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State auditor says Hawaii Tourism Authority has been wasteful with state funds

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HONOLULU -

The State auditor says the Hawaii Tourism Authority has been wasteful with state funds, and in many cases disregarded its own policies and contracts. 

The HTA is tasked with promoting tourism in Hawaii but the state auditor found that reimbursements made to AEG, the company managing the Hawaii Convention Center, were excessive.

“They reimbursed AEG for high end hotels, extravagant meals at places like Morimoto’s and Alan Wongs,” state auditor Leslie Kondo said. “Things that their contract specifically prohibited. HTA reimbursed AEG over $50,000 for first class air travel.”

Kondo says these findings go back to 2013,  so things may have changed under new HTA management.

HTA Board Chair Rick Fried believes things are improving with the new management, but acknowledges some of the past spending was wasteful.

“In general I think that’s something no one could disagree with,” Fried said. “I agree there could have been better accountability.”

Kondo recommends that HTA tightens up their policies.