On November 18th Aloha for All founder H. William Burgess petitioned the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kuroiwa v Lingle for panel or “en banc” reversal of 1)the rejection of plaintiffs claims of unlawful distributions by the State to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and 2)sanctions against Burgess personally.

Kuroiwa v. Lingle is a case seeking permanent injunction against further distributions to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and return to State control of the hundreds of millions of dollars and properties wrongfully distributed to OHA by the State of Hawaii from the Ceded Lands Trust. The plaintiffs, all either born and raised or long-time residents of Hawaii, allege that as Trustee of the Ceded Lands Trust the State breached the trust, not only in violation of the Equal Protection clause, but by distributing funds over the last 30 years from the Trust to OHA for the exclusive benefit of native Hawaiians when in fact the Trust had no net income to distribute.

The Hawaii Federal Court refused to rule on the breach of trust issue because it found that the plaintiffs had no “standing” to sue, and that the United States government needed to be a party to the suit and plaintiffs could not sue the United States.

During the same period, the State was distributing hundreds of millions of dollars to OHA, for the exclusive benefit of native Hawaiians, it made no distributions from the Trust whatsoever to or exclusively for the 80% of Hawaii’s citizens who are not native Hawaiians.

Despite rulings by the Hawaii court that the case could be re-filed, the Hawaii court held and a three-judge panel affirmed that the re-filing was “frivolous” litigation and assessed financial penalties against Mr. Burgess. The current petition seeks to overturn those penalties as well as require returning to the Executive Branch control of the funds and property unlawfully distributed to and still held by OHA.

‘Tom MacDonald, communications director for Aloha 4 All, can be reached at mailto:tjmacdonald@earthlink.net’

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