Kaiser JV girls basketball coach dismissed

Kaiser junior varsity girls basketball head coach Jaime Nerona has been dismissed for undisclosed reasons, according to Department of Education spokesperson Lindsay Chambers.

Under the DOE’s privacy policy, school officials, including athletic directors and principals, are not allowed to discuss personnel details.

The dismissal is the latest in a string of controversy at Kaiser. Simon Bitanga, the varsity girls basketball head coach, was put on leave before being reinstated late in the recently completed season in which the Cougars made it to the state Division I semifinals. Bitanga was the focus of two investigations by the DOE stemming from parent complaints. According to Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World sources, Bitanga was reinstated after the first investigation was completed. At that time, no disciplinary measures — in addition to the leave — were taken.

The second investigation was recently completed, according to Chambers, who added somewhat contradictorily that the DOE is still in the process of “wrapping it up.”

Typically, when DOE investigations of this sort are complete, the paperwork is forwarded to the school’s principal, which in this case is Kaiser’s Justin Mew.

Mew has declined comment and has referred all queries to Chambers.


  1. Rams33 March 30, 2016 6:06 am

    Of course as long as all of this is anonymous internet posters, none of this should be thought of as proof or evidence. But if evidence of wrong doing actually exists I hope some of these folks have the guts to come forward to present it.

  2. Paul Honda March 30, 2016 7:38 am

    Interesting. If this is public information, where did you find it?

    I also find it interesting that someone or a faction is so genuinely and purposefully intent on possibly slandering any coach(es). That’s a risk for anyone posting online regardless of hidden identification.

    Again, I’m available for direct communication. Just want the facts.

  3. Cougar Nation March 30, 2016 8:29 am

    Mr. Honda, thank you for the response. The pricing and use of facilities can be found on the DOE Webpage: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ConnectWithUs/Organization/SchoolFacilities/Pages/Use-of-school-facilities.aspx

    It doesn’t take rocket science to know that Kaiser isn’t charging Coach SImon the going rate and are breaking rules. It explicitly states that all non-sanctioned DOE events are subject to the rates listed on the use of facility pay schedule based on the facility used.

    It’s simple math. His Eastsidaz league is not a DOE event, it’s a club basketball league. He charges teams around $450-$550. If you add in the fees he should be paying to use Kaiser, ref fees, and other fees, he would need about 60-70 teams just to break even.

    This is not libel or slander since it is easily proven. The DOE has record of payments for auditing purposes. If you match it up with dates where there are club games at the Kaiser Gym I am pretty confident it will not match. I hope the athletic department never gets audited.

  4. Kool A March 30, 2016 10:03 am

    Slander huh? The definition of slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

    Does false TRO’s placed on families fall into the category of slander?

    What we have here, are concerns that need to be addressed. Some are true, I have witnessed the verbal abuse, I know coaches that have received text messages banning players, I know of players using the coaches address.

    Nick Abramo is doing a fantastic job with this story. The truth NEVER changes.

  5. Cougar Nation March 30, 2016 11:06 am

    Rams33 March 30, 2016 at 6:06 am
    Of course as long as all of this is anonymous internet posters, none of this should be thought of as proof or evidence. But if evidence of wrong doing actually exists I hope some of these folks have the guts to come forward to present it.

    Many police departments around the US act on anonymous tips. If it sounds credible and there are enough of them, then sometimes it’s enough to look into. I am sure the paper could get to the bottom of it if they really wanted to.

    All they would need to do is send out an email asking for questions and cc the superintendent, complex area superintendent, head of communications, the 3 news channels, and Kaiser principal, vp, and ad. Then it would not be swept under the rug since there would not be a paper trail.

    I am sure this won’t happen though.

