Dobelle says regents
are the ones lying

The recently ousted UH president
calls comments made by regents
a "sham"

Ousted University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle said yesterday that comments made by university regents accusing him of lying and misusing funds are untrue and that the regents would not have settled with him if they were.

"This is a sham, and it's unfair to me and my reputation," Dobelle said after the Board of Regents released minutes of a meeting at which Dobelle was fired -- an action later rescinded with his agreement to resign.

The draft minutes reflect the regents' version of the truth, he said.

"The allegations are untrue, and the regents admitted this when they settled," he said.

Minutes of the June 15 meeting and supporting documents were released Thursday, nearly a week after the university was ordered to do so "without delay" by the state Office of Information Practices.

The regents accused Dobelle of being a liar, misusing university funds and lacking integrity and leadership ability, according to the minutes.

The board voted unanimously to fire Dobelle "for cause" on June 15.

After Dobelle threatened a lawsuit, the two sides reached a mediated settlement in which the regents rescinded their action and Dobelle agreed to resign. The settlement gives Dobelle $1.8 million in severance, including payment of all his legal fees.

It also gives him a two-year nontenured research position at the university and absolves both sides of any wrongdoing.

Dobelle noted that the minutes released were only in draft form and that the actual audiotapes have not been heard.

He also noted the time it took the regents to release the draft minutes.

"They were told to do so immediately, but no one got them until Thursday," Dobelle said, suggesting that the regents used the time to "work" the minutes.

During the mediation process, attorneys looked at everything and found no wrongdoing on Dobelle's part, said Richard Fried, Dobelle's attorney.

"They (the regents) withdrew the termination for cause, and that speaks volumes," Fried said.

While the other documents released appear to support specific allegations, Fried said there are "perfect explanations for everything."

One of the allegations was that Dobelle has not accounted for about $72,000 he was reimbursed from a protocol fund managed by the University of Hawaii Foundation.

Fried said this was a result of differing accounting practices and that Kristin Blanchfield, Dobelle's assistant, resolved 80 percent of those concerns. "It was all sorted out in the process," said Fried.

"This was not taxpayer money, but it should all be accounted for and it was," he said. "If anything was left, it will be resolved.

"We went through everything and explained it all, and that's why we came out with the statement of no wrongdoing," he said.

"Clearly there was not a perfect relationship," he said. "More or better communications on both sides might have avoided all this."

But Dobelle said he had been available and ready to meet with the regents, Fried said.

"The bottom line is the regents never told him to his face that he was not being totally candid," Fried said. "If they had done so, he would have addressed it. As a result, the lawyers addressed it."



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