Laborers’ candidate ineligible for position
The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that Oliver Kupau III, one of two candidates running for leadership of the Laborers' International Union Local 368, is now ineligible due to his past criminal record.
A letter from Bruce Edgington, district director of the U.S. Department of Labor, says Kupau is prohibited from holding union office or employment because of a Nov. 15, 2002, conviction of money laundering.
Kupau was part of a ring that bribed a former police officer for illegal cockfighting and gambling activities in Ewa and Nanakuli, according to Star-Bulletin archives.
"Mr. Kupau is also prohibited from holding any position as a representative in any capacity of any labor organization such as a job steward or shop committeeman," said Edgington in the letter. "Additionally, Mr. Kupau is prohibited from holding any position, other than that of a member, that involves decision-making authority concerning custody of or control over labor organization funds or assets."
The letter is addressed to Rocco Davis, the appointed trustee for Local 368.
Kupau may not serve in any of the positions until 13 years after the conviction, or 13 years after the end of any imprisonment resulting from the conviction, whichever comes later.
Local 368, chartered in 1954 and also known as LIUNA, has more than 4,000 members in Hawaii, including workers in the construction, environmental remediation, food service, health care, and other industries.
Edgington said this information was to be prominently posted at Local 368's Palama Street headquarters, and presented at the next executive board and general membership meetings.
In mid-May, LIUNA special election officer Joseph Guerrieri Jr. ordered returned election ballots be impounded for up to 90 days due to the investigation.
The troubled elections comes on the heels of an emergency trusteeship back in January 2007 by the union's international headquarters. Among the allegations were serious mismanagement of finances, including the use of more than $450,000 by union trustees for annual trips to the Philippines; the purchase of union-owned vehicles for officers' family members; and the awarding of favored jobs to family members.
Kupau is still listed on LIUNA's Web site as a senior business agent.
Kupau in 2006 made a salary of $74,928 in total earnings as an executive board member, in addition to $46,252 in other benefits, according to the Center for Union Facts -- a nonprofit watchdog that tracks abuse by union officials at www.unionfacts.com.