David C. Farmer, Successor-Trustee vs. Harmon
(Formerly Woo vs. Harmon & Nicholson vs. Harmon)
CV05-00030 DAE KSC
U.S. District Court For the District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
1151 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
Former Chairperson, State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
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August 3, 2007
Timothy E. Johns Named
Bishop Museum President:
International Search Lands Damon Estate Exec
Honolulu, HI Bishop Museum has named Timothy E. Johns as President, Director and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2007 . The announcement was made today by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, David Hulihe‘e.
Johns succeeds Michael Chinaka who has been serving as Interim President since the departure of William Y. Brown in January 2007. Chinaka will resume his duties as Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Financial Officer for Bishop Museum . (Brown left the Museum to take a position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia , PA.)...
Johns most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for the Estate of Samuel Mills Damon, a position he has held since 2000. Prior to that, he was the Chairperson of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. He has also served as Vice-President and General Counsel for AMFAC Property Development Corporation. He has been a Lecturer in Business Law at the University of Hawai‘i and Windward Community College and has held the position of Director of Land Protection with the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i....
Johns serves on the Board of Directors for Grove Farm Company, Inc., Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., YMCA Honolulu, Hawai‘i Nature Center, St. Andrew’s Priory School , Child and Family Services, Helping Hands Hawai‘i, Diamond Head Theatre, and Hawai‘i Public Television Foundation. In June 2005, he was named a Trustee of Parker Ranch Foundation Trust....
Johns was selected after a seven-month executive search by the international search organization Morris & Berger from Glendale , California . Founded in 1984, Morris and Berger is a generalist executive search firm that has developed a specialty practice serving the nonprofit sector, including performing and visual arts and institutions of higher learning. The company was named to the list of “50 Leading Search Firms in North America ” in The Executive Recruiter News and also named Outstanding Executive Search Firm in John Lucht’s 1995 edition of Rites of Passage at $100,000+.
Members of the Executive Search Committee included Bishop Museum Trustee Dr. Charman J. Akina (Chairman), David C. Hulihe‘e, Isabella A. Abbott, Ph.D., Haunani Apoliona, H. Mitchell D’Olier, Russell K. Okata, Gulab Watumull, Walter A. Dods, Jr., Allen Allison, Ph.D., and Amy Miller Marvin....
Johns will assume the top leadership position for the largest museum in the State of Hawai‘i in the midst of an unprecedented era of renovation and revitalization. Bishop Museum is presently undertaking a $21 million renovation of its iconic Hawaiian Hall complex with the support of world-class museum designer Ralph Appelbaum and Associates of New York. In 2005, Bishop Museum opened the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center , an award-winning $17 million, 19,000-square-foot interactive science and cultural exploration center. Major traveling and cultural exhibitions are presented in the Castle Memorial Building year-round. Bishop Museum hosts nearly 400,000 visitors and students each year. Bishop Museum also administers the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook, Hawai‘i and the Hawaii Maritime Center in Honolulu....
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May 1, 2007
Lingle names interim DLNR director
Allan Smith, a retired senior vice president of Grove Farm Co. on Kaua'i, was named by Gov. Linda Lingle today as interim director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Lingle said Smith, a co-chair of her re-election campaign last year, would serve until a permanent director is found or until the end of the next legislative session next May.
Smith would have the option to apply for the permanent job, but said at this point he is undecided.
The state Senate voted last month against confirming Peter Young for a second four-year term as the department's director. Young is heading the search committee for his permanent replacement.
Lingle also announced today that Young would take a vacant position as interim water deputy at the department and help Smith during the transition.
Smith's wife, Linda, is the principal at Kaua'i High School. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and has a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Hawai'i.
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April 11, 2007
State Workers Cleared of
Ka Loko Criminal Responsibility?
Attorney general sees "no evidence" against them
By Tina Shelton
Nearly a year after the fatal breach of Ka Loko dam, there is a clear indication no state employee will be criminally prosecuted in connection with the deadly disaster.
Mark Bennett, the Attorney General of Hawaii, told KHON2 News, “There is no evidence of any kind that I have seen that any employee of the state of Hawaii is criminally responsible for the deaths of anyone."
Ka Loko's failure last March killed 7 people.
State attorney general investigators and hired experts have poured over Jimmy Pflueger's land to learn whether un-permitted construction triggered the collapse.
Pflueger's lawyer, William McCorriston, took the mic at a senate hearing and
took a shot at the state land director, sitting just feet away.
