Tuesday, June 9, 1998

Propriety of
Souki’s fee
up to the public

The speaker received
$132,000 for his role
in the sale of land to
Bishop Estate

By Craig Gima


It's up to the people to decide.

That's how Gov. Ben Cayetano responded to a question yesterday on House Speaker Joe Souki's actions on a bill that could limit the pay of Bishop Estate trustees after he received $132,000 for his role in selling Maui land to the Bishop Estate.

"When you have a part-time legislature in what really is a small, big town -- Hawaii is really a small, big town, we all know each other -- then I think you will find that business transactions like those do happen," Cayetano said.

"I think in the end it's up to the people of this state because the law requires us to disclose, and it's up to the people of the state to make a judgment."

Developer Everett Dowling paid Souki the fee for consulting work on the $5.8 million sale of 100 acres of Pukalani land for a permanent Maui Kamehameha Schools campus.

Cayetano appointed Dowling to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in April. He said the appointment was "appropriate and proper".

"Whether it has a bad appearance or not, I'm not sure. That's for others to say. I appointed Dowling because he currently, as I understand it, serves as regent at another university on the mainland and what the university needs is people who understand what it takes to build things," Cayetano said.

"When I make these appointments, I consult with the senators," he said. "The recommendations that I got from Sens. (Rosalyn) Baker and (Avery) Chumbley were that he was a person of good repute, that he's concerned about the community and not one who is here just to take and not give back and for me that is really very, very important."

Cayetano yesterday also commented on a letter he wrote to the Department of the Interior seeking federal compensation for increased expenses Hawaii could experience as the United States reduces its funding for Micronesia as part of an agreement called the Compact of Free Association.

"The federal law itself states that if there are any adverse consequences as a result of the compact being terminated to any of the territories or to the states, then the federal government will be open to compensating the states or the territory for those losses." Cayetano said. "This is part of what we're setting up. We're telling them in advance that we have already been, I think, experiencing a burden in terms of additional expenses and costs."

State officials believe Hawaii spends more than $10.7 million a year to support Micronesian immigrants to come to Hawaii.

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