  6. Rams33 March 30, 2016 11:28 am

    Sure police follow tips and allow their sources to remain anonymous but they’re not following tips from truly anonymous internet posters. If someone wants the paper to put their neck on the line they’re going to have to step up and provide direct personal contact and evidence in a manner that can be traced and trusted. Sure the source can negotiate that their name be left out of it in the end, but there’s no reason to take the comments posted in this thread and conclude there’s definitely a story to run with unless a legit source comes forward.

  7. Cougar Nation March 30, 2016 12:03 pm

    Rams33 March 30, 2016 at 11:28 am
    Sure police follow tips and allow their sources to remain anonymous but they’re not following tips from truly anonymous internet posters. If someone wants the paper to put their neck on the line they’re going to have to step up and provide direct personal contact and evidence in a manner that can be traced and trusted. Sure the source can negotiate that their name be left out of it in the end, but there’s no reason to take the comments posted in this thread and conclude there’s definitely a story to run with unless a legit source comes forward.

    So you are saying that a anonymous tip from a person calling from a payphone is more legitimate than one on the internet? How is that so?

    Case in point. With the current UNC grade altering scandal going on now, you do know that some of the info that leaked out which started the ball rolling was posts made on their UNC basketball chatroom talking about Rashad McCants having his grades “allegedly” altered.

    Isn’t that the kind of things going on here? It started with some rumors on the UNC chatroo blog and then it got to the School Admin and the NCAA.

    That sounds very similar to what is going on here regarding internet posting.

  8. Rams33 March 30, 2016 12:31 pm

    Sorry I don’t mean to be totally dismissive, there just needs to be more to go on than what is posted here. You’re right, this could be a starting point, but this seems to be something that will need to be brought directly to the paper if any action is to be taken.

    With regards to comparing this to another chatroom, I’d say this forum has proven to have a propensity for trollish behavior particularly with posters allowed to post under any particular user name at any given time so more scrutiny should be focused on posts here than on a better regulated chat room or forum.

  9. Cougar Nation March 30, 2016 1:36 pm

    I agree with what you are saying. But the links to the DOE use of facility scale and general knowledge of how many teams are in his club league should be more than enough evidence for the newspaper to follow through with.

    Any dollar not paid is a dollar that our kids do not get to use. That alone is insulting.

  10. Justice Seeker March 30, 2016 1:43 pm

    Don’t worry all will come out very shortly. And Justice will be finally served!

  11. Rams33 March 30, 2016 1:58 pm

    But I’ve only seen guesses at what an entry cost for a team might be, no published data or source. Let’s play with the numbers a bit. Assume a 12 team league so 6, 50 minute games in one day, or 5 hours gym time. That works out to around $600 of fees due for the gym rental + ~$300 for refs or $900 for one day’s worth of games for the 12 teams or $75 per team per game in costs. If say the league costs $600 per team, that gives each team 8 games for the league. Maybe a little low number of games, but I hardly see how we have any hard and fast evidence by just throwing out a DOE rental table.

  12. Rams33 March 30, 2016 2:11 pm

    Ok so I was guessing before about game times and total games, but decided to try to search for some info. I don’t immediately find information about current year’s Eastsidaz tournament, but this link shows each team getting 7 games for the season and alloted game time per game is 45 minutes:


    So adjusting my numbers for 45 minute games, let’s say they rent the Kaiser gym in blocks of 3 hours (4 games for 8 teams). Rental cost of the gym for 4 hours is ~$375 + $200 ref fees or $575 per 4 games or $72 per team per game. Multiply that by the listed 7 games and you have a total cost of $503 per team for the league. So this seems to debunk the so-called proof spouted by the other poster.

  13. Cougar Nation March 30, 2016 2:23 pm

    I just talked to my friend. The games last about 45-50 minutes, but you have to also factor in warm up times and transitioning time to the next games. I was told it is scheduled for 50 mins but often runs over time, closer to 60.

    They pay $450 for the younger teams that play like a round robin format that has like 6 teams. The older division pays $550 and they get like 8-9 games total. I believe they pay the refs $40 cash a game and there are 2 refs per game.

    And you are not factoring in they are trying to make a profit.

