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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 12:02 p.m., Thursday, July 22, 2004

Dobelle mediation to continue

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Attorneys for the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents and former President Evan Dobelle will go into another week of mediation in the hopes of settling their differences.

In a statement released today Regent Chairwoman Patricia Lee said: "From the report we received this morning, we believe one more week of mediation is warranted and could prove fruitful."

The board will reconvene at 2 p.m. next Thursday, after meeting this morning with their attorneys in a closed-door session.

Lee's statement said there will be no further comments on this matter until the next board meeting.

In the same statement, Lee said she "applauds" the manner in which acting president David McClain and other university leaders "have worked so professionally with the board to make significant progress despite the continued spotlight on the mediation."

In other action, the Board of Regents has agreed to turn over to the state Office of Information Practices some documents relating to its decision to fire former President Evan Dobelle, officials said.

Board Chairwoman Patricia Lee said Tuesday that the regents will comply with state law and turn over the documents to the state office, which could then determine whether they should be made public.

Office Director Les Kondo this week threatened to sue the university after attorneys denied the office's request to see copies of the final audit of Dobelle's protocol fund and other documents.

University Associate General Counsel Presley Pang denied access to the audit, citing the confidential mediation between Dobelle and the university to resolve a potential lawsuit over Dobelle's June 15 termination.

Although regents haven't stated specific reasons behind why Dobelle was fired last month, reports have focused on his alleged mismanagement of the discretionary protocol fund.

Dobelle has denied any wrongdoing and hired attorneys to investigate his firing.

Regents said only that Dobelle was fired "for cause," which disqualified him from receiving a $2.2 million severance package.

The Office of Information Practices can only advise the university whether the documents should be made public. It then would be up to the university to make the documents public or risk a lawsuit by going against the state agency's written opinion.

Pang said Tuesday that because of the volume of material requested, the university may not be able to copy all of the documents by the end of the week. However, he said he will work with Kondo's office to work out a schedule to turn over the requested documents.

Advertiser Staff Writer Beverly Creamer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.