Waihee, facing DUI case, quits OHA post
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee John Waihee IV, who pleaded not guilty last month to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, resigned yesterday as vice chairman of OHA's Board of Trustees.
Waihee, son of former Gov. John Waihee, did not attend the board's regular monthly meeting yesterday, but his letter of resignation was submitted to the members.
"I strongly believe this decision serves the best interests of OHA and its beneficiaries until pending legal matters are resolved," Waihee wrote. "Please duly note that I still remain steadfastly committed to the mission and leadership of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
"I look forward to exoneration so the work put before us can move forward and reap further success."
Waihee, 37, has not spoken publicly about the case. At his court hearing last month, he avoided media waiting to interview him.
"I would just say he demonstrated fine leadership in doing this," OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said. "His whole focus is about ensuring that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, our beneficiaries and the work that we're doing continues on. I commend him for it."
Trustee Walter Heen was selected to replace Waihee as vice chairman.
Waihee pleaded not guilty on Dec. 14 to charges of driving under the influence and driving without proof of insurance. District Judge Peter Stone dismissed the insurance count after Waihee provided proof of insurance.
A trial date has not been scheduled.
Waihee was involved in a traffic accident in Makiki around midnight May 10. He was not given a breathalyzer test because he was taken to a hospital for treatment of possible injuries. A blood test allegedly showed Waihee was illegally impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident.
A police officer said in his report of the accident that he could smell "an alcoholic-type beverage" on Waihee's breath.
Waihee is the second elected official to resign from a leadership position in the last two weeks.
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu resigned as vice speaker of the state House of Representatives on Dec. 28, a week after he was convicted of drunken driving and sentenced to 72 hours of community service and a $750 fine.
He was charged in October after crashing his car and registering a blood-alcohol content level of 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal threshold of 0.08 percent.