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A step-by-step anatomy of a tragedy

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Friday, January 19, 1996

Hilbert Smith and his attorney, Ken Carlson, contended Smithwas not delinquent on his lease because he was makingpayments to an escrow account authorized by the courts, butnever recognized by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.Smith offered to pay off his loan last year, but the agency said itwas too late. His homestead history:

June 29, 1977
Smith was granted a $25,000 DHHL loan withmonthly payments of $206 due for 25 years.

May 28, 1982
A contested-case hearing was held after Smithfailed to maintain the loan payment schedule. He was ordered tomake payments.

Sept. 6, 1984
The entire delinquent amount was ordered paid byOct. 5.

Oct. 6, 1984
The department ordered him to vacate by Dec. 5.

Smith and the other lessees sued the Department ofHawaiian Home Lands over construction defects.

July 5, 1985
Smith requested that his payment schedule bemodified. A state judge granted a stay of the department'srepossession request.

Dec. 20, 1985
The Hawaiian Homes Commission approvedSmith's request to temporarily adjust his payment from $206 to$10.

April 1986
His monthly payment was increased to $175 after adepartment review of his financial status.

Nov. 29, 1988
An out-of-court agreement was reached abouthomesteaders' claims of defective construction, with claimsdismissed or settled.

Smith appealed another effort to evict him. The stateSupreme Court ruled in his favor because he was not affordeddue process.

July 30, 1993
The commission canceled his lease and orderedhim to vacate by Sept. 30. He had 30 days to appeal but took 44days to do so.

Jan. 10, 1994
A state judge dismissed his appeal.

March 10, 1995
He appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Count.

March 10, 1995
The high court dismissed the appeal, and ruledthe Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the originalappeal.

March 31, 1995
Smith requested a 30-day extension to vacate.

April 13, 1995
The department gave him 10 days to move out.

Dec. 8, 1995
Kauai District Court granted the departmentpossession.

Jan. 5, 1996
The court issued a writ of possession.

See related article: Smith loved, hated Hawaiian Home

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