OHA Continues To Bumble Along

David Keanu Sai | Photo from Central Connecticut State University

David Keanu Sai | Photo from Central Connecticut State University

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands hands out some questionable leases and there are loud calls for heads to roll — metaphorically, not in a jihadist sense.

The Office of Elections momentarily mislays 800 ballots from Maui and is second-guessed on the Puna voting, and elections chief Scott Nago is roughed up — metaphorically, not in a Fight Club sense.

But the Office of Hawaiian Affairs hands $95,000 to a totally out-of-the-mainstream Hawaiian historian for a not-very-legal memo and a book he never publishes, and all I hear is, “Well, there goes OHA again, stumbling along its way.”

This latest money gig involves David Keanu Sai, a UH master’s and doctorate grad who has spent the past 20 years or so trying to persuade somebody, anybody, that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists.

He’s been spurned by international bodies but apparently finds true believers in OHA administrator Kamana’opono Crabbe, Molokai activist Walter Ritte and a host of part-Hawaiians who want to claim their royal positions.

Thanks to the Star-Advertiser for smoking this out. Crabbe gave Sai $25,000 to condense some of Sai’s old dissertation material into a memo suggesting that OHA trustees might be committing war crimes by encouraging federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian entity.

The OHA trustees of 2009 gave Sai $70,000 to write a history book and get it published in 12 months. It’s 2014 and no book.

In the mid-1990s, I had Sai on my KCCN-1420 radio talk show and he didn’t make much legal sense, even back then. He believes that since the kingdom still exists, all land titles issued since annexation are illegal. You don’t own the land your homes are on, and his Perfect Title Company collected $1,500 from people he advised not to pay on their mortgages. He was convicted of felony theft, sentenced to five years in prison, but put on probation by then-Judge Sandra Simms (not reappointed), who did not require him to pay restitution to the people he scammed.

Some of Sai’s “legal” proclamations:

“All state of Hawaii laws and county ordinances are in direct violation of the Liliuokalani Assignment and therefore the U.S. Constitution.”

“The occupier is barred from administering the occupier’s national laws within the boundaries of an independent and sovereign state.”

Earlier this year, Sai assisted OHA chief Crabbe in a letter Crabbe sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, suggesting Kerry look into the probability that there is still a Hawaiian Kingdom and the Department of the Interior cannot offer federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

Why does Crabbe still have a job?

For a lot of us, including Hawaiians, OHA has become a joke, a gathering of squabbling trustees and a wasteful spender of the public’s money.

So where are the screams and hollers to do away with that entity that looked so wonderful to John Waihee and our Constitutional Convention of 1978?