Daily Archives: January 31, 2012

UH West Oahu chancellor sidestepped required financial disclosure

Whenever I run across a blank financial disclosure form filed by a public official, my alarm bells go off.

That’s what happened yesterday when I happened to look at the disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission by UH West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni.

Awakuni filed a “Disclosure of Financial Interests (Long Form)” report on June 1, 2010. It was essentially blank. Other than his name, title, and campus, along with his signature at the bottom, it did not contain a single item. No income. No creditors or loans. No officerships in other organizations. No real estate.

He filed an abbreviated report in 2011, in which he reported no changes from the prior year.

Again, no income, no interests.

So I did a quick profile of Mr. Awakuni and found quite a number of things that apparently should have been reported.

First of all, his own salary, which didn’t appear on the disclosure form.

Then there’s his wife, Maui realtor Leslie-Ann Yokouchi, who owns and operates her own real estate firm, MSY Corp., operating under the trade name, Windermere Valley Isle Properties.

Yokouchi is the daughter of influential Maui developer, political organizer, and philanthropist, Masaru “Pundy” Yokouchi, who died in 2006.

The state’s professional and vocational licensing database lists 50 real estate brokers and salespersons working for Windermere, including former Maui Mayor James Kimo Apana.

Awakuni did not include his wife’s company or her income on his financial disclosures, as required.

With all of the wheeling and dealing over establishment of the new UH West Oahu campus, and its relationship to land development in the leeward Oahu area, these would certainly seem to be relevant.

Real estate records show Awakuni and Yokouchi own several properties on Maui and Oahu. He is not required to list personal residences on his disclosure, and it isn’t clear whether any of the properties should have been publicly disclosed.

Then there’s Awakuni’s mortgage. According to public real estate records, Awakuni has a mortgage of $877,500 from Central Pacific Homeloans originated in 2008 for a condominium apartment in Honolulu. It was not reported on his financial disclosure.

Awakuni is a director of the state’s largest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Service Association, according to the HMSA web site and state business registration records. He is also a director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce. Neither of these positions has been reported on his financial disclosures.

Last year, State Ethics Commission Director Les Kondo told me that his office was going to start scrutinizing financial disclosures that fail to report basic items. I think this one qualifies for that additional review.