“Why do we provide the Director of Land and Natural Resources,” William McCorriston asked, “who some might say is criminally responsible for nonfeasance, not doing his job with regard to dam inspections, with absolute immunity?”
Dam inspections fall under the land department, and McCorriston says like the leader of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina, DLNR Chief Peter Young should go.
KHON2 News asked Peter Young about that.
“Mr. McCorriston is trying to deflect attention away from his client,” Young said. “We trust the judicial system.”
The attorney general, also watching while McCorriston testified, went farther in defense of Young and his land department.
"There's no evidence that any state employees are guilty in the homicide of these individuals," Bennett told KHON2 News.
Yet Bennett says the decision whether to prosecute Pflueger or others is still pending.
“I believe when we get to the middle of this year,” Bennett said, “we will be very close to a final decision of whether to take this case to a grand jury or not.”
The legislature must fund the continuing criminal and civil liability investigations. McCorriston was making his case to those lawmakers.
“Why do these few people have a special pass,” he asked. “Why do they get a whitewash of their responsibility?”
Although they allowed McCorriston to vent, there's no indication lawmakers will turn down the attorney general request for $2 million to continue his investigation.
However, Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee told KHON2 News his committee might examine whether the immunity from certain liability afforded to the state land director and dam inspectors, should be withdrawn.
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April 23, 2007
Senate panel votes against DLNR chief
Peter Young says he expects to be confirmed by full Senate
The Senate’s Water, Land Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee this morning voted four to one to recommend against confirmation of Peter Young as director of the Land and Natural Resources department.
The recommendation now goes to the full Senate for a vote this week.
If Young is not confirmed, he would be the second cabinet member rejected this year.
Sen. Russell Kokubun, (D-Hilo-Naalehu), committee chairman, said the committee felt Young had trouble regarding his “leadership, style and performance.”
“There has been a lack of accountability, mismanagement and a development of solutions by crisis,” Kokubun said.
Young said after the hearing that he still expected confirmation by the full Senate.
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April 22, 2007
Senate releases transcripts from
Young confirmation hearings
By Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) _ The state Senate released testimony yesterday of closed
session meetings from the confirmation hearings of natural resources head Peter
But the state withheld portions of the transcripts including comments from investigators.
Attorney General Mark Bennett had requested that several employees of the Bureau of Conveyances be heard in an executive session.
That's because their testimony could have affected the investigation.
Members of the Senate Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee asked the employees about gifts from title companies, the bureau's interactions with them and grievances among workers.
Bennett's office reviewed the transcripts, removing some sections of testimony. It's unclear how much of the hearings was removed.
The Senate also didn't release transcripts from testimony of Dennis Naganuma, an investigator with the Office of the Attorney General.
Also not released was testimony from Hilton Lui, an investigator working for the State Ethics Commission.
(Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved)
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April 17, 2007
Senate sorts appointees
Support for Cabinet member Peter Young
surprised lawmakers, Gov. Lingle asserts
By Richard Borreca, email@example.com
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle has become head cheerleader for her Cabinet as state Senate inquiries into one department head continued yesterday.
Lingle was given some good news as the Senate unanimously confirmed Lillian Koller as Human Services director, after alternatively praising her for raising $100 million extra in federal funds and criticizing her for failing to support state employees.
In the meantime, the future of Peter Young, director of the Land and Natural Resources Department, remains undecided.
The Senate Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee wrapped up five days of public and closed-door hearings on Young without a vote.
During a rally that drew about 75 supporters at the Senate's state Capitol front doors, Lingle charged that the Senate was searching for reasons to reject Young.
"Senators made a decision not to support Peter Young before they knew of the tremendous community support, and now they are thrashing around trying to find reasons why," she said.
Yesterday, the Senate committee chaired by Big Island Democrat Sen. Russell Kokubun explored problems within the state Bureau of Conveyances, a division of the Land and Natural Resources Department under Young's jurisdiction.
There is both an attorney general and state Ethics Commission investigation into practices at the bureau, which included a private company having a computer installed at the state facility.
Kokubun said some of the closed-door testimony regarding the investigations will be made public next week, and the Senate will vote on Young's nomination.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa defended her fellow Democratic senators, saying that they would not "be rubber stamps" for the Republican governor's nominees.
"These senators are not nitpicking; they have major concerns. ... They are trying to get answers," Hanabusa told reporters at an informal news conference.
Young's supporters said the Senate has essentially put Young on trial.
