Management Company Ousted at Maui Housing Project

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BY JIM DOOLEY – After investigating conditions at a troubled affordable housing project on Maui, the state has terminated a private company’s $1.75 million contract to manage the project.

Karen Seddon, executive director of the state agency that owns Honokowai Kauhale, was unavailable for comment on the contract cancellation. But Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s press secretary, Donalyn Dela Cruz, said the property management firm, Realty Laua LLC, “was informed on Monday that the contract was terminated immediately.”

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Honokowai Kauhale property manager Lisa Faleafine, whose family owns Realty Laua, was told that she and her family members must move out of the manager’s apartment by Friday, according to residents at the project.

“There’s new people in the office. They took all the keys from Lisa yesterday and today they’re going though all the files,” said one long-time resident.

Realty Laua did not return a telephone request for comment.

The telephone at Realty Laua’s office at Honokowai Kauhale was not in service Tuesday.

The company received a three-year, $1.75 million contract last year to manage Honokowai Kauhale. The firm or its corporate predecessor had performed the same work since at least 2000. Last year’s new contract was originally awarded to a competing firm but that decision was overturned after Realty Laua formally protested the contract award.

Dela Cruz said a representative from an interim management company, Hawaii Affordable Properties, was on site at Honokowai Kauhale Tuesday.

Two officials from Seddon’s agency, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., will be present at Honokowai Kauhale Wednesday “to survey the transition,” said Dela Cruz.

Maui legislator Angus McKelvey, who last month called for cancellation of Realty Laua’s contract, confirmed Tuesday that the company had been terminated but declined further comment.

Problems at the 184-unit complex in the Kaanapali area of West Maui were first revealed by Hawaii Reporter in August.

Glenn Ishikawa

Glenn Ishikawa, the former project maintenance supervisor who was fired by Faleafine in June, said that nearly 40 per cent of the units at the project had been vacant for months. Some had been unoccupied for as long as five years.

Some residents reported that they felt intimidated by Faleafine and her live-in boyfriend, Iokepa Auwae, a convicted felon on parole for offenses including kidnaping and conspiracy to commit murder.

Other residents later wrote glowing letters of support for Faleafine and Auwae.

Before taking the Maui job, Faleafine was property manager at a state-owned low-income housing complex on the Big Island that was plagued by complaints from residents about squalid living conditions and insensitive management.

Karen Seddon

Following a series of investigative news reports about problems at Honokowai Kauhale, Seddon ordered a “compliance audit” of the project.

That report was completed weeks ago but Seddon has refused to disclose its contents.

To cure the vacancy problem at the project, Seddon ordered that rental prices for unoccupied apartments be lowered. She followed that order by approving slight increases in rents for units that had been continuously occupied since 2008.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Mr. Dooley! Finally something is being done for us mauians. Not to sound ungrateful but can you please stay on this story for us? We now need to see the project get fixed up now that realty luau is gone. I am afraid that the state will think that all of the bad press will go away with a change in the manager. Who is the new manager anyway?

  2. Thanks Jim,
    I think most of Maui (Lahaina) are very thankful for your UN-Biased news reporting its about time we get real news instead of news that is printed with big brothers approval or money (Maui snooze) you reported on this issue a month before they would touch it why ? Politics ? and if thats the point than that is a shame!!!
    Anyway Thanks !!!!

  3. This is a relief! I hope that we are able to have our locks changed! I definitely believe that they made copies of keys to certain tenants units anyway. I have seen them roaming the property passed 1am entering vacant units and not turning the lights on while in them! Sketchy and scary!
    After also reading the front page of the Maui News today, I would also like to say that someone needs to let Uncle Bob know how bad his niece really is! If he wants to blame all of this mess on anyone, he needs to look at her and her boyfriend! Suing the State is a mistake that may throw his family into an embarrassing court battle that will definitely include her KONA disaster! Let it go already!
    And as for Karen Seddon, I hope she honors her anonymity clause! Even after all of this dies down. “HER” boyfriend just moved his sister in and his best friend/ex-coworker, also lives here now. I have no doubt that they wouldn’t hesitate to harrass tenants if they knew who spoke up! They intimidation and retaliation will certainly continue for a long time!!!

  4. Survivor: I agree! they are conflicts of interest. They need to go too.Everything that ties to them should be cut off completely!..I’m sure this will be brought up. I heard Kepa’s sister by the name of Maile or Della Jr. attacked a tenant at the mailroom along with Kepa himself!…Shet they are just digging a deeper hole for themselves.I feel bad for the (2) mexican brothers that solely worked hard thru this whole thing. Also Mikihala too, but she left all this shet behind her already. Unfortunately these faithful employees had to suffer for their mess up. Dooley you are the man! and much mahalo to Ilima Loomis of the Maui News too. Hopefully all islands are aware of this evil family business and whomever is involved too. Like I said earlier KARMA! and GOD he no sleep!

