparent. All departments chase the able accretion procedures,” the accounting account from the governor’s arrangement said.

Pickard said the affairs were awarded because Association Planning is “the best subdivision engineering aggregation in the state.”

The company’s adeptness and adeptness will save DHHL “tens of millions of dollars in architecture costs,” Pickard said.

But the aboriginal bristles DHHL jobs accustomed to Association Planning may accept abandoned a area of accompaniment accretion law, allowable by the Lingle administering in July 2003, that associates of adviser alternative committees charge be “impartial and independent,” according to Aaron Fujioka, arch of the accompaniment Accretion Office.

Committee associates Larry Sumida and Joseph Blevins had amorphous assignment at DHHL aloof weeks afore the aboriginal arrangement accolade and amid those who recommended them for appliance were Kea and Pickard, according to annal and interviews. The third board member, William Makanui III, formed for Association Planning from 1984 to 1996.

Given a description of the backgrounds of the three alternative board members, Arch Accretion Administrator Fujioka said the artlessness of the board “may be questionable.”

EARLY SELECTION

Sumida, now arch of the DHHL acreage development division, had been alive at the administering a anniversary back the alternative board for the DHHL adviser affairs was formed.

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Sumida’s sole job advertence back he was assassin by DHHL on Oct. 16, 2003, was Kea of Association Planning, according to administering records. A anniversary later, on Oct. 24, 2003, Sumida was on the board that declared Association Planning as “best qualified” for its aboriginal nonbid DHHL consulting contract, a $984,000 job to plan and architect the Kaupe’a apartment development in Kapolei, administering annal demonstrate. Addition alternative of Association Planning for a $250,000 arrangement followed bristles canicule later.

Sumida is a absolute acreage agent by barter who was assassin by DHHL as a aggressive account “real acreage development specialist” and had no above-mentioned acquaintance in government account or acquaintance with accompaniment accretion laws.

Reached at home by telephone, Sumida referred questions about adviser selections to Kane and Lloyd Yonenaka, accessible advice administrator for DHHL.

Kane declared Sumida “a ablaze man” who should get acclaim “for the lion’s allotment of our success at the administering appropriate now.”

The administering beneath to acquiesce Sumida to be interviewed about the arrangement awards. “Employees accept specific duties and media interviews are not allotment of those duties,” Yonenaka said. Interviews could account “workplace disruption,” he said.

Kane was asked if Sumida’s account on the alternative board so anon afterwards Kea recommended him for the DHHL job met the “impartial and independent” claim of the accretion law: “I anticipate he was assassin based on his abilities and whether (the board appointment) is a anniversary or one year later, I don’t anticipate it matters,” he replied.

Blevins, the additional affiliate of the alternative committee, served as DHHL acreage administering ysis arch from September 2003 to July 2005. He told The Advertiser that Pickard recruited him for the DHHL job in mid-2003.

“He declared me on Kaua’i and said the job was available,” Blevins said of Pickard. “I never alike put in an application. I flew over, had an account with Micah and I was hired.”

Pickard said, “I don’t accept I anytime declared Joe Blevins about that job. I’ve got to allocution to Joe Blevins and acquisition out if that’s the case, but I don’t accept so.”

Blevins is an electrician and architecture administrator from Kaua’i who holds a master’s amount in engineering management.

An alive Lingle apostle in the 1998 and 2002 gubernatorial elections, Blevins was called to the DHHL column by Kane on Sept. 15, 2003, bristles weeks afore the alternative board awarded Association Planning its aboriginal contract.

No job appliance or resume for Blevins could be amid in DHHL cadre files, according to administering agent Yonenaka.

Asked if Pickard recommended Blevins for the job, Kane said, “He may accept provided a recommendation, I don’t recall, but it would accept no address (on the appliance decision). Absolutely not. If he’s not qualified, cannot perform, he’s not activity to be, he would not be hired.”

Blevins captivated the DHHL job until June 30, 2005, back he accommodated to acknowledgment to the clandestine sector.

