Friday, May 8, 1998

Campaign spending
overseer urges Holt

Former legislator's use of
campaign funds could bring
criminal charges

By Richard Borreca


Years of questionable transactions by former state Sen. Milton Holt may force the state Campaign Spending Commission to formally investigate the once powerful political leader.

The commission's executive staff is recommending that the commission consider filing a complaint, and they put the issue on the agenda for next week's meeting.

In the past, the staff has initiated complaints only when it feels there might be a violation.

Holt lent himself $11,500 from his campaign treasury, according to reports Holt recently filed with the commission. Politicians are not allowed to make loans to themselves with their campaign funds, according to Robert Watada, Campaign Spending Commission executive director.

Holt also reported paying himself $10,000 in "petty cash," without any explanation of where the money went.

If the commission considers there to be a likely serious violation, it could recommend that theml6 Milton

Holt case be turned over to the prosecutor, who could seek criminal charges against Holt.

Criminal violation of a state campaign spending law is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

If the case does go to the prosecutor's office, it would likely be turned over to the police.

As the Campaign Spending Commission does not have the power to bring a criminal charge, a law enforcement agency would have to investigate, according to Jim Fulton, executive assistant to Prosecutor Peter Carlisle.

Man sues Holt for damages
in traffic injury

A man has sued former state Sen. Milton Holt, alleging that Holt struck his vehicle on Rodgers Boulevard in 1996.

Feng Wang yesterday filed the suit in Circuit Court, alleging that Holt, who is now a special-projects officer with Bishop Estate, was inattentive or negligent when he drove his vehicle.

Wang said that he has suffered serious and permanent injuries in the accident, requiring ongoing medical care and treatment.

He asked for special and general damages.


House revives bill
to limit salaries at
charitable trusts

By Craig Gima


Bowing to pressure from within and outside the House of Representatives, Speaker Joe Souki is reviving a measure that could limit the pay of the trustees of Bishop Estate and other charitable trusts.

The bill was scheduled to go back to a House and Senate conference committee during a meeting scheduled today at the state Capitol.

Legislature '98 "We have a proposal -- we think, a very good one," Souki (D, Wailuku) said. "So we'll be presenting the proposal to the Senate. Hopefully, we can get to some kind of agreement."

"I think they're trying to do it the right way, which is to sit down, work it out and come out with a good bill," said Rep. Ed Case (D, Manoa).

Case, in a rare challenge to the way things are done in the House, led an effort Tuesday night to pass the Senate version of the bill on the House floor.

The measure failed by one vote.

"There is obviously a great deal of turmoil among the people who voted no," Case said.

Several representatives who voted no on Tuesday said they had changed their minds and would support the Senate measure if it were brought to another floor vote.

The Senate bill would limit trustee compensation to a "reasonable" level that would be set by a Probate Court judge. The House bill asked for a task force to study the issue of compensation.

Na Pua a Ke Alii Pauahi, a group of Kamehameha Schools students, parents and staffers, an author of the "Broken Trust" essay and even first lady Vicky Cayetano criticized the House vote and urged members to reconsider and pass the bill before the Legislature adjourns.

"I'm encouraged that they're going to meet," said Roy Benham, the Oahu president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association. "I think the House has gotten the message that this is a concern of more than just Hawaiians," he said.

House leaders acknowledged members have been getting a number of phone calls on the issue.

Souki said the House still has concerns about the definition of reasonable compensation. "But our mind is a little more open," he said. "I think one must rise above certain problems and move on."

Case said he believes the House leadership would not send the bill back to conference unless it is serious about resolving the issue.

But, he said, if a bill does not emerge from the meeting, he has the votes to bring the issue to the House floor again tonight.

One lawmaker, Rep. Paul Whalen (R, Kona), remains opposed to the bill despite pressure from colleagues and constituents.

Whalen said the bill simply repeals the current cap on trustee compensation and replaces it with "reasonable" amounts.

"If we are talking about a real solution, I would vote for it," he said.

"If we really want to solve the problem, let's solve it instead of pretending this thing is going to."

Estate seeks court help
to block alleged leaks



Bishop Estate must wait until June 16 to find out whether it can question the state attorney general and a Star-Bulletin reporter about alleged leaking of protected information.

An April 30 story authored by Rick Daysog that contained detailed information about former state Sen. Milton Holt's entertaining lawmakers at estate expense came from documents given Attorney General Margery Bronster on April 6, the estate says.

Estate attorneys subpoenaed Daysog and Bronster April 30 to determine who leaked the information in violation of a court protective order. The attorney general and Star-Bulletin attorneys countered with motions to quash the subpoenas.

The newspaper also plans to file a motion Monday seeking to lift the protective order for the documents turned over by the estate to the attorney general, newspaper attorney Peggy Leong said.

The estate, meanwhile, filed a motion yesterday requesting an expedited hearing to force Daysog and Bronster to comply with the April 30 subpoena because " . . . there is reasonable likelihood that further leaks, constituting further violations of this court's protective order will occur."

A hearing on the motions filed last month and yesterday will be held June 16.

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