  5. Oh and by the way just to add on if for any reason Kepa, Genghis, Maile or Lisa should ever retalitate or hurt anyone or anybody that have spoke up or came forward, remember Karen Seddon of HHFDC you are up for a huge lawsuit because you guys allowed to hire them, and look what happened! THIS DOESNT END YET UNTIL THEY ARE ALL BEHIND BARS!…This shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place, these felon was not just small offenses they are convicted offenses BIG TIME!…so now the whole Island of Maui is watching you guys. Now you have been served now you are all judged!

  6. Chhheeeee huuuuuuu!!!!! OMG…i can’t believe it, finally we see action. But what happens if we do see them on property? Do we call the cops? Do we talk to the interim management company? How do we get in touch with them when the phones are disconnected!!! And i didn’t know that Honokowai Kauhale’s phone was a cell phone. We tried to call the office but it said the Verizon wireless phone number has been changed, disconnected or is no longer in service!!! Is this true? Who shall we call? Anyonw knows? All I can say for myself, that i will be able to get a good nights rest now. Put we still want answers. Is the rent still going up? Is the property going to see BIG improvements? We don’t need little improvements, we need big improvements!!!

    Mr. Dooley, Mr. Ilima, you are the BOMB….our politicians, thank you for backing us up, (the little people!!!). Thank you all for your voices, your help on all of our situations!!! People, always fight for what is right and everything will be fine. Lanakila, you are right in regards to the retaliations, you know that they will start again even though Lisa and Kepa will be gone. Kepa’s good friend Ghengis and sister will still be living on property, well hopefully not for very much longer since he doesn’t have a job no more unless he has found another. But behind it all, he’s no big deal!!! As for Kepa’s Sister, she’s really not a big deal either!!! I say if anyone else should be threatened by them, call the police again just like the lady did when she got threatened by Kepa and his sister the other day!!! Blessings to all who made it happen and like Lanakila stated, God doesn’t sleep, he see, and hears everything!!! As for Karma, it always goes around..Didn’t your mama teach you to treat others the way you’d wanna be treated!!! Mr. Dooley again…YOU ARE DA MAN!!!!

  7. Okay! Updates on the property I have been hearing?. There is a private security on duty watching these felons and Lisa’s posse’s for illegal stuff concerning units and harrassing tenants. We have been seeing a Landscaping company that have been roaming the property checking out all of the damages. The office have been very busy with lines of people or tenants perhaps trying to get in to apply or inhouse tenants with questions. The Laundry mats have been opened all night long unlocked and lights on all night. We heard that by Monday even if she was told that Friday is their last day, would be when she absolutely needs to be gone period!. I see the Polaris and a golf cart parked infront of their unit but it looks like they are doing the moves at night, perhaps because they are ashamed?..Oh! Well face it head on. Now you both will know how humiliation feels like. And for all of you supporters of Lisa and Kepa, stop approaching others and try giving your sad stories, We don’t care, so if you have a problem then go with them too. Wake up! Idiots….We have no time for your sad stories, we need a new management and a better and cleanier environment here. Perhaps you had some lead way with Lisa, but we don’t care we are moving on whether you like it or not!…Kepa you remembered the day you told Mikihala “Your otta Hea!”…well! Your’e otta hea buddy what went around came around!..Go with her to Oahu we don’t want you here on MAUI. It’s very sad that it take one person to ruin the Auwae name. Shame on you!…and you to Maile-Go back to Molokai or better yet go to Oahu, Molokai don’t need people like you. Perhaps Oahu would be most suitable for all of you it’s a dog eat dog place there, you’ll all feel comfortable there. I’m pretty sure there’s more to this then what we all think we know but-as far as we are concern we are satisfied that your’e all gone. The other stuff as I’m sure is much worse, you’ll hang yourselves eventually!

  8. Lanakila it sounds like things are looking up there. Have the state come out to talk to the residents to let them know what is going on and when the project will be fixed up? May be you will finally get to see Miyasaki and Seddon in person!

  9. Thanks Mr Dooley for carrying our story out to the public! Well Lisa and Kepa you always wanted to be known and guess what..you are! Seems you’re finding it hard to leave after a whole week you gonna have a yard sale of your stuff or are you gonna make a clean break from you past by leaving all the things you bought with our recycled cans? Where are your friends…you know those supporters…have they gathered to help you move or are they holding your hands cause you’re still in shock that good CAN triumph over evil?

  10. Okay! It’s Tuesday October 25th and they are still there WTH is going on! I thought there were supoose to be gone by Friday October 21st. No take that long to gather up all of your stuff. You all had a week. I’m sure you don;t have a problem finding a place?. Just call up your daddy and have him take care of you? Besides he always did, bailing you out of your mess. And where are your friends that supported you?. Have them house you? I’m sure they can help?. Make sure to take your garbage with you too. Try not to leave it behind. JUST LEAVE ALREADY AND LET US MOVE ON! Karen Seddon what the hell is going on hire some sheriff’s and get her out now!. That is what she does to people anyway let her feel the pain she puts all of us and the other island people thru all these years. Enough is Enough!

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