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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 12, 2002

Kanahele given 30 days to pay back rent

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele and residents of Pu'uhonua o WaimŒnalo who have never paid any lease rent for their 45-acre "village" since moving to the site in 1993 were granted a 30-day extension yesterday to pay the back rent.

The group has already missed several deadlines to make the payments, but state Board of Land and Natural Resources granted the extension after Kanahele told the six-member panel that simple mistakes were made and the rent would be paid soon.

The board said Kanahele must pay the $3,000 rent and a $90 service charge within 30 days with a cashier's check and an overdue $6,000 performance bond within 60 days or forfeit the lease.

Harry Yada, acting administrator of the DNLR's Land Division, had asked the board to revoke the group's lease for lack of payment.

Kanahele said 65 to 70 people live at the village, located on agricultural land in WaimŒnalo, and about 30 of them are minors. He said everyone chips in to pay the rent and the group has ample funds. Kanahele said because a nonprofit group was formed last year to manage the village's finances, checks were written on new accounts that did not have sufficient funds.

"I'm asking for a 30-day extension to take care of this," Kanahele said. "We have the capacity to take care of the lease."

Kanahele, once considered among the most militant of Hawaiian sovereignty activists, said he is still learning to work within the state government system.

The village was established in September 1993 when then-Gov. John Waihe'e negotiated a deal that called for more than 100 people organized as the "Nation of Hawaii" and led by Kanahele to move from Makapu'u Beach to the WaimŒnalo site. The group had been living in tents at the beach for 15 months.

In June 1994, the state and the group agreed to a 55-year lease for the village which was not signed until last March.

Residents at the site (only about seven acres are usable) have cleared the land, built houses, put up fences and gardens.

The $3,000-a-year lease began April 1, 2001, and will expire March 31, 2056. Aloha First, the nonprofit group formed to represent the village, was named lessee.

By April 23 last year, the first half payment on the lease, $1,500, had not been received and a notice of default was sent to the group by certified mail. The group had also failed to pay a $6,000 performance bond and did not have required liability insurance. They were given 60 days to correct the default.

By Aug. 24 they had still not paid and were sent another notice of default and given another 30 days to comply.

The DLNR received a check for $3,060 Nov. 2, but it was returned because of insufficient funds.

Another notice of default was sent Oct. 17 giving another 30 days to pay.

On previous occasions, Kanahele has claimed that the federal and state governments are illegal and neither has jurisdiction over Hawaiians, but he did not make that argument yesterday.

"To me (the village) is a success story to come out of the sovereignty movement," Kanahele said. "The quality of life has improved for the people at the village."

Reach James Gonser at jgonser@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2431.