Honolulu mayor names Horner’s replacement on HART board of directors

Colbert Matsumoto (KHON2 File)

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Wednesday who will fill the vacant seat on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) board of directors.

Colbert Matsumoto will attend his first board meeting on Thursday and serve the remaining term of former member Don Horner until June 30, 2020.

Horner resigned last week amid controversy over spiraling costs and claims of mismanagement.

While Matsumoto has Horner’s seat, the board has yet to vote on a new chair.

Matsumoto currently serves as executive chairman of the board of Island Insurance Ltd. He was also a private practice attorney for 20 years.

Caldwell cited Matsumoto’s “strong record of success dealing with difficult situations” as the reason for his appointment.

“He positively helped shape Kamehameha Schools’ future as the Court Master during their very difficult transition in the late 1990s,” Caldwell explained. “As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System, he helped secure state and city workers’ retirements by beginning to pay down the unfunded liability in the retirement system. Under Colbert’s leadership, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii went from near bankruptcy to solvency. A leader in our business community, he understands the bottom line as an executive for Island Insurance. On behalf of the City and County of Honolulu, I thank Colbert for volunteering to help steer the rail project towards greater fiscal responsibility.”

“This is a challenging time for HART but I look forward to working with the other directors to restore public confidence in the project,” said Matsumoto. “HART’s role in shaping Honolulu’s future needs to be responsibly undertaken with transparency and accountability by all involved. I hope to contribute to achieving that outcome.”

Caldwell also reappointed former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa to a full term on the board. Her current term was set to expire on June 30, and she will now serve an additional five-year term until June 30, 2021.

“Colleen Hanabusa already has proven her effectiveness on the HART Board of Directors by asking detailed questions and demanding accurate figures in light of the financial challenges facing the rail project,” said Caldwell. “She raised red flags when she discovered that projections had increased beyond what had been presented to the people of Oahu. She’s a strong advocate for taxpayers who are funding this project.”

“Serving on HART has been about serving the people of the City and County of Honolulu,” said Hanabusa. “It is about ensuring the public’s trust, the trust of the City Council, the Legislature, and the Mayor. It is to build and maintain confidence in the project. It is also about presenting the hard work of the staff of HART so the public can be assured that their interest is protected.”

Read Caldwell’s nomination letters to the city council here.

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