HPP Owners Association general manager sues board member

The general manager of the Hawaiian Paradise Park Owners Association is suing one of the subdivision’s board members, alleging she “published untrue and defamatory statements” about him.

The civil suit was filed by attorney Steve Strauss on Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court on behalf of Donald Morris and names Leslie Blyth and unnamed “Doe” defendants, seeking unspecified monetary damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

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According to the complaint, on Dec. 11, 2018, Blyth “published written, non-privileged statements to third persons that defamed” Morris.

Those statements include, according to the filing: “The GM was playing a shell game with expenditure accounts of the financial reports”; “Fact, there has never been a real accounting of the expenditures with documentation …”; “We have already got evidence that the GM has no problem in hiring questionable vendors, skirting regulations …”; “allowing the GM to spend $1,500.00 per day with no oversight is criminal”; and “I sincerely believe that at best the project was mismanaged and at worst includes misappropriation.”

The project Blyth allegedly referred to isn’t specified in the lawsuit.

Morris, according to the suit, “is informed and believes and thereon alleges that, in bad faith … Blyth published her untrue and defamatory statements as part of her years-long, continuing effort to try to terminate (Morris’) employment with HPPOA.”

The suit also states Blyth and the Doe defendants “published the defamatory statements to HPPOA’s directors, officers, employees and members and the community at large.” It also alleges Blyth and the Doe defendants “knew, had reason to believe or should have known that the defamatory statements regarding the nature and subject of (Morris’) work performance and honesty were highly suspect and lacked credibility.”

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Strauss didn’t return a phone call Monday in time for this story. The Tribune-Herald was unable to contact Blyth, and no record of her being served with the lawsuit appears on the Hawaii Judiciary website.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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