    I can get you more accurate info later if you want it…

  14. Rams33 March 30, 2016 2:30 pm

    From speaking at refs at rec leagues, they earn I believe $25 per game for rec league or club type games. Maybe as high as $30.

  15. Basketball Watcher March 30, 2016 3:32 pm

    Here is the real deal.

    8 Under – 6 teams
    10 under – 8 teams
    12 under – 10 teams
    14 under – 10 teams
    18 under – 10 teams

    The cost is $375/team. Games are placed into 50 minute blocks, but run near the 1 hour mark. Each team plays around 8-10 games total. Let’s use the 14 under league as the sample. Last year’s Kalakaua team coached by Puni, played a total of 9 game. That’s about $41.67/game per team. Now if you multiply that by 2 teams, that generates about $83.33. And with that $83.33 you are asked to pay for 1 game:

    Gym Rental: $79.00/hour
    Gym Utilities: $28.31/hour
    Custodian Fee: $50/flat rate so let’s say about $10/hour
    2 refs at $30.00 = $60.00

    Per hour rate approximately $177.31/game (using 1 hour blocks)

    Now the DOE is supposed to charge per hour or by the half hour. It will appear on the pay sheet as 6.0 hour or 5.5 hours, etc.

    Even if you use a 50 minute block, they are not generating enough money to pay that regular rate.

    The math doesn’t add up.

  16. Kool A March 30, 2016 4:34 pm

    Thank you, Basketball Watcher.
    The numbers definitely do not lie!

  17. Eastsidaz Parent March 30, 2016 9:18 pm

    Wow, sounds supa shady to me! And where is Action Jackson?

  18. Rad March 31, 2016 1:37 am

    Mr. Honda, this could be the big break that you are looking for. If you crack this case, maybe the TV news will hire you to be their reporter. All kidding aside, You really want a story? Look into the list of things that Kool A listed. I attest to you that if you dig and dig, as a good reporter would do and not rely on others or your “assumptions” you WILL find the truth. I know club teams who uses other high school gyms and they pay full price. Start from there. I know you know all the club teams and where they practice. Start by asking those coaches and the ADs at those high school gyms then you go ask the kaiser AD and principal and see what the differences are. I look forward to reading that story on the advertiser.

  19. Cougar Nation March 31, 2016 7:30 am

    If this was a big city like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, their reporters would be all over this story. They wouldn’t stop digging since someone didn’t answer the phone. They would be consistent. They would be waiting outside the door.

    A story involving allegations of theft, harassment, verbal abuse, teenagers, TRO’s, a coach being suspended, another coach being fired, etc. Yet there is only minimal coverage.

    But then again there is only one paper in Honolulu so there is no competition and the status quo seems the way to go.

  20. Sports Fan March 31, 2016 8:29 am

    Slander? I don’t think so. Abuse and corruption is at most DOE high schools. A club team practices at my local high school and doesnt pay any fees. The AD says nothing.

  21. Rad March 31, 2016 9:26 am

    Well said Cougar Nation! I just want to see our school do the right thing for the students and not keep sweeping violation after violations under the carpet to protect the coaches who should not be coaching.

  22. Cougar Nation March 31, 2016 10:50 am

    I would be surprised if:

    1) The DOE looks into this situation to see if an inppropriate coaching was done or if the correct monies are being paid.

    2) The Kaiser Administration does their due diligence and conducts a thorough investigation.

    3) The Star Advertiser digs deep into this story to find out the truth and people are held accountable to make sure kids are not being exploited, abused, and get the correct monies that should be used for student learning and enrichment.

  23. Jerry Campany March 31, 2016 12:46 pm

    Kool A, Justice seeker, Honest Lee, Stength in numbers, Positive coach, Steph Wong (about five of the nine different people who claim to be Steph Wong), Bye Felicia and Bob the Builder are all from the same IP address.

