Kahala condo owners sue over conversion law
The city is accused of breaching its contract by refusing to execute a still-legal process
A group of Kahala homeowners seeking to acquire the land under their condos has sued the city, alleging that their efforts are being derailed by a proposed bill before the City Council.
Attorneys for Kathleen Hsiung and nearly three dozen residents at 4999 Kahala Ave. filed suit in Circuit Court yesterday, contending that the city breached its contract with applicants who are going through the lease-to-fee conversion process.
The City Council is expected to vote tomorrow on a bill that would repeal Chapter 38, the ordinance passed in 1991 to help leasehold owner-occupants gain title to the land under their units.
Last week, the Council's Executive Matters Committee passed the bill with an amendment that would halt any leasehold conversions that had not received City Council approval. Councilman Charles Djou has proposed an amendment, yet to be heard, that would allow conversions still pending to continue.
The Kahala plaintiffs are asking the court to order the city to comply with the terms of their contracts. They are also seeking damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
Plaintiffs attorney Martin Anderson had said last week that the bill as amended does not protect those currently going through the process.
The homeowners say they have spent money on legal fees and costs and paid the city $1,000 as part of its contract to comply with the terms of Chapter 38.
City spokesman Bill Brennan said city officials could not comment yesterday because they had not seen the lawsuit.
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/01/25/news/index.html