Two days after announcing his retirement, the head of the IBEW Local 1260 has changed his mind.
Business manager Brian Ahakuelo announced Thursday that he is rescinding retirement plans. It’s also the same day the union laid out the allegations against him.
“The news stories. The news media and how they’ve painted me out to be a kind of demon out there. It’s not true,” he told KHON2.
Ahakuelo said he does not want to retire under a dark cloud that he’s done something wrong. Last week, Ahakuelo and other staff members were put on paid administrative leave while the international union conducts an audit.
He also announced he’s running for the position of vice president of the Ninth District, which encompasses the western region of the U.S.
“I need to make sure that I am not painted out to be a demon, because I have not done anything wrong. Anything,” he said. “Everything I’ve done was for the members, always for the members.”
Ahakuelo says the allegations against him are fabricated lies.
“What did you tell your members who have lost confidence?” KHON2 asked.
“What I tell my members that have lost confidence? Don’t lose confidence,” he said. “We’re in the best financial position that this local union has ever been in, ever in the history in the 75 years we’ve been around, so I know that I’ve done my job.”
There will be a hearing in two weeks to determine if the local office should continue to be under trusteeship by its international office, which began last week when the union members were put on administrative leave.
According to the Notice of Hearing on Trusteeship of L.U. 1260:
The allegations supporting ratification and continuation of International Charge are as follows, and the issues at the hearing will be whether the International Charge should be ratified and continued based on such allegations:
1. The Business Manager and other members of the staff, including several family members of the Business Manager, submitted and/or were reimbursed for numerous expenses that were not authorized by Local 1260 and/or were for personal expenses for which no legitimate union business was conducted. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Article X of the Local’s Bylaws. These expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Meals for Business Manager’s daughter and her family on March 10, 2014
- Airfare to Las Vegas and return on May 21, 2014 to June 24, 2014 for Business Manager’s spouse
- Airfare to Las Vegas and return on October 23 to October 28, 2014 for Business Manager’s spouse
- Airfare to Miami and to Las Vegas and return on October 19 through 28, 2014, for Business Manager
- Hotel in Las Vegas for Business Manager on October 28, 2014
- Airfare from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and return to Honolulu on November 13, 2014 through January 5, 2015 for Business Manager’s spouse
- Airfare from Honolulu to Washington D.C. and return on November 22, 2014 to December 1, 2015;
- Airfare for Business Manager from Honolulu to Washington, D.C. and return to Honolulu on December 22, 2014 through January 5, 2015 for Business Manager
- Hotel and meal charges for Business Manager and others in Crystal City, Virginia on March 19, 2015 and New York City on March 19-22, 2015
- Business Manager’s purchase of airline miles in July 2015
- Food and lodging expenses incurred at the Sheraton, Gateway in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 3, 4, and 5, 2015
- Taxi expenses incurred in Las Vegas, NV on August 29, 2015
- Gas, meal and taxi expenses incurred in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV on September 2 and 4, 2015
- Hotel expenses for Edgardo Rivera in November 2015
- Gas, meal, and hotel expenses incurred in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV in February and March 2016
- Airfare from Honolulu to Las Vegas on various dates from November 21, 2015 through January 9, 2016 for Business Manager, Business Manager’s spouse, Business Manager’s son, Business Manager’s daughter-in-law, Business Manager’s daughter, Business Manager’s son-in-law, as well as Business Manager’s nephew and his girlfriend
- Rental car in Las Vegas in December 2015 and January 2016 (paid on January 3, 2016) for Business Manager’s son
- Meals in Las Vegas on February 26-28, 2016 for Business Manager’s daughter-in-law
- Airfare for seven (7) members of Business Manager’s family who are not employed by Local 1260, from June 14 to June 21, 2016, to attend the scheduled 75th Anniversary Celebration for Local 1260.
2. Job titles and salaries of employees are not in accordance with the Local’s by-laws. Wages paid to employees of Local 1260, including family members of the Business Manager, exceed the amount authorized in Local 1260’s Bylaws and personnel policies. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Article VI of the Local’s Bylaws;
3. Without authorization, on or about April 19, 2016, Local 1260 paid the remaining balance of over $24,000 on a bank loan for a truck owned by the Business Manager’s spouse, an employee of the Local Union, and transferred ownership to the Local Union. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Article X of the Local’s Bylaws.
4. The Business Manager and his spouse each took unauthorized paid leave in 2015 and 2016 without counting any such leave as vacation, and even if such was counted as vacation leave, it exceeded that which was allowed under Local 1260’s policies. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Article X of the Local’s Bylaws, as well as the Local’s personnel policies and employee benefits;
5. The Business Manager submitted a credit card receipt for expenses incurred on March 9, 2016, and indicated on that receipt that persons were present who in fact were not present. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Article X of the Local’s Bylaws;
6. Employees of Local 1260 who are not authorized to have an automobile furnished to them by Local 1260 have been furnished with a Local 1260 vehicle. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Articles VI and X of the Local’s Bylaws;
7. Local 1260 is employing as Chief of Staff an individual who is the son of the Business Manager and who may be prohibited by federal law from being employed by the local union under Section 504 of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 504 due to a plea to a deferred acceptance of nolo contendere to unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle;
8. Local 1260 used union assets to pay for the legal defense of the son of the Business Manager in connection with the criminal matter set forth above in paragraph no. 7;
9. The Business Manager unilaterally, without proper authorization, amended the Local’s personnel policies and benefits in a manner that was intended to personally benefit the Business Manager and members of his family. Such conduct is in violation of, among others, Art. XVIII of the IBEW Constitution and Article X of the Local’s Bylaws;
10. Included within the amended personnel policies and benefits that were amended by the Business Manager is a new vacation policy that is in direct conflict with Article VI, Section 7 of the Local’s bylaws. The new policy allows for employees to cash out 52 weeks of accumulated vacation time, whereas the bylaws provide that vacation time shall not be accumulated. The Local also changed, without proper authorization, the service time required for purposes of determining vacation leave benefits from time as an employee of the Local to time as a member of the Local;
11. The Business Manager granted paid time off in a manner that was inconsistent with the Local’s bylaws and personnel policies, by granting “administrative leave” days in which the Business Manager would authorize absences without charging leave; and
12. Local 1260’s system of approving disbursements is in violation of Article VIII of the IBEW Constitution by, for example, including but not limited to, treating as standing bills disbursements that are not for regular or standing bills.