Council member may have conflict of interest

I am a Southern California resident whose family frequently vacations in Maui.

I have been following the progress of Maui County’s case involving the injection wells currently before the Supreme Court and its County Council’s actions with regard to settling this case. California has a vested interest in the outcome of this case because rulings by the 9th Circuit govern California.

I was surprised to learn that one of the council members, Tamara Paltin, who has voted to settle the case, allegedly was on the board and/or an officer of one of the plaintiffs that brought this suit and remained so while campaigning for office in 2018. If proven true, this is a gross conflict of interest.

Ms. Paltin’s prior position and involvement with a plaintiff demonstrates that she is biased and had already taken a position on the issue long before any vote. For instance, during her campaign, when she was allegedly a director and/or officer of one of the plaintiffs, she is cited on the Maui Sierra Club site opposing the county’s position in the litigation. (See: mauisierraclub.org/enough-already-lahaina-lawsuit/). She had an “organizational responsibility” with a plaintiff — board member /officer — and a documented strong personal bias to one position, creating an impermissible conflict of interest.

Additionally, did Paltin discuss the case with plaintiffs’ lawyers without corporation counsel present? If proven true, she should not be voting in this matter and should immediately recuse herself.

Chris Arndt

Long Beach, Calif.


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