State Audit: ‘Atmosphere Of Intimidation and Fear’ at Maui Housing Project

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BY JIM DOOLEY – An audit of the state-owned Honokowai Kauhale affordable housing project on Maui found residents living in “substandard conditions” and “an atmosphere of intimidation and fear,” according to state records released today.

Honokowai Kauhale on Maui

The audit was commissioned as a result of a series of Hawaii Reporter news stories about problems at the West Maui project, and verified the contents of those stories, the records show.

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Among the findings of the audit:

  • “The overall physical condition of the project is clearly substandard.”
  • “Current Resident Manager has created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear of reprisals, as reported by tenants.”
  • Apparent discrimination against families with children through enforcement of “unwritten rules.”
  • Failure to actively market the availability of 40 vacant units ready for occupancy.
  • Inconsistent enforcement of house rules.
  • Favoritism in “steering” of selected tenants to certain vacant units.

The audit findings (which have been redacted by the state to remove the names of individuals) are here Audit Part One and here Audit Part Two.

Based on the findings of the audit, the Housing Finance and Development Corp., the state agency that owns the project, notified property manager Realty Laua LLC on Sept. 28 of its intent to cancel the management contract if deficiencies weren’t addressed within 10 days. (See the Sept. 28 Letter)

The primary requirement made of Realty Laua by the state was removal of resident manager Lisa Faleafine, a member of the family that owns Realty Laua.

Faleafine had previously been transferred from a similar job at another state-owned housing facility on the Big Island after residents there complained repeatedly about mismanagement and squalid living conditions.

On Oct. 17, the state cancelled Realty Laua’s contract, saying in a letter to company president Robert Faleafine that he had failed to remove Lisa Faleafine as Honokowai Kauhale manager. (See the Oct. 17 Letter)

Robert Faleafine had “verbally assured” the state that a new manager would be appointed, but later asked for “clarification” of the state’s position, the Oct. 17 letter said.

“HHFDC finds this response insufficient,” agency administrator Karen Seddon said in the letter.

“HHFDC required the immediate removal and replacement of (Faleafine) as Resident Manager of the Honokowai Kauhale rental project based on the various and serious allegations documented,” the letter said.

“Realty Laua has failed to act not only as required by HHFDC, but also notably in direct contrast to what Realty Laua LLC represented to be an action it was willing to take,” Seddon wrote.

Honokowai Kauhale

The three-year, $1.75 million management contract was awarded to Realty Laua last year. The contract was initially awarded to another firm, Hawaii Affordable Properties, but that award was overturned after Realty Laua formally protested HHFDC’s procurement procedures.

After Realty Laua’s contract was cancelled, HHFDC awarded a six-month, non-bid contract to Hawaii Affordable Properties to manage Honokowai Kauahale.

The state is paying Hawaii Affordable Properties $375,000 under the six-month contract — $128,000 more than it was paying Realty Laua for the same work.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Mahalo! It has been a frustrating period of betrayal and bullying…The Faleafine Way of management has harmed a lot of people. This manner of intimidation, “side-stepping” issues and “needs for clarafications” ultimately brought them down and if they do not accept responsibility of blame it will do them in. Do they have any control over their former employees Lisa and Iokepa who continue to trespass on the Honokowai Kauhale property, playing cat and mouse with the manager and police attempting to serve them with a trespassing notice? Iokepa’s parents have moved off property yet sneak back to take stuff from their dilapated van they use as storage left in the parking stall with a tarp over it. Management has already notified Kepa’s sister (who was the last favored tenant snuck in from the exhausted wait list) and Genghis, that Lisa and Kepa are trespassing. Funny how Lisa could flaunt her management rules to evictee’s, but finds this doesn’t apply to herself. MOMMY AND DADDY FALEAFINE must be proud of you. You and your “live-in boyfriend…the NON-husband” are setting perfect examples for your children. You did wrong…accept it…get a job…and MOVE ON! We’re not in high school anymore. I suggest you stop embarassing yourself playing petty games in this ADULT world!

  2. Mahalo, too. All those people who might have stayed in available apartments would have been paying $200 less rent per month for whatever many months. Affordable rental units also relieves the demand for apartments in the private sector. So who knows the impact on rent costs that those non-available units had on market prices. This was plain selfish. Hawaii has the highest rent based on percentage of paycheck that goes to rent. We need all the open units that’s possible.

  3. Now that I have read the ending of part II, I must apologize to the supporters of Lisa. You;re right in the aspect of the character that Lisa and Kepa have protrayed to you all these years. If we knew, really what we did to get on Lisa’s bad side and been able to work it out with her maybe we wouldn’t have suffered so much. We wouldn’t have seen friends and family denied residency. If it took just your letters of character such as that submitted in that week of September 8th to HHDCH to keep her as manager, then you should be outraged by this audit. The concrete evidence presented by the audit that management was responsible for and answerable to her father and uncle, as her bosses, means that her problems and inability to maintain the upkeep of Honokowai Kauhale is clearly her father’s and uncle’s fault. Robert Faleafine was present at every monthly meeting, why then did they not cover this maintenance problem in those meetings. Apparently those on Lisa’s blacklist was wrong and deserved the ill treatment given to them. Somehow, I don’t think so…too many vacant units, a misrepresented wait list, no strong attempt to advertise for tenants…too many questions…

  4. Thank you Dooley for bringing this audit to light! . As I read all of these supportive letters that eliquently praises her for her community support is fine and dandy, but lets really focus on the main concerns on why these audit was called to in the first place?. Something went wrong here and all of you innocent and nice loving and family oriented people and tenants failed to look at the most important and serious issue that really matters.