"No DLNR director past or present would meet the standards some senators are setting for Peter Young," said Isaac Moriwake, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Colette Machado said the board voted unanimously to support Young and was disturbed about the Senate hearings.
"We have got to stop this. I sat through the hearings, and I thought I was in Germany with the Gestapo.
"Of course, he is not perfect. In the first couple of years, we had tremendous complaints, but he made tremendous progress and we ask that he be returned for four more years," Machado said.
The Senate has already rejected one Lingle appointee for the Public Safety Department, and Lingle admitted she is having a difficult time finding a nominee for the state Labor Department who would pass Senate muster.
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April 12, 2007
DLNR's Young under fire in
Attorney General investigation
by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Media Capitol Bureau
HONOLULU -- The Attorney General's Office has launched a criminal investigation into the state Bureau of Conveyances, the official repository of all Land Court certificates of title, property liens and matters of record.
The investigation came to light Wednesday when the Senate Committee on Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs held a closed-door hearing with investigator Dennis Nagamuma, whom the committee had subpoenaed to testify in the confirmation hearing of Peter Young, chairman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the conveyance bureau.
The closed-door session is the first time a committee has held an executive session for a confirmation hearing, and only the third time subpoenas have been issued for confirmation witnesses. Committee Chairman Russell Kokubun, D-South Hilo, Puna, Ka'u, said he closed the hearing at the request of the attorney general.
The Bureau examines, records and indexes more than 344,000 Regular System and Land Court documents and maps and collects tens of millions of dollars in taxes and fees annually. Hawaii is the only state in the nation with a single statewide recording office.
Details of the investigation were sketchy during the public portion of an eight-hour hearing that resumes today and is expected to continue into Friday. But Young and his deputy, Robert Masuda, both said that Young is not the target of the investigation that started earlier this year.
"Some of our guys started an investigation, and I told them to turn it over to the attorney general rather than have our guys do it," Young told Stephens Media. "I wanted a complete investigation by the attorney general, and we've been cooperating with them in it."
Masuda, under questioning from Sen. Sam Slom, R-Kahala, Hawaii Kai, told the committee that he handed over the investigation reluctantly. Kokubun stopped Slom's series of questions on the subject during the public part of the hearing.
"He was very insistent on having the investigation done (by the attorney general)," Masuda said of his boss. "We argued about this a little. ... I felt that we needed a little more time."
A financial audit of the department last year found problems in the Bureau of Conveyances as well as the Division of Boating and Recreation, which will be the subject of committee scrutiny today during testimony by subpoenaed witnesses. Some witnesses have alleged improper use of money in the state's boating special fund, another area touched on by auditors.
The hearing was a popular attraction. Spectators crammed into the small hearing room and overflowed into the hallways, where dozens more sat -- some munching peanuts -- in plastic chairs arranged around TV sets.
The majority of the testimony Wednesday was positive, and a lot of it came from Young's employees. But union leaders urged the committee not to confirm Young for a second four-year term, saying many good people have left the department, morale is low and staff vacancies remain unfilled.
"During Mr. Young's tenure, we have seen a very contentious labor relations climate between the employees and the administration of the department," said Randy Perreira, deputy executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association. "There are tremendous morale issues, and we have endured a large number of grievances and employee complaints during the last four years. We have seen a marked lack of direction, human resource issues in the department, very little resolution of long-standing problems, and in short the department has been quite adversarial and not responsive to employee concerns."
Young's confirmation is by no means a certainty. Kokubun bristled under a witness's accusations of a biased "trial-like" atmosphere. Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, took umbrage with Masuda's downplaying of employee morale problems, noting the loss of longtime employees.
"Would it be news to you that they left because they did not like Peter Young," asked Hee, D-Kaneoha, Kahuku.
But Young's supporters ran the gamut from environmentalists to agribusiness to developers.
"I am sure that you will receive undeserved negative testimony, testimony that would not have been generated had he kept his head down and not tried to fix the many problems that festered and grew long before his tenure," said retired Big Island Judge Jeff Choi in written testimony.
"Not all the decisions will be popular with some, but overall, I know Peter has the best long-range interests of Hawaii and her residents at heart," said S. Cotta Schoenberg, a Kailua-Kona resident and 40-year friend of Young.
Volcano resident Bobby Camara took a more cynical view while lamenting the sorry shape of the area's parks.
"I am having a difficult time deciding whether or not to support the confirmation of Mr. Young," Camara said. "The system is broken, but I'm not sure it's the fault of Mr. Young. He has worked in government for a while and seems to know the bureaucracy. I'm afraid that if he isn't confirmed, his replacement will not be any more effective and may not know the ins and outs of the operation. The job may simply be too much for any one person to do."
