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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, July 22, 2004

State to get Dobelle audit files

Associated Press

The University of Hawai'i 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.