  24. Rams33 March 31, 2016 12:55 pm

    Not to mention whatever other identities might be tied to mobile devices, etc from this character.

  25. Kool A March 31, 2016 1:19 pm

    I can’t speak for the other names mentioned, but I use my phone which connects to wi-fi as well. The majority of my postings have been while connected to Starbucks wifi. I am not drinking the same juice as those others but it is quite a coincidence. Hey gang I’ll be at Starbucks this evening if you want meet! I’ll be sitting with Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, Steph Wong, and Steph Wong. Not sure who the others are but come meet us! We will be happy to share our coffee.

  26. Positive Coach March 31, 2016 1:33 pm

    Jerry Campany…I have also used wifi at Starbucks. Using the same IP address doesn’t make you the same person! LOL! But it is quite interesting to know that we’ve must’ve been around each other but haven’t met. If I have time Kool I’ll look for you and Steph Wong at Starbucks.

  27. Steph Wong March 31, 2016 1:37 pm

    ^ Yikes…. I can assure you I’m only one Steph Wong! I have posted from many different 1locations. So Jerry, I’m not sure of the point you’re making but I will also be at Starbucks this evening, just one of me Kool A! But that was pretty funny!

  28. Bob The Builder March 31, 2016 1:56 pm

    Ya’ll want to come build with me? I’m at Starbucks now. I’m wearing my safety vest at the high top table. Anyone around?

  29. Bye Felicia March 31, 2016 1:58 pm

    Wow Jerry! That’s very informative. Thank you for sharing. Hey gang, I’m here at Starbucks now!

  30. Eastsidaz Parent March 31, 2016 4:49 pm

    Regardless of which wi-fi you are using. Whether is it private or shared, does that mean the these allegations are not true.

    Instead of looking at IP addresses, how about asking to see the use of facility contract so see if they are paying. I believe it might be public record. Kind of seems the paper got their priorities off here.

  31. Dave Seville March 31, 2016 5:44 pm

    All these allegations against my boy. I am so upset. I hope you guys have proof. If it is true, I will be very disappointed in you. Alvin was supposed to be the only troublemaker. Well at least I know that Theodore has kept his nose clean.

  32. Kool A March 31, 2016 6:36 pm

    Dave Seville, why do I think I know you from somewhere?

  33. Dave Seville March 31, 2016 7:31 pm

    Kool A? Wait a minute? Alvin is that you? Alvin, ALVIN, AAALLLLLVVVVVIIIIIIINNNN!!!

  34. Cougar Nation April 1, 2016 7:39 am

    Is there a reason why the newspaper doesn’t look into this more? Instead like others said, they are more interested in pointing out that people might be using a public hotspot or wifi thus using the same IP address. Who cares. This stuff is either true or not. How about have some integrity since it involves kids and look into it. I bet you it would be different if it were there children.

  35. Rams33 April 1, 2016 8:33 am

    Cougar Nation April 1, 2016 at 7:39 am
    “Instead like others said, they are more interested in pointing out that people might be using a public hotspot or wifi thus using the same IP address.”

    Suggesting that this is simply a coincidence of multiple users posting from the same public hotspot as you and Eastsidaz Parent have suggested means either you’re participating in a similar manner or you’re naive.

  36. Nick Abramo April 1, 2016 5:40 pm

    To Cougar Nation: You’re talking about integrity and why the newspaper isn’t on this story more. What about the integrity of the TV and radio stations? Why have they done NOTHING? I’ve written about it three times in all, once in the paper and twice on Hawaii Prep World. At least the story is out there, even if it’s lacking specific details of alleged wrongdoing. So far, not one person has wanted to go on the record about details, so thanks to my training, I will not write anything that cannot be substantiated. I’ve made numerous calls to the DOE communications office, to principal Justin Mew, to acting athletic director Bryan Almadova, to Simon Bitanga. I have spoken extensively to some of the parents. So far, they have chosen to stay off the record until the investigation is complete. I respect that. I am patient. I believe they will go on the record, and when they do, I truly hope that someone can speak for the other side because there is always two sides to the story. … Hopefully, Bitanga himself will address it. That would be the best possible way to get at the truth. The first time I called him, he said he would talk after the investigation. I have tried to reach him in the meantime, but he has not answered. I ask that before you judge an organization’s integrity, learn to see if it’s really true. Now that you’ve read this, do you still think the newspaper doesn’t have integrity? If you say yes, be sure to let the TV and radio stations know that they’re dropping the ball, too. Also, if you have any first-hand information, my phone number is 391-7371. My name is Nick Abramo. What is your name?