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March 31, 2005
State land director goes on defensive
By Derrick DePledge, Honolulu Advertiser
Peter Young, the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, strongly defended his leadership yesterday and told legislators that calls for financial and management audits are rooted in misunderstandings.
At hearings before state House and Senate committees, Young said the department has long been a focus of criticism and has been limited by a lack of money and staff. But he said the Lingle administration is committed to protecting the state's natural and cultural resources.
Last week, environmental and cultural groups demanded substantial changes at the department over the next few months or said they would call for Young's resignation. The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs has also said the department has not been actively considering Hawaiian issues.
Gov. Linda Lingle has said she has confidence in Young, who serves as both the director of the department and the chairman of the state's Board of Land and Natural Resources.
"I firmly believe that through misunderstandings, you have moved forward with this resolution and hearing," Young told House lawmakers, referring to a resolution recommending an audit of the department and the board. "As you have seen, DLNR is moving forward under trying conditions.
"As you have seen, over the years — even decades — DLNR has been the subject of ongoing criticism. Any suggestions that criticism of DLNR is new are simply not true."
In a House hearing room jammed with department administrators, environmentalists, boaters, tour-group operators and cultural activists, most people who testified supported an audit but many noted that the department has not adequately responded to the recommendations of previous audits.
Several people said the department's broad mission — overseeing land and water use, state parks, forestry and wildlife, historic preservation and ocean recreation — can lead to conflicts and inefficiency. Many also agreed with Young that the department has not had enough money or staff.
"The DLNR suffers from a chronic lack of funding," said Suzanne Case, the executive director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i.
Case said another audit may not be as useful as an in-depth fiscal resource analysis that would show what level of state money and personnel is necessary to protect natural resources.
Total spending on the department, which includes money from user fees and the federal government, has increased during the Lingle administration. But state general-fund spending — the amount more directly controlled by the governor and the Legislature — dropped this fiscal year and has stayed at about $25 million for the past decade, according to the department.
Several speakers described Young as open and accessible and said the criticism against the department was not personal.
"We shouldn't be looking at this as an indictment, but an opportunity," said Carol Wilcox, an author who has dealt with the department in the past.
Young said he is meeting with the environmental and cultural groups and OHA and believes that an audit is not necessary, although he said he would cooperate if lawmakers ordered the review.
State Rep. Brian Schatz, D-25th (Makiki, Tantalus), told Young that "an audit is not equivalent to an attack."
But, before the hearing, state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R-50th (Kailua, Mokapu), described the treatment of Young as a "hatchet job" and said the fault lies with the Legislature. "We should be audited for failing to give the department the support it needs in our budget," she said.
The House Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee is expected to vote on whether to recommend the financial and management audit tomorrow. The Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Committee voted yesterday to recommend a follow-up audit of the department's management of boating facilities and a new audit of its conservation and resources enforcement division.
The new audits would still need approval by other committees and by the full House and Senate.
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March 23, 2005
Overhaul sought at land board
By Gordon Y.K. Pang, Advertiser Capitol Bureau
Several environmental and cultural groups said yesterday they want drastic changes at the Department of Land and Natural Resources in the next two months or they will seek the resignation of Land Board Chairman Peter Young.
It was the latest in a string of attacks in recent months on Young's management of the embattled agency. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has also voiced concerns about the DLNR's direction, with several of its members calling for Young's resignation. A House committee meets Monday to discuss whether to order a financial and management audit of the department.
Critics say it's important the public know about the problems some have had with Young because the DLNR is entrusted with the management of more than 1.3 million acres of conservation land, one-quarter of the land in the state, making it the state's largest landowner. The department also is responsible for managing historic sites, water resources and ocean recreational concerns, wildlife, hunting and natural area reserves.
"This is the public's resources," said Donna Wong, executive director of Hawai'i's Thousand Friends. "It's your streams, it's your mountains, it's the watershed, all the important public parks. They need to be managed."
Young said he and the Lingle administration are committed to the state's natural and cultural resources and that both budget and staffing at the department have increased since he arrived in early 2003. The overall DLNR budget increased from $60 million under the final Cayetano administration budget to $70 million in fiscal year 2004. Position counts also have increased, he said.
Late yesterday, Gov. Linda Lingle issued a statement backing Young's leadership. "I continue to have full confidence in Peter Young's ability to oversee the management and stewardship of Hawai'i's natural and cultural resources," Lingle said.
