Auditor calls OHA's land management 'inadequate'

By Clayton Wakida, KITV Digital Media Manager, KITV Digital Media Manager
Published On: Sep 04 2013 11:06:36 AM HST
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HONOLULU -

The acting state auditor says the land management infrastructure of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is inadequate, according to a report released Wednesday.

Click here to read the full report.

Acting State Auditor Jan Yamane says OHA is unable to support its growing portfolio as well as future land involvements.  She says OHA's Board of Trustees cannot ensure that its acquisitions are based on a strong financial foundation without the policies, procedures and staff to guide and support the increased real estate activity.

One example the auditor used was the unbalanced OHA real estate portfolio.  Yamane says revenues generated from commercial properties were unable to offset expenses from legacy and programmatic land holdings.

Yamane also says OHA trustees disregarded a consultant's proposal in 2008 to expand its Land and Property Management division as well as proposals for a real estate business plan and investment policy.

OHA's board chair responded to the audit saying the organization appreciated the recommendations and intends to further develop land policies to integrate cultural and commercial values that supports its people.

However, the auditor said that OHA's decision to wait the Kaka'ako Makai land settlement was approved by the state before approving additional positions to manage OHA's land holdings misses the broader point that OHA's lack of a policy framework and other infrastructure is contrary to fulfillment of the board's role as fiduciary and policymaker.

OHA is Hawaii's 13th largest landowner, according to the auditor.

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