Disclosure Bill Sparks Resignation of Two UH Regents

The regents cited a new law that would require them to make their financial interests public.

·By Alia Wong

Two members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have resigned because of a bill passed this year that would require them to make their financial disclosures public.

John Dean, the president and CEO of Central Pacific Bank, and Saedene Ota, a business owner and graphics designer, submitted their letters of resignation to Gov. Neil Abercrombie earlier this month. Dean did so on June 12 and Ota on Thursday. (See the letters below.)

Both of them cited Senate Bill 2682 as their reasons for resigning. The “good government” measure, which was passed unanimously by the Legislature, would add 15 state boards and commissions, including the 15-member UH Board of Regents, to the list of government officials and agency members required to publicize their financial disclosures.

John Dean, right, resigned his seat on the UH Board of Regents. He is pictured on June 2, 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat


The goal of the legislation is to give the media and the public the opportunity to determine whether members might face a potential conflict when their financial interests and public duties overlap. The 15 boards and commissions already share their financial disclosures with the Ethics Commission, but those documents aren’t made public.

The bill caused a good deal of consternation among regents when it was being considered by lawmakers earlier this year, prompting the board to write a letter to Abercrombie asking him to veto it. And Dean, whose term in his Honolulu seat was set to expire in 2017, stated in May that he would resign if the bill passed.


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