Representatives from the Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. and Hawai'i's Thousand Friends said yesterday that under Young, the DLNR has placed private landowners above the public trust and so mismanaged the agency several upper-level staffers have resigned.
The most controversial of the resignations involved former land director Yvonne Izu, who resigned after refusing to support the administration's proposal to transfer many of the functions of the state Water Commission, which falls under the DLNR umbrella, to the four counties. She said the plan, which has made no progress at the Legislature, amounted to dismantling the agency. Environmental agencies have agreed.
Young said many of the duties now shouldered by the commission would best be handled by the counties, but that the shift in responsibilities does not constitute a dismantling of the commission.
The environmental groups want Izu's and other key positions filled immediately and for Young to lobby more vigorously for increased DLNR spending.
Alan Murakami, litigation director for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, said Young reversed a decision of the Hawai'i Island Burial Council to preserve a burial site that contains the remains of Hawaiian royalty. He said the decision allowed a wall to be built halfway up the hill where the remains were interred, rather than at the base, thus making way for five additional houselots.
Young said his decision was based on the recommendation made by the burial council as well as discussions he had with representatives for descendants of those buried in the area.
Murakami also said that because the burial sites program is understaffed, hundreds of sets of remains that have been unearthed statewide "are still located in storage lockers and closets across the state."
Young said the administration has transferred about half of the sets of remains to the custody of Kamehameha Schools, on whose property the 'iwi were found, for them to inter, and is working on others.
OHA administrator Clyde Namuo, who was not part of yesterday's press conference, said the issue of the staff shortages in the burial sites program was also raised when he and OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona met last week with Young and Bob Awana, Lingle's chief of staff.
OHA trustees also were concerned, Namuo said, that they were not included in discussions, or even consulted, before the granting of easements on ceded lands — which are managed by the DLNR but from which OHA receives revenues. Namuo said Awana and Young were "very reassuring" that OHA's concerns would be addressed and that there would be better communication.
Young, during his later press conference, spoke of partnerships the state has struck with non-profit organizations including the Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Nature Center to protect the environment and educate the youth about natural resources. Leaders of both organizations stood by Young and acknowledged his support.
Young's opponents remain skeptical. "You hear public-private partnerships are a good idea and they may be, but you can't rely on the private entities all the time to manage the public's assets," Wong said.
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March 27, 2005
DLNR audit needed to resolve dispute
The Honolulu Advertiser
Recently, criticism of Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young's stewardship of the agency has been growing.
It ratcheted up last week when representatives from the Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. and Hawai'i's Thousand Friends undertook an extraordinary public airing of their complaints. They accused Young of putting private landowners above the public trust and so mismanaging the department that several upper-level staffers have resigned.
Gov. Linda Lingle says she has full confidence in Young. Leaders of the Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Nature Center stood by him at a press conference he held in response to the criticism and acknowledged his support of the environment.
Most of us pay scant attention to the daily workings of government unless we have a personal interest in the matter.
But we all need to pay attention if there are problems affecting the DLNR. The department manages more than 1.3 million acres of conservation land, one-quarter of the land in the state, making it the state's largest landowner. The department also is responsible for managing historic sites, water resources and ocean recreational concerns, wildlife, hunting and natural area reserves.
DLNR's responsibilities are too important for this dispute to linger.
A legislative committee will meet tomorrow to decide if an audit of the department is in order. For the sake of the department, the public resources it manages and public confidence, the answer must be yes.
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Peter Young is expected to testify regarding his business, professional and personal relationships with Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, Chris Yuen, Cecil Santos, Larry Mehau, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, The Maui Planning Commission, Gale Norton, Judge Barry Kurren, Faye Kurren, The Nature Conservancy, Henry Paulson, The Peregrine Fund, Dr. Samuel M. Gon III, The Starr Foundation, Suzanne Case, Ed Case, Nainoa Thompson, Elisa Yadao, The Ocean Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Judge Alan Kay, Daniel Case, Steve Case, Jeffrey Case, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Bishop Museum, Fred Kraus, Mark Polivka, Neil Abercrombie, Mark Sauder: Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, Stanley Hong, Peter Savio, Guido Giacometti, Grove Farm, Robert K.U. Kihune, Dee Jay Mailer, Edwina Clarke, Mary Lou Woo, J.C. Shannon, Colleen Meyer, David Farmer, James M. Cribley, Allan Smith, Houghton Freeman, and others to be named upon discovery.