  37. Basketball Watcher April 1, 2016 6:59 pm

    Mr. Abramo phone calls are very unnecessary nowadays since people can often deny. Also they can ignore the call if they don’t want to talk. What you need to do is make a paper trail if you want answers and actions.

    I would send out an email to the following people:

    1) Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi
    2) Complex Area Superintendent Donna Lum Kagawa
    3) Kaiser Principal Justin Mew
    4) Kaiser VP Dana Takahara-Dias
    5) Director of Communications Donalyn Dela Cruz
    6) KITV, KHON, KGMB, Radios

    If you cc everyone on this I guarantee someone is talking. About 6 years ago a dean at a prominent school was alleged of doing some really bad stuff. The school swept it under the rug. The families of the young lady who was involved “allegedly” emailed every faculty member, administrator, and local and mainland news outlet. There were so many people that was cc’ed on the email the school had to act and do a thorough investigation. When the person who was accused refused to talk or cooperate the school terminated that person and he moved off island.

    Now I am not saying you should or need to go this route. But it is just an option if you want to do a search for the truth.

  38. Nick Abramo April 2, 2016 1:34 pm

    To Basketball Watcher:

    Thanks for your advice. Couple of things, where I disagree with you:

    1. IMO, phone calls are VERY necessary in this day and age. It’s important to get to know the people and intonation. Meeting people in person is even better.
    2. You suggest that I email five different people. Well, we can cross out Donalyn Dela Cruz right away. The person I am in contact with at the DOE is Lindsay Chambers and she is the designated spokesperson for this case. Any communication (phone call or email) to anybody else associated with the DOE will be referred to Lindsay Chambers, whether it’s No. 1 on your list Kathyrn Matayoshi, No. 2 Donna Lum Kagawa, No. 3 Justin Mew, or No. 4 Dana Takahara-Dias.
    3. Wondering what good it would be for me to send an email to our competition in media coverage, KITV, KHON, KGMB or any radio station. They have not touched this story at all. I would not email the story idea to them because maybe they would have the news before us and we certainly wouldn’t want that. Not that I believe they’re ever going to touch it.
    4. I certainly am in search of the truth, but I am waiting patiently for the people who feel that they’ve been victimized to go on the record. I believe they will go on the record in the near future. Whatever they say on the record, I will give ANYBODY else on the OTHER side (Bitanga, DOE, Almadova, acting athletic director on leave Rodney Iwasaki, Mew, Nerona, and the interim coach while Bitanga was on leave) ample opportunity to tell their side. I truly hope they respond.
    5. Bitanga’s first investigation ended with no disciplinary action and the second one is still being “wrapped up” … whatever that means. So, there is no reason to CC as many people as possible to get a thorough investigation done. As I said, there are two investigations already (the term ‘thorough’ that you use is obviously a relative term) without anyone CC’ing everybody.

  39. Basketball Watcher April 2, 2016 7:26 pm

    1) By emailing all these people you create a paper trail. This is how it’s cone in DC, Chicago, and NY if you want answers. Since there are so many people listed on the email, it’s nearly impossible to put out the flame. All of the people will not be able to talk to each other to get the stories straight. And people will answer. You will not get the “everything is being handled by so and so generic answer.”

    2) If you email the correct people and enough of them I guarantee you people will start talking and not only one person since everyone’s out for themselves when it could be theri names, reputation, or jobs on the line.

