Kahle v. One Love Ministries

To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at ADFmedia.org.
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Description:  Two atheists have falsely accused two Hawaii churches represented by Alliance Defending Freedom of defrauding the government in a lawsuit filed in state court. The lawsuit claims the churches committed fraud by paying substandard rent to the public schools in which they meet even though the school districts themselves agree that the churches have consistently paid all agreed-upon rents. The atheists, Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber, filed their suit under the state’s False Claims Act. The law allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors; however, the lawsuit fails to cite a single instance in which the churches submitted a false statement to defraud the government. The existence of a false claim is a necessary element of a False Claims Act complaint. Kahle and Huber also fail to meet several other requirements of the law.


ADF: Hawaii court should dismiss frivolous lawsuit against Oahu churches

ADF attorneys available to media after oral arguments
Thursday, May 18, 2017

WHO:  ADF Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus and ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley
WHAT:  Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Kahle v. One Love Ministries
WHEN:  Friday, May 19, immediately following hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. HST
WHERE:  Intermediate Court of Appeals, Supreme Court Courtroom, Ali’iolani Hale, 417 S. King St., Honolulu

HONOLULU – Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus and Senior Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews Friday following oral arguments at the Intermediate Court of Appeals of the State of Hawaii in a case concerning their motion to dismiss a lawsuit against two Oahu churches. Two atheists falsely accused the two churches of defrauding the government—merely for being included among all the community groups that are allowed to use empty school buildings after hours.

ADF attorneys and James Hochberg, an ADF-allied attorney in Honolulu, represent two Oahu churches, One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu, against a baseless lawsuit claiming that the churches defrauded the state by violating Hawaii’s False Claims Act.

“Churches who serve the neediest in their communities should be welcomed, not driven out by false accusations,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus, who will argue on their behalf before the court. “The claims in this baseless lawsuit are entirely false and are driven by an atheistic agenda that is hostile to churches. The facts and evidence show that these churches were at all times truthful and that they have made all required payments to the schools. No one benefits from this suit except the two atheists bringing it, who stand to gain financially if they are successful.”

In 2013, the atheists, Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber, filed their original lawsuit, Kahle v. New Hope International Ministries, with Hawaii’s Circuit Court of the First Circuit under the state’s False Claims Act. The law allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors; however, the lawsuit fails to cite a single instance in which the churches submitted a false statement to defraud the government.  Additionally, the churches have made substantial contributions to the schools through donated improvements and volunteer time exceeding what was required under law. For example, during the several years that One Love Ministries rented Kaimuki High School, the church community provided mentoring of Kaimuiki students; performed landscaping and maintenance of the school campus; replaced the floor of the auditorium stage; invested in remodeling all of the campus bathrooms; and removed graffiti from the school on a weekly basis, among other enhancements.

“These churches have not only made all of the required rent payments, they’ve sacrificially given much more in service and funding to the schools and communities they love,” added ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “We are hopeful that the appeals court will dismiss this lawsuit that never should have been brought in the first place.”

ADF’s motion to dismiss on behalf of the two churches explained that Kahle and Huber “have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because they have not alleged and cannot allege that there were any false claims by One Love or Calvary Chapel. Because the existence of a false claim is a necessary element of a [bona fide] complaint, and because [Kahle’s and Huber’s] allegations, even if taken as true, demonstrate that no false claim exists (or can exist), their Complaint must be dismissed.” The trial court originally ruled to dismiss the lawsuit, but due to conflicting federal law covering the same issue, the court allowed the atheists to amend their original complaint. In 2014, the two churches filed an appeal of the trial court’s decision to allow the atheists’ baseless lawsuit to proceed.

“Since then, while the churches are still serving the ‘ohana of Hawaii, Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber years ago moved away to Michigan,” added co-counsel James Hochberg of Honolulu—among the nearly 3,200 allied attorneys with ADF.
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Galus (GAL’-us), Hochberg (HOAK’-burg)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
# # # | Ref. 41684

Additional resources: Kahle v. One Love Ministries

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Previous news releases:

  • 2014-12-09: Oahu churches seek dismissal of atheist lawsuit
  • 2014-05-27: Court guts renewed lawsuit against Oahu churches
  • 2014-05-23: ADF to Hawaii court: Dismiss renewed attack on churches
  • 2014-02-13: ADF will continue vigorous defense of Hawaii churches
  • 2014-01-10: Hawaii churches prevail against atheists’ baseless lawsuit
  • 2013-12-18: Hawaii churches in court Thursday to seek dismissal of atheists’ baseless lawsuit
  • 2013-10-10: Hawaii churches ask court to dismiss atheists’ baseless lawsuit

Commentary:

  • Jordan Lorence: Phony allegations against Hawaii churches dangerous for all (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 2017-05-18)

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.