Saturday, September 11, 1999

Stadium Authority did not
violate state’s Sunshine Law,
judge rules

By Pat Omandam


The Stadium Authority did not violate the state Sunshine Law with its move to open the Aloha Stadium swap meet up to bid, Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario ruled.

Del Rosario yesterday denied a motion by Edward Medeiros, owner of Aloha Flea Market Inc., for a temporary restraining order to stop the authority from continuing to review bids to operate the swap meet once Medeiros' contract ends on Sept. 30.

Medeiros' attorney, Robert Merce, had argued the authority did not properly list on its May meeting agenda that it would be discussing and voting on the termination of Medeiros' contract. Merce claimed that violated state open meetings laws because the public was not informed of what was to be discussed at the meeting.

The authority this week voted not to extend Medeiros' contract and to seek bids from anyone interested in operating the swap meet. The vote went against strong and often emotional testimony from vendors, who supported an extension of the contract and had fears of uncertainty under new management.

Merce argued yesterday that the authority just rubber-stamped what it had discussed in May. He wanted the authority to reopen discussion of Medeiros' contract and allow his client to continue operating the flea market until it properly voted on the matter.

State Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki, however, said there was ample opportunity for the public to testify before the authority. Suzuki said both parties knew the contract expired at the end of month, and that it was up to the state if it wanted to extend Medeiros' contract.

Del Rosario agreed, saying Medeiros did not prove that the outcome likely would be different if he granted the temporary restraining order, and that Medeiros did not prove the authority's actions caused irreparable damage.

Medeiros has operated the swap meet for 20 years. He paid the state $3.8 million this past year for the right to control and operate portions of the stadium parking lot for the vendors.

Merce said Medeiros has paid more than $40 million to the state since he started the flea market, enough money to pay for the building of Aloha Stadium.

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