New Hope Church defends school rentalUPDATED 7:40 PM HST Sep 11, 2013Video Transcript
The New Hope Church is on a mission to clear its name after being accused of skimping on its rent. A recent lawsuit claims New Hope is underpaying schools for using their facilities... The church has its own take! KITV-4's Catherine Cruz joins us now with the LATEST developments. A legal challenge brought by a watchdog group bent on the separation of church and state has sent shockwaves in the community. Now the church is doing some damage control of its own. New Hope is now broadcasting this television ad. - 3 :--0 3:15 - Rent for one year $300,000. Upgrades and improvements 1.7 million dollars supporting Hawaii's children and community priceless.... Touting its support for Hawaii's schools and children.. On the heels of a whistleblower lawsuit--filed by Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber. The complaint alleges that the churches underpaid the public schools for use of their facilities. We asked department of education officials if it could back up or dispute the churches claims-- In theory, the DOE SHOULD be able to... Especially if the donations top 5- thousand dollars.. - Ray 1: 16- 1:36 - "We preach to our principals you have to record everything. When you specifically talk about 3rd party use of facilties as well, everything has to record. There has to be a paper trail and a solid data of all funds either going into the school from gift- in-kind or or leasing the space," But they don't have it! They were unable to provide us with ANYTHING. No accounting. No list of donations. Still... Ray L'Heureux maintains schools shouldnt be giving special priviledges to any one group and everyone should be treated fairly across the board. Then there's Farrington high school. New Hope has been renting space there for decades, despite a 5-year limit spelled out by the attorney general. Recently, that language disappeared from lease forms! - 3:25- 3:30 - It didn't make sense and again it was linked to an old case in New Jersey." H'Leureux said the change was made after consulting with the attorney general but no new opinion was issued. Meanwhile New Hope church says it planning a news conference to talk about its efforts to get the lawsuit dismissed. The church is now looking at buying land for a permanent facility and expects to share more about exactly where-- with it's congregation this month. Meanwhile it's still not clear WHEN the DOE might be able to give us an accounting of the church's donations.