State briefs for April 11

Gabbard reaches donor threshold to qualify for debate

WASHINGTON — Tulsi Gabbard says her 2020 presidential campaign reached the donor threshold to qualify for the Democratic debates that begin in June.

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The U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii said in a video posted Wednesday night on Twitter that her campaign collected contributions from at least 65,000 donors, ensuring her participation in the first two Democratic debates.

Candidates can also reach the stage by receiving 1 percent support in three reputable national or early nominating state polls.

Gabbard is among at least 18 Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination.

Maui’s top legal official resigns after abuse arrest

WAILUKU, Maui — The top legal official for Maui County resigned amid protests about his arrest on a domestic abuse charge, according to reports.

Maui County Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong had a press conference Tuesday to announce his resignation without providing a reason.

His announcement came about a month after he was charged in Wailuku with abuse of a household member, reports said.

The resignation also came a day after protesters confronted Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino on the University of Hawaii Maui College campus and demanded he fire Wong, reports said.

Victorino accepted Wong’s resignation after reviewing the results of the police investigation that led the state attorney general’s office to decline prosecution of Wong, he said.

The attorney general’s office said it decided to drop the abuse charge against Wong earlier this month.

“The decision to decline prosecution of Patrick Wong was made after a careful review of all available evidence related to the incident,” said Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to the state attorney general.

Victorino nominated Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey, an 18-year veteran of the office, to replace Wong.

Church: Property should not be sold to pay abuse claims

HAGATNA, Guam — The Catholic Church in Guam does not agree its parishes and schools should be sold to settle more than 200 clergy sexual abuse claims, according to officials.

That statement by the Archdiocese of Agana on Tuesday was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

The lawsuit includes a list of Catholic schools, parishes, shelters, cars, cemeteries and a shelter for battered women that the creditors think should be considered archdiocese property and liable for sale.

Parishes and schools are not owned by the archdiocese, but rather held in trust, and the “trust relationship is well established” and supported by Guam’s “corporation sole” statute, said Ford Elsaesser, a bankruptcy counsel for the archdiocese.

The archdiocese thinks the trust relationship is consistent with case law and canon law within the church, Elsaesser said.

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The disputed properties include the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna, which is valued at $9.5 million, and the St. Anthony Church and School in Tamuning, valued at $6.2 million, the creditors committee said.

All other Catholic schools and parishes also are on the disputed list, the committee said.

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