    3) If the purpose to get the story or do what is right for the sake of the children?

    4) Are we only talking about parent allegations? I am talking also about use of facility? Have you inquired about that? The attorney general sent out a notice last year (I am sure you can dig this up) that any non DOE sanctioned event must follow the use of facility payment schedule. And if it isn’t followed and side deals are being made or they are not being charged, those involved might be arrested for felony theft. And based on the simple math provided above there is a good chance this is not happening.

    5) Would you consider this a story? The Eastsidaz league that is not a DOE sanctioned event uses Kaiser High School Gym, yet it seems on paper doesn’t make close to enough money to pay the regular use of facility4 fee, thus potentially committing a crime. Unless maybe they have a benefactor, which I highly doubt.

    But thanks for your reply.

  40. Nick Abramo April 5, 2016 3:12 pm

    Thanks Basketball Watcher. I have not looked into the facility story yet, but if it is true, I will work on it as part of the investigations story.

  41. Cougar Nation April 6, 2016 10:45 am

    As a community we ALL need to look out for all the keiki and make sure they are not being taken advantage of.

  42. HK96825 July 19, 2016 12:19 pm

    This whole thing is seriously a joke. Theirs people making a big deal about thing that they don’t know the truth about. Those coaches find not deserve what they got.. Kaiser High School is a disappointment to the community and the alumni, we are talking about Alumni of Kaiser high school who was screwed over because of a few parent who don’t know how to parent their kids, you guys are saying Simon and Jaime are the problem? No if anything is the Kaiser high school administrations who’s the joke, we got Dana over here disclosing confidential information to parents that where involved in the incodent. We have her talking to other payers about players on the team, spreading rumors about Jaime and Simon and just basically not doing her job the way she’s suppose to do it. She should be the one that being let go, ten we have Mr.Mew trying to take over the world with the Jedi from starwars.. They should be the ones that are being looked at no the people who have been their for years and who have built that basketball program from the ground up. They think hiring a new coach will change everything? No it’s not all those girl will not even respect her like how they did Simon and Jaime. She’s not just gonna come in a take over the program like that no return players will let that Happen.. No matter what she will never be as good as Simon and Jaime where I wanna see her place top 5 in the state and win JV champs let’s see if she will even come close to that. No one will ever come close those coaches oh well it’s Kaisers lost they will never be able to get coach that dedicated to the game of basketball like Jaime and Simon where.. And to Jaime and Simon if you are reading this just move on, move on to bigger and better things Dana will get her day and so will thoes people who put you guys in this situation. Just keep doing you guys and never let anyone take that away from you Guys do it for the girls and good luck you have my full support no matter what

  43. Kool A July 21, 2016 3:08 am

    HK96825: There are*
    As in… It’s 2016 & THERE ARE so grammatical errors with your post. Does spell check not exist in HK? Are you aware of what spell check is? How about auto correct? I’m not even sure if I can even continue reading this. I’ll try my best.

    “Those coaches find not deserve what they got”
    What. Does. That. Even. Mean?

    “Who was screwed over”
    Who were screwed over.

    What is an “incodent”?

    “Ten we have Mr. Mew”
    There are 10 Mr. Mews?
    THERE ARE^^^ see what I did there? < I did it again. There, they're, & their. 3 different words, with 3 completely different meanings.

    How are people supposed to take you seriously? I can't even finish reading this. Only an uneducated Simon Bitanga follower could've wrote this. LOL.

  44. Pokemon Master July 21, 2016 9:40 am

    Wait, where are the 10 Mews? I need them to complete my PokeDex. I will be unstoppable once I have those 10 Mews!

  45. soccer_dog13 April 26, 2019 12:35 pm

    Has anything been done recently?
    we are thinking about donating to the Eastsidaz Golf Tournament.
    Donation is supposed to be made out to Coach Bitanga personally. Is his foundation a 501(C) 3? Just checking……

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