POSTED: 13 NOVEMBER 2007 -  8:30am HST

Like a bad penny, Awana is now turning up all over

image above: website of "Kauai Hummer Safari". Owned by "archaeologist" Nancy McMahon

by Doug White on 8 November 2007 at

A lawsuit filed by a former state archeologist terminated from the Historic Preservation Division may get interesting. A few articles scratch the surface (West Hawaii Today, Star-Bulletin, and Advertiser), but Ian Lind gets to the heart of the matter and posts the actual lawsuit and exhibits.

First, a few internet-related aspects of the suit. One of the defendants named in the suit, an archeologist at the Historic Preservation Division named Nancy McMahon, runs a tourism concession on Kauai called Kauai Hummer Safari.
Turn the clock back a thousand years on our Hummer expedition into Kauai’s ancient rain forests. You will see historical sites [ahem]; experience the unforgettable feel of a rain forest, view spectacular waterfalls and secluded pools. See the lush tropical jungles the way ancient Hawaiians did.

I was not aware that ancient Hawaiians cruised around the jungle in paramilitary 4X4s? Heh.

Next, it mentions another defendant, Ashley Chinen, who “wrote on internet blogs that were published throughout the state of Hawaii.” The plaintiff is going after AC for “false, hurtful, and malicious statements” made in that blog comment and he intends to show that he was defamed by that and other similar comments. Uh, okay, good luck with that…

Interesting, but let us plow onward. Have a look at the more explosive allegations in paragraphs 143 through 155 (transcribed here by hand, so hopefully there are few/no typos):

143. Defendant AWANA would regularly make phone calls to Defendant MELANIE CHINEN to tell Defendant MELANIE CHINEN what projects to fast track and what projects to hinder.

144. Plaintiff knew that Defendant AWANA regularly called because on several occasions Plaintiff heard Defendant AWANA on the phone and numerous times Defendant MELANIE CHINEN would refer to Defendant AWANA as the one who called.

145. At other times Defendant MELANIE CHINEN would refer to such calls as “from the Governor’s office.”

146. After such conversations, Defendant MELANIE CHINEN would say that the governor’s office wanted the approval of certain projects to happen quicker.
147. As set forth above in 30, Plaintiff often objected to such approval based on ethical and legal reasons.

148. When Plaintiff objected, Defendant MELANIE CHINEN said or implied that Plaintiff would not be working at SHPD unless he became a “team player.”

149. On or about April, 2006, Plaintiff was called in Defendant MELANIE CHINEN and introduced to her “friend” Defendant LAURA THIELEN.

150. Defendants asked Plaintiff if he could provide an archeological report that would help a piece of land be rezoned without difficulty.

151. Defendant MELANIE CHINEN had not asked Plaintiff to research the land and he had no reason to know anything about the archaeological features on the land.

152. Plaintiff stated that he would have to do a survey according to the laws and regulations and would have to see if the land had any archeological features before he could sign a report.

153. By their body language and voice tone, Defendants were not pleased with Plaintiff’s answer and asked him to leave the office.

154. Defendants have consulted and communicated at other times to discuss fast tracking projects.

155. Defendants had a common plan of using SHPD to fast track or stall projects for political reasons, often violating state statutes, state administrative rules, state ethics, professional archeological standards, and/or Hawaiian cultural values.

If the plaintiff is able to prove any or all of these allegations, then it will be interesting to see if Awana implicates Governor Lingle in any of this. Lots of other interesting nuggets throughout that lawsuit, too, for those of you with a spare hour to kill.