Tuesday, October 19, 1999

University of Hawaii

Stryker Weiner
defers bid on UH public-
relations contract

By Susan Kreifels


The University of Hawaii has chosen a company to sign its public-relations contract, and it's not the one run by UH Regent Sharon Weiner.

Joanne Clark, director of university relations, said yesterday that the company has not signed on yet, so she could not release its name. Clark said, however, that Stryker Weiner Associates Inc. did not bid on the contract when it was offered a second time.

UH general counsel Walter Kirimitsu had determined there was no conflict of interest if Weiner's company bid on the contract, as long as she didn't take part in decisions on it.

Weiner said that her company didn't bid a second time because she was concerned about another potential conflict of interest: If the UH administration wanted to promote an issue she didn't agree with as a regent. She called that scenario a "reverse conflict."

"I didn't want to have that hanging over my head," Weiner said.

Weiner said it was not about "whether it was legal or about giving myself money. It was to make sure I was making a decision about what I felt was right, not a position my company was making. It really hit me between the eyes."

Clark said the contract should be signed this week, allowing her to name the company that won the bid.

Weiner's company bid on the contract the first time it was offered. Weiner was appointed a regent earlier this year, and disclosed the potential conflict in a letter to university officials in July.

The university advertised the bid again, however, because one firm said it didn't know about the contract, Clark said.

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