On Hawaii’s Big Island, the Fairmont Orchid five-star hotel sits at the edge of the ocean shore on 32 acres of beautiful white sandy beaches and pristine water. Surrounding the hotel are palm trees, tropical plants. A 36-hole golf course, fine dining restaurants, tennis courts, and luxury spas are included in this paradise.
Quite the setting for an upscale honeymoon, don’t you think?
We’re not here to talk about a honeymoon. We’re here to talk about a conference of judges who stayed here for an entire week.
The best part? The seven Ohio judges who participated in this event had their trip paid for by tax payers.
Some judges were not even required by their cities to submit receipts for reimbursements.
Events like this occur all the time: in the last five years alone, there were over 19 out of state retreats, billing the public over $50K.
Judges argue they need the conferences to fulfill the Ohio Supreme Court’s continuing legal education requirements and to network, though courses are available as nearby as Beachwood for prices as low as $50.
In far-off locations, the conferences encourage leisure time:
In Baltimore, the six-day conference included sporting events such as a BMW test drive. It also left three full days for registration, galas, banquets and receptions (i.e. booze and parties).
In Hawaii, the American Judges Association urged judges to bring their “family and experience an island paradise, as well as the education and collegiality of an AJA conference,” according to the brochure for the seminar.
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