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StarBulletin.com

Audit cited ex-administrator in questionable dealings


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POSTED: Monday, June 29, 2009

Former Assistant Schools Superintendent Rae Loui is among the people at the center of a state's auditor's report that criticized questionable procurement practices at the Department of Education.

; While the report does not identify persons and companies by name, it recommended the department look into a $300,000 contract that the Star-Bulletin has learned was awarded to M&E Pacific Inc., an engineering company that employs Loui as a vice president of operations.

Elsewhere in the report, she is clearly identified as a female former assistant superintendent who left the department in December 2005.

As assistant superintendent of business services since February 2003, Loui supervised workers in charge of procuring facility contracts.

Before leaving the department, she was actively involved in working with M&E Pacific and listed as the contact person in the department on at least three M&E Pacific contracts totaling more than $1.7 million, the report said.

Loui was listed as a vice president of M&E Pacific as of April 1, 2007, according to the firm's Web site.

However, the audit, released in February, said that according to e-mails during its review, the former assistant superintendent was employed by the engineering firm and involved in discussions about the $300,000 contract as early as March 2006.

On April 24, 2007, as part of its good-conduct declaration, M&E Pacific stated it was not represented “;on matters related to this contract for fee or other consideration by an individual who, within the past 12 months, has been an agency employee.”;

Loui declined comment, as did Rudolph Mina, president of M&E Pacific.

The audit also criticized the selection process, including an administrator whom Loui had previously supervised.

The administrator hand-picked a three-member selection committee that included himself, contrary to the usual procedure of letting the selection committee coordinator fill the committee seats, the audit said.

Loui, who has served in a number of government administrative posts on Maui and Oahu, had to defend the procurement process for contracts when she was director of the Department of Design and Construction under Mayor Jeremy Harris.