HILO, Hawaii – During a Monday pre-hearing conference prior to the start of the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case, hearing officer Judge Riki May Amano (ret.) asked several long-standing participants about the sudden withdrawal of their lawyer, Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman, just days before the start of the hearing.
Amano in particular wanted to make sure the hui of original petitioners represented by Wurdeman – Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, KAHEA, Paul Neves, the Flores-Case ‘Ohana, Deborah Ward, and Clarence Kukauakahi Ching – had consented to the drop out. Although most asserted attorney-client privilege in their answer, some petitioners said they were surprised by the turn of events but suggested Wurdeman had their support.
Most of the original petitioners will now continue pro se, with the exception of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, which will now be represented by Yuklin Aluli and Dexter K. Kaiama.
The actual hearing is set to begin on Thursday, October 20. It is being held at the Naniloa Hotel Crown Room on Banyan Drive in Hilo.