Two Oahu churches file for dismissal of whistle-blower lawsuit
Calvary Chapel Central Oahu has called Mililani High School home for decades.
That extended use was allowed, even after the state attorney general issued an advisory opinion limiting church use to five years.
Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber sued, questioning why?
The couple claims the churches are also shortchanging the schools by under-reporting their actual use of facilities.
"They are not only shabby bad claims that should be dismissed, they are really shameful because what these churches do for the schools and the students is improve it," said Jim Hochberg who represents Calvary and One Love Ministries.
Hochberg calls Huber and Kahle, "atheist activists" who have cooked up a whistle-blower suit to take the churches out of public school campuses.
He calls the suit a deficient pleading, and argues it should be dismissed because the couple doesn’t have personal knowledge of wrongdoing.
"They did Freedom of Information on the Department of Education and based on that material which they got from public disclosure, they are trying to bring those claims and under the statue it’s not permitted," Hochberg said.
But the couple’s attorney has a different take.
Jim Bickerton calls called the motion silly -- and says the two churches miss the point.
"The falsehood isn't contained in the public document. To find out what they are really up to, you have to do your own investigation and that’s what Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber did," Bickerton said.
At Kaimuki High School, One Love Ministries rents out the auditorium and cafeteria.
But workers tell KITV the church often exceeds its time and sometimes has caused conflicts with other groups who have booked the same space.
The church is said to store its equipment in a shipping container and in other areas on campus.
It also rents out the pool for youth activities and baptisms.
As to adhering to DOE rules and regulations, and the AG's advisory opinion?
“It's ambiguous, and the principals are given the discretion to decide how to interpret it," Hochberg said.
"The motion today is a smokescreen and avoids the issues, the real issues. Here we are giving $5 million to people who could pay it. It's not expensive to pay for an auditorium. Why do you have to cheat on it?" said Bickerton.
It is not clear why the other churches under New Hope Ministries did not join in this motion to dismiss.
Their attorney did not return calls for comment.
The motion for the two churches was filed with help from Alliance Defending Freedom. It is a group of christian lawyers who do pro bono work specializing in religious right cases.
A hearing on the motion is set for Dec 19.
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