Maui Ecologists Wrong
Life of the Land Apologizes
Suit Against Them Dropped

Maui Ecologists Wrong

A Maui construction company dropped its $150,000 damage suit against the Life of the Land ecology organization.

According to E.T. Ige Construction, Inc., the suit was withdrawn after a Life of the Land officer apologized for an "untruthful statement" about the firm.

The suit, filed May 25 in Second Circuit Court in Wailuku, had charged that Life of the Land untruthfully accused Ige Construction of selling public sand from the Kealia Pond area to Maui Concrete & Aggregates.

Defendants in the suit were Baldwin High School teacher Leslie Skillings, an officer of Life of the Land; Michael Cleveland, attorney for the group; the Life of the Land association, and various unnamed members of the group.

In a letter of retraction, Skillings apologized for accusing Ige of selling sand to Maui Concrete. He said his accusation "appears to have been unwarranted."

In his letter, however, Skillings said "it is clear that the Ige trucks were engaged in the illegal removal of sand from the Kealia area..."

The sand removal was discontinued after the County of Maui and the State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources determined that Ige Construction had no permit to take the sand. The sand was being tracked to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project at Kalama Park.

According to Skillings, his letter of retraction was delivered to the offices of Crockett and Crockett, attorneys for Ige, shortly after 4 p.m. on May 25. Ige's damage suit was recorded as being filed in Circuit Court at 4:37 p.m. that same day.

In a statement announcing its withdrawal of the damage suit, the construction said that,

"Since Mr Skillings has publicly admitted and apologized for his untruthful statement that Ige Construction sold sand taken from Kealia Pond to Maui Concrete & Aggregates, Ige Construction will dismiss its libel suit against Mr. Skillings and Life of the Land. We hope hereafter Mr. Skillings and Life of the Land, in their zealous efforts to protect the environment of Maui, will publish statements more carefully and with due respect for the rights of others."

According to the statement, Ige Construction was directed by the Corps of Engineers to remove sand from the Kealia Pond area for use in the Kalama Park project.

"Mr. Skillings wants the County Attorney to prosecute Ige Construction for doing what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers required. Ige Construction would welcome any such court action, for it would be able to defend itself against the baseless charges Mr. Skillings and Life of the Land continue to make about the removal of sand from Kealia Pond for the Kalama Park project."

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