    Your Tax money, your lively hood, your innocence, and your rights have been violated right under your noses. In these letters I read many of them stated very good comments on maintanance preformance of how things were done quickly! Yes I agree to that no doubt! Why? because it was Glenn that needed to be praised for all of his hardwork dealing with all the bullshet Lisa laid on him, while she took all the glory!. That one letter I read this tenant stated she had been the best manager ever on this property?. HUH! who the hell you trying to fool here?. You of all people should know the dam big difference by now! .

    For all you that speak of Kepa and how can we condem his past?. It’s not his past we are worried about it’s really about how he gets away with things and favored by his resident manager and live-in. girlfriend . For all of you that support and praise her about how wonderful that she put all these activities for the kids is not from her it’s from Glenn and Diane. They spend so much money on these kids for Easter egg hunt, etc. Yes! it’s not her idea? NO NO NO!…..This couple spend everything out of their own pockets for the kids, Lisa and Kepa do not deserve to take this credit! they had nothing to contribute but being there to show face…..BUT she sure likes to take the credit!…..And the DJ nope not hers again it was all Daryl’s time and effort for the kids not her! She deserves no credit at all. Daryl donated all of his time and love the kids too. He never asked for a pennie Shame on you Lisa!

    Again the focus was that she did something wrong much deeper, and no one knew. Until it took a manager to get fired to look more into it and low and behold, She did the same thing on the Big Island and brought it here. Public Records on her was so disturbing that it questioned everyone’s mind on why she left there to come to this property?. Another supporter that came from outside and not from HK, really had a lot to say for someone that don’t really knows his facts and praised her. That’s great but try clean your own closet out first before you get involved.

    Just because she helps you with Basketball, and lend you her SUV when your vehicle broke down no mean shet!. You don’t live here, and it’s about her and how she treated these people and tenants. Really it’s because your wife has issues with her family, and Lisa is her friend so it’s about your past not ours! Stay out of it! Really it’s non of your buisness period!

  5. Ok Mauians, so the state has done some short term fixes to keep us happy. But have they given a long range plan for the residents to REALLY get some closure to all of this? Does Seddon and Miyasaki get off the hook for all of the bad stuff that has happened here? I still would like to get to the bottom of all of this as it just doesn’t smell right!

  6. Murray! that’s so right! its not over till we get answers on what happened to all that money every Taxpayer in the State of Hawaii worked hard on and went to pay for all those repairs? Why did all of thoses empty units stay empty?. Something is not right here. Is there a logical purpose as to why the state paid all those thousands of dollars to Realty Laua, to repair the property, and nothing was done.?

    Lisa and her family buisness drove the property to shet, so where did the money go? Taxpayers need an explanation Seddon and Miyasaki, What are you not telling us, and who is benefiting from this.
    Now the State is paying more money to do this job again?. ..I really don’t think this problem will end until it goes to court and convict all those involved!……Governor and Lawmakers of Maui ! The people want to know!….Dooley stay on this case until justice is served.

  7. I still feel that the residents are owed an explanation of what happened and what the state plans on doing moving forward! Don’t take us mauians cheap. The least Seddon and Miyasaki can do is show up in person and face the people who call honokowai home. Maybe we need to make a appointment with the governor. He seems to not have a problem firing people!

  8. so what happens about the money that was supposetly given to Realty Laua to do the repairs to HK.?!!!. seddon and miyasaki what are you both gonna do?.how are you gonna explain to all these tax payers on how and why these empty units and why wasn’t anything done.where the hell did all this money go to. somebody is gonna have to explain. who is responsible for this mis handling of government funds! i know that this will never die off. it will be a big investigation until its found and exposed. look what happens when greedy and dishonest leaders run our government. the people demands to know the truth. Dooley and the taxpayers will not give up until someone or others pay for their actions!!!!!!

  9. Maybe all this is taking sooo long ’cause Honokowai Kauhale is only the tip of the iceberg?! Let’s see Realty Laua had Kuhio Park Terrace and now they don’t. Realty Laua had Honokowai Kauhale and now they don’t. What’s happening to the other state properties they are managing? Where’s the money? Has the state been scammed? Has the taxpayers’ money been lining the family pockets? Hey Mr. Dooley how deep does this go? or how high does this go??!

  10. Wow…Lots of people really look at this website. That’s great!. Freedom of speech and let the public know what’s really going on with these political cover ups, scams and exposure of all these back stabbing, 10 faces money hungry blood sucking no good people out there. Besides who above is looking down on these creatures, Dooley is the man down here!….God Bless you Mr. Dooley you are RARE!. And the public do appreciate your work!

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