Final payments made in queen’s celebration grant

Nearly $37,000 of $100,000 returned to the general fund

The Maui News

The county Office of Economic Development announced Monday that it will be closing the books on the grant for the 250th Celebration of Queen Ka’ahumanu, which the county took over from an executive assistant for Council Member Alika Atay.

The $100,000 grant, introduced by Atay and awarded to Brian Bardellini for March events celebrating the queen’s birthday, had come under scrutiny by the county administration and Maui County Council. In October, the county terminated the contract award and announced it would take over reviews and payments of $46,000 in outstanding receipts owed to vendors. The rest of the money already had been disbursed.

The Office of Economic Development said that Bardellini failed to verify and detail receipts and to provide bank statements. Some expenditures were disallowed, including a $3,500 oil painting, a rental car for a Maui resident and $5,000 to a Los Angeles marketing expert. The agency also asked for explanations regarding hotel rooms for Maui residents, first-class plane tickets for guests and thousands of dollars in promotional work for the one-time event.

Some vendors complained about not being reimbursed for services provided for the event.

After putting out public notices for requests for payments for unpaid invoices in October, the Office of Economic Development said that it received a total of $8,730.28 in requests for payments.

Of the requests received, nine were from individual vendors in Hana, and the other submissions came from a graphic designer and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, the agency said. All payment requests were verified and processed for reimbursement.

Payments will be sent out by the Department of Finance within the next two weeks, the agency said.

“It was important to us to close out this grant before the end of Mayor (Alan) Arakawa’s term,” said Office of Economic Development Director Teena Rasmussen. “We made a promise to the vendors that they would be paid for their services, so we are satisfied to have finally brought closure to them and to the community at large.”

After paying the vendors, there is a balance of $36,693.42 in the grant that will be disencumbered at the end of December and returned to the county general fund, the agency said.

For more information, contact the Office of Economic Development at 270-7710 or economic.development@mauicounty.gov.

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