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The third affiliate of the alternative committees, Makanui, is a civilian architect who formed at Association Planning from 1984 to 1996 back he confused to a job in the DHHL acreage development division.

A address to account Makanui about the adviser selections additionally was denied.

Lingle agent Pang said Sumida and Blevins “were recommended for their accepted positions by abounding individuals in the community.” Makanui hadn’t formed for Association Planning for seven years back he served on the DHHL alternative committees, Pang acicular out.

“I do not accept Mr. Makanui’s accomplished employment, seven years ago, abandoned prevents him from confined appropriately on a alternative board with (Community Planning) as a bidder,” Pang said.

MISSING LETTERS

Files for the aboriginal bristles Association Planning affairs accommodate no belletrist of arrangement from Kane allotment Sumida, Blevins and Makanui to the alternative committees, although such arrangement belletrist are commonly included in government arrangement files.

Also missing from the bristles files are account bedding commonly abounding out by alternative board associates who charge appraise -to-be consultants on such belief as experience, accomplished achievement on agnate projects and adeptness to achieve the appropriate assignment in a appropriate manner. Anniversary book does accommodate a arbitrary of the committees’ decisions that Association Planning was best able for anniversary job.

Kane said the administering “followed the practices in abode at the time” he took arrangement but has “since bigger our accretion practices.”

Blevins said he never abounding out account sheets.

“We were new. We didn’t apperceive how it was declared to be done,” Blevins said.

“We didn’t accept a accretion action as far as I knew. Back I begin out we were accomplishing it wrong, I brought in a accretion specialist … and we accustomed a policy.”

Blevins said he remembers discussing the aboriginal arrangement awarded to Association Planning with Sumida and believes the aggregation was able to accept the job.

He remembers no added affairs of the committees that best Association Planning for four added affairs in 2003-04.

He said he recalls signing reports, able by Sumida, which begin Association Planning best able for the jobs.

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He said he “just active them and beatific them forth to Micah.”

Kane said he believes the adviser arrangement awards accept been fabricated deservedly and independently.

“If we acquainted that it was not candid again we wouldn’t accept acted on it,” he said. “I’m actual adequate with our procedures and what we go through to baddest consultants.”

When the governor active the new law acute that alternative board associates be candid and independent, she said it was bare to “put to blow the actualization of barbarism in nonbid contracts.”

Fujioka’s arrangement beatific a charge about the requirements of the new law to all administering heads, including Kane, on June 16, 2003. The statute was allotment of a purchasing ameliorate amalgamation that the governor said would end cronyism in adviser arrangement awards.

“The appellation nonbid arrangement will become irrelevant,” Lingle said in signing the admeasurement into law.

This was a affair accustomed by Pickard in his efforts to accession money for the Lingle campaign.

For instance, in May 2004 Pickard served as administrator of a golf clash fundraiser for the GOP, soliciting “major sponsors” to accord anywhere from $500 to $5,000 apiece.

“We accept fabricated advance by reforming the state’s accretion arrangement (and) bringing budgetary conduct in the way government spends taxpayer’s hard-earned money,” Pickard said in the solicitation.

When Pickard wrote that, Kane had awarded Pickard’s aggregation three nonbid affairs account $3.46 actor and was about to accolade addition account $1.25 million.

Pickard and his businesses additionally accept fabricated political donations to Democratic politicians, including Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Gifts to the Hannemann attack absolute some $7,000 back 2001.

After Hannemann won the 2004 election, Pickard served as a affiliate of the mayor’s alteration team.

More recently, the alternative of Association Planning as an $860,000 subconsultant on the city’s mass-transit activity sparked a accompaniment cloister accusation and demands for a federal ysis of the alternative process.

The clothing was filed by Communications Pacific Inc., a accessible relations close headed by University of Hawai’i agent Kitty Lagareta, a longtime acquaintance and political advocate of Lingle.

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Lagareta declared that the last-minute alternative of Association Planning abandoned accompaniment accretion law. The accusation was absolved aftermost year by a accompaniment ambit judge. That accommodation is now beneath address to the accompaniment Supreme Court.

Reach Jim Dooley at [email protected]

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