Ex-Kamehameha director sues, alleging defamation
HILO » The former director of operations for the Kamehameha Schools campus at Keaau, south of Hilo, filed suit yesterday, saying the organization and an administrator defamed him after forcing him to resign in a dispute over finances.
Darren M. Ah Chong, 39, and attorney Ted Hong said Stanley Fortuna Jr., headmaster at Keaau, is responsible for rumors that Ah Chong left because of "incompetence, mismanagement, and embezzlement."
Ah Chong said problems arose because Fortuna wouldn't implement financial procedures that Ah Chong recommended. A 2004 review revealed an operating deficit of $1.5 million, but no one accused Ah Chong of pocketing the money, Hong said.
After Ah Chong left, the school implemented most of his recommendations, Hong said.
Ah Chong was hired as the No. 2 administrator at Keaau in 2002. He asked for the same financial program used at the Kamehameha campus on Maui.
Staff training in the program got under way, but individuals balked at the extra work, he said. Then the deficit was discovered and he was forced out.
Kamehameha spokesperson Marsha Bolson said the organization does not comment on lawsuits or personnel matters. Fortuna could not be reached for comment. Ah Chong, a 1984 graduate of Kamehameha, said, "My heart is and always will be with the school."