Tuesday, August 17, 1999

State of Hawaii

Flea market contract
vote called illegal

By Debra Barayuga


The Aloha Stadium Authority violated Hawaii's "open meetings" law when it voted to terminate the Aloha Flea Market's contract and decided to take over the concession without public testimony, an attorney for the flea market says.

The complaint filed yesterday in Circuit Court is the third filed against the Aloha Stadium Authority and stadium manager Edwin Hayashi in the past six months after the state decided not to renew its contract with the Aloha Flea Market. The current contract expires Sept. 30.

Aloha Flea Market and its owner Edward Medeiros have alleged that the contract that they've had for the past 20 years was not renewed because they supported Linda Lingle instead of Ben Cayetano in the 1998 gubernatorial election.

Also named as defendant in the latest suit was the state Department of Accounting and General Services.

According to the complaint, Aloha Flea Market requested a two-year extension of its contract on May 10 and it was received by the authority the following day.

The request was not put on the authority's May 20 meeting agenda, but the authority discussed and voted not to extend Aloha Flea Market's contract under "new business" and without any input from the public or the several hundred flea market vendors, said attorney Robert Merce.

Also, the day before the May 20 meeting, Hayashi wrote letters to about a half dozen people, but not to the Aloha Flea Market, notifying them that the authority was meeting shortly to discuss whether to extend or put out to bid the flea market contract, Merce said.

A 1985 opinion by the state attorney general says that all specific matters that will be discussed at any regular or special public meeting must be on the agenda, Merce said.

Listing a broad category of items under the heading "new business" is not sufficient and won't comply with the Sunshine Law, the opinion said.

The state is seeking bidders to "market, coordinate and manage" the swap meet for $15,000 a month or for a percentage of the stadium's gross receipts.

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