Auditor Condemns DLNR’s Fiscal Management

Auditor Condemns DLNR's Fiscal Management

Huge Questions Arise as to Suzanne Case's DLNR Missing Funds

The DLNR's history of fiscal mismanagement has been documented time and again by independent audit.  Audits as far back as 2001, right up through January, 2019, indicate that DLNR funds mismanagement is widespread and pernicious.  Because the funds for the harbor system and wider ocean recreation environment are so mismanaged, DLNR Chair, Suzanne Case, and DOBOR Administrator, Ed Underwood, have, as late, been trying to make a case for a convenient out from under their misguided understanding of harbor system debits and revenue, by, once again, charging boaters Statewide, enormous fee increases.

Independent auditor, Les Kondo, in a January, 2019 report, wondered out loud whether state ethics and procurement laws hadn't been violated by DLNR operatives themselves.  When auditors attempted to question operative consultants, the latter refused to cooperate, triggering a subpoena petition. According to auditors quoted in West Hawaii News: Chair Case's DLNR is guilty of "poor oversight, budget shortfalls, inappropriate spending, lapsed funding and the department’s failure to adopt a strategic plan — a requirement of state law since 2006 — to guide the agency and its board in making decisions."

Chair Case has now gone so far as to lie to a Senate Ways and Means committee about why she is asking for an increase in liveaboard fees, on top of the above-mentioned fee demands.  Meanwhile, Underwood has been openly trying to deflect the public away from inquiry and testimony about the poorly-thought-through fee increase idea by lying, and whatever other means possible, none of which being preoccupied by Sunshine law constraints.  Underwood is also being acused of smoke-screening the public while he continues to pursue negotiations with private corporations who would love to get their hands on properties like the Ala  Wai for their own, for profit, money-making schemes.

This public testimony (below), recently submitted to the DLNR in response to their request for public testimony regarding the fee increase proposal (§13-234), discuses the reason why funds mismanagement can lead to unwarranted fee increase burdens on the public:


Public Testimony
From: Bruce B., Honolulu

Subject: Chapter 13-234, Hawaii Administrative Rules

The DLNR's own accounting shows that there is no need for a rate increase at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.  Rather, several underway projects - 800 row and 600 row repairs - need to be completed bringing 70+ additional slips online.  The additional slips will provide mooring revenues and parking revenues.

I have read all the materials I could find regarding the proposed rate increases relative to the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.  It's a non-trivial list.  I only learned of the webpage containing said information because another Ala Wai resident pointed it out to me on November 21, 2018

The official notice was taped to the counter at the Harbor office.   Only one of the office staff even knew of this announcement's existence.  Since DLNR sends each tenant a bill every month, how hard would it be to include important information in that mailing?

Link from the above referenced notice:

Reports Related to Proposed Fee Increase - The following links are from this webpage:

Current list of deferred maintenance projects for the small boat harbor program - doesn't include the 800 row repairs or 500 row street light repairs (been out for a year with attendant rise in nighttime drug activity).

Calculations of revenues and expenses by harbor (warning: large .pdf of 2016, 2017, and 2018 budget spreadsheets)

To assist my understanding of the budget issues this harbor is facing, I produced a year over year comparison spreadsheet of Ala Wai SBH revenues.  A .pdf version of this document is attached (AlaWaiYearOverYearRevenue.pdf).

Click here for larger image: AlaWaiYearOverYearRevenue.pdf

In addition to income figures, the revenues and expenses by harbor document includes expenditures, again broken out by harbor.  I call your attention to pages 4, 18, and 30 of 38 pages of the revenues and expenses by harbor document.  The line labeled Net Income (Loss) near the bottom of each page shows clearly that the only harbor on Oahu that shows a positive net income figure for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2018 is the Ala Wai SBH ( 2,758,084.92;  1,540,854.18; and  555,261.00 respectively ).

These positive Net Income (Loss) figures are achieved despite 67 Tahiti Moor slips on the 800 row having been unavailable in 2018 (worth roughly 300,000 to the Ala Wai income line) and nearly a million dollars of Rental of Land and Wharf  that has disappeared from the FY 2017 and 2018 results.  (See highlights in attached AlaWaiYearOverYearRevenue.pdf for specifics.)

The inescapable conclusion is that the Ala Wai SBH is paying its way while every other harbor on Oahu is not.

What happens to these excess revenues collected from the Ala Wai tenants year after year?  Are they being used to subsidize the other harbors?  They certainly don't appear to be being used in maintenance of our harbor.

DLNR's own accounting shows that there is no need for a rate increase at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.  Rather, several underway projects - 800 row and 600 row repairs - need to be completed bringing 70+ additional slips online.  The additional slips will provide mooring revenues and parking revenues.  Parking revenues will result assuming that no ferris-wheel or amusement park is constructed which consumes the parking spaces.

Respectfully submitted,

Bruce B.



Notice to the Public:

Please add your voice to the growing community concern.

Here is a place where you can search for pending legislation, 2019.  Use your "Find On this Page" search option in your browser to look for key words like DLNR, Submerged Lands, etc.

Here is just one of several current legislation proposals, out of several, that may be of interest:

SB1258 (Intro)
Allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources (Board) to lease any existing state boating facility in its entirety, and fast lands (adjacent dry land) and submerged lands within any existing state boating facility, by public auction, request for proposals, or direct ne...


Reference material:
Click here "Where's the Money?'
Click here for more on this subject from Hawaii Ocean News ("Hawaii is NOT An Amusement Park")

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