The Haiku Community Association board essentially disbanded during a
meeting in May when five board members resigned and a vote was taken to
oust a sixth. Several association officers said they stepped down to
protest a letter that questioned their authority to endorse a proposed
Haiku fire station and municipal complex.
When announced, the meeting on Thursday was described as a community
meeting to organize a new board for the Haiku Community Association.
But at the meeting, it was quickly emphasized that the gathering at
Haiku Community Center was not an association function, but just a
community meeting to discuss what to do in the aftermath of the board
Maui County Council Member Mike Molina and state Rep. Mele Carroll,
whose 13th District includes Haiku, both encouraged the 75 to 100
residents at the meeting to unite and settle their differences.
Carroll said she was “brokenhearted” to hear about the association’s
dispute. “I hope we can all come together as a community,” she said.
Thursday night’s meeting opened with facilitator Mike Gagne providing
highlights of the association’s 30-year history, including its
accomplishments from coordinating the annual Ho’olaulea and sponsoring
the Haiku Living Legacy project to record old-timers’ memories of
growing up in the community.
Gagne then called up attorney Lance Collins, who at the request of
former and current board members provided his legal opinion about the
status of the association’s board.
After reading the association’s three-page bylaws and state statutes
that govern nonprofit corporations such as the Haiku Community
Association, Collins said only three board members remain – Nick
Nikhilananda (who did not resign), Ramon Mullen (whose resignation was
not official because of his absence at the May meeting) and Lloyd
Fischel, who had been voted off in May by the other board members.
The procedure through which Fischel was voted out did not comply with
notice requirements in the state law and therefore was not valid,
according to Collins.
Nikhilananda was the only member present at Thursday’s meeting and
pledged at its conclusion that he would get a hold of the other two
members (Mullen currently resides in California but reportedly is to
return to Maui shortly) and appoint new board members “as soon as
The association needs to have at least five board members to have a
quorum for an official meeting. On Thursday, community members
nominated 14 possible names for interim board members until a new
election is held at its annual meeting in January.
Fischel was not present at Thursday night’s meeting, but he sent a
representative to read a statement that explained that his absence was
intentional so as not to constitute a quorum of the present board or
even give an appearance that the meeting was a valid session of the
Haiku Community Association.
Fischel’s representative, Christine Sebrado, was not allowed to read
all of Fischel’s statement. Mike Gagne, the community meeting
facilitator, said he would not allow people to denigrate others.
Contacted on Friday, Fischel said he planned to be involved in the
process of appointing an interim board. He also said he intends to
continue coordinating a planned candidates forum for October and being
involved in setting up the association’s annual meeting, election and
officer appointments in January.
Fischel said he became aware of his official status on the board about
two weeks ago after reading a legal opinion from Collins. The attorney
told community members he refused to advocate for any one board member
but agreed to provide legal advice to all of them.
“I want to thank Lance Collins for his efforts to ensure the community
association follows state law and its own bylaws,” Fischel said.
In response to a question from the audience, Collins said there was
nothing prohibiting the community from forming a new association or
community group. In the end, residents chose to provide nominations for
interim board members and to go forward with keeping the Haiku
Community Association intact.
The association’s former treasurer Tim Wolfe turned over to
Nikhilananda the association’s mailbox key and a check for $1,568.10.
There also are plans to hand over operation of the association’s Web
site and its records to the remaining board members.
Other suggestions made at Thursday’s meeting included getting training
on laws and board operations for board members and filing for
tax-exempt status for the association.
The association’s immediate past President Gregg Blue said he was happy
about Thursday night’s turnout and that it seemed like an interim board
would be appointed soon. That will make it possible, according to Blue,
for the association to “get back on the road to serving the community.”
Claudine San Nicolas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.