Last week, a Molokai veterans group filed suit against Maui County, Mayor Charmaine Tavares and several other officials, claiming that they have endured “years of senseless, relentless roadblocks” in their effort to build a veterans center in Kaunakakai.
Molokai Veterans Caring For Veterans says the County has hamstrung the project since 2005 and refused to grant a building permit because of a dispute over waterline upgrades. The suit alleges that Tavares “threatened” Molokai Veterans director Larry Helm “in an attempt to retaliate against Helm and Molokai Veterans and prevent them from demonstrating in a public forum” and that members of the Mayor’s staff “attempted to coerce Molokai Veterans into ‘minimizing’ their protest and gave Molokai Veterans misleading information to persuade them to comply.”
Calls to the Mayor’s office weren’t returned at press time, but on September 20 County spokesperson Mahina Martin—who is named as a defendant—told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the suit “makes sensationalized claims” and implied it might be politically motivated, saying it was “curious” that it was filed the day before the primary election.
The Molokai Veterans are seeking unspecified monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and injunctive and declatory relief.
Here’s the full text of the lawsuit: Molokai Vets Complaint