Kenoi not guilty on all counts, jury finds
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Kenoi not guilty on all counts, jury finds

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON / HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Mayor Billy Kenoi and his wife Takako hold hands after he was found not guilty by a Hilo Circuit Court jury today.

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON / HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Mayor Billy Kenoi and his wife Takako leave the courtroom after receiving a not guilty verdict from the jury completing his trial Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court.

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON / HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Mayor Billy Kenoi and his wife Takako leave the courthouse after he received a not guilty verdict Tuesday from the jury at his trial in Hilo Circuit Court.

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON / HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Mayor Billy Kenoi hugs friends and family after a Hilo Circuit Court jury declared him not guilty verdict on all counts today. His attorney Todd Eddins is at right.

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HILO >> A Hawaii island jury today found Mayor Billy Kenoi not guilty on all charges related to his alleged misuse of a county-issued purchasing card.

Kenoi hugged family members, friends and supporters as he was hustled out of the courtroom after the verdict was read. He did not speak with reporters.

Deputy state Attorney General Kevin Takata also left the courtroom without addressing reporters. But Attorney General Doug Chin later issued a news release saying, “We respect the verdict and thank the jurors for their service.”

After a two-week trial, the jury began their deliberations Monday.

Kenoi faced four counts of theft — two of them Class C felonies and two of them misdemeanors. The charges also included one count of making a false statement under oath for billing the county $200 under for what he described as “Luncheon with U.S. Conference of Mayors Visitors.” Kenoi testified that he entertained the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of the head of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Conference of Mayors at Volcano House.

Kenoi originally faced eight counts related to 15 transactions that he billed to his pCard from 2011 to 2014.

He was never charged with the more eye-catching expenses that he billed to the county for a $1,200 surfboard; $400 that he spent at the Camelot Restaurant and Lounge hostess bar and a $892 tab at the Club Evergreen hostess bar, which are both located in Honolulu.

After Kenoi’s so-called pCard spending was reported by Hawaii island newspaper reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, Kenoi apologized publicly and reimbursed the county $31,112.59.

Judge Dexter Del Rosario last week dismissed three counts related to tampering with government documents after the state Attorney General’s office presented its case in Third Circuit Court.

Kenoi’s attorneys maintained throughout the trial that Kenoi reimbursed the county for personal expenses he billed to his pCard — and that there was no prohibition against purchasing alcohol on his pCard. Any liquor expenses, they said, were made while Kenoi was trying to use his connections to keep the Big Island running during the Great Recession or to thank volunteers at events that benefited the island’s economy.

The first count of second-degree theft involved nine pCard purchases that Kenoi billed to the county in 2011 for: hosting people associated with the Big Island Film Festival at Sansei Restaurant ($422.69); $140 spent at the Chart House restaurant; a $479.88 bill for the Hilton lobby bar in Baltimore for an after-hours gathering of people attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors event, followed the next night by a Washington, D.C. outing for staff of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation that Kenoi lumped in with the U.S. Conference of Mayors event; a personal charge of $292.60 for a wedding present for his nephew that involved a two-night stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel; $81.24 that Kenoi billed to his pCard for a garment bag at Target en route to a flight to Honolulu; $130 spent on mostly alcohol at Macaroni Grill in Kona where the mayor and his guest testified they discussed county issues; $181.16 at Huggos; and $320 for a luncheon in honor of outgoing Kenoi aide Kevin Dayton, who is now the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s capitol bureau chief. Kenoi and others in his administration testified that discussions at the luncheon, where wine was served, included who would take over projects that Dayton had shepherded for Hawaii County.

The second count of second-degree theft involved purchases Kenoi made in 2013 for: an outing to Clyde’s Gallery ($600) that Kenoi said involved networking with Congressional staff members; a $125.95 purchase of beer and hard liquor at a Kona Long’s that Kenoi testified was intended to thank volunteers at Sam Choy’s annual poke contest; a $201.68 purchase at a Kona Long’s for hard liquor that Kenoi said he gave to island dignitaries attending the Tahiti Fete after they presented Kenoi with gifts of paddles and he wanted to reciprocate; $300 spent at a Manoa restaurant in which Kenoi testified he tried to recruit former state Rep. Tommy Waters as corporation counsel while simultaneously trying to network with an Oceanic Time Warner cable representative to figure out who to contact to improve broadband service on Hawaii island.

A third count — of third-degree theft — involved a $200 lunch at Volcano House in 2014 that Kenoi described as “Luncheon with U.S. Conference of Mayors Visitors” to host the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of the head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Volcano House luncheon also was at the center of the remaining accusation that Kenoi made a false statement under oath.

A separate count of third-degree theft involved a $170 purchase of alcohol at Tommy Bahamas in 2014 that Kenoi testified was related to hosting representatives from a lucrative meeting planners conference of financial planners.

In his statement after the verdict, Attorney General Chin said, “The crime of theft requires proof a person intended to permanently deprive his victim of what he stole. The prosecution argued that not paying back funds to the county of Hawaii until after the press caught him was proof of Mayor Kenoi’s intent. We respect the verdict and thank the jurors for their service.”

Following six days of testimony that spanned two weeks, Takata told jurors in his closing arguments Monday morning that “rules apply to everyone except the mayor. Apathy is the accomplice to political corruption. The verdict is yours. Do justice. Do equal justice.”

After Takata’s initial closing argument, Kenoi defense attorney Todd Eddins displayed the words “NOT GUILTY” on a courtroom screen throughout his own closing argument.

Eddins ended by telling jurors that “Mayor Kenoi’s an honorable, decent family man who worked tirelessly for this county… and you’re lucky to have him. And he’s been wrongfully accused by the state government. … It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to right a wrong. It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to tell the state government it’s wrong.”

Eddins then touched his heart and said, “Restore a good man. I hand William P. Kenoi over to you.”

209 comments

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  • As lenient as the courts are out here, no way he is found guilty. Besides, he is a good old boy. His pidgin and his shibai dance charms everyone as he picks their pocket.

    • Allie, the biggest problem for the Prosecution is the vague nature of the County guidelines for P-card use by the Mayor. Intent to commit theft is hard to prove here. In court, it really doesn’t matter what we know to be right or wrong, it has to do with the law. At best, this case will force the counties and the state to be more specific about the use of spending authorization.

      • I guess, Allie, what I’m saying with a smile, is that now that you have a Master’s, you are expected, nay, required to exercise a more astute analysis of issues. 🙂

        • My intent was not to spank Allie. I’m first a teacher and then an academic. I want folks to look more deeply at issues and really utilize critical thinking. If one doesn’t understand something, there are many resources available.

        • Allie, don’t you feel it’s time for you to put that master’s to good productive use by going back & serving your Mandan nation, especially since you seem to believe that corruption is so rampant over here? For a change, you could be a really positive influence & role model in the Dakotas. Have a nice flight home!

        • It appears critical and deep thinking is perhaps absent with the Kenoi supporters? How could an attorney not know what he was doing was wrong? Sad day for taxpayers and accountability of our public officials. Let hope this travesty of justice does not send the message that it is OK to abuse P-cards to the rest of our inept local government.

        • RainyHilo, very well said. Unfortunately, I have the feeling Allie is here to stay. She likely arrived here with a one way ticket like the bums and we all know not a single one of them has left due to the generous “D” party throwing every social service at them at our expense that you could imagine!

        • Dear Dragginginthewater: I arrived in 1979 with a one-way ticket and a will to work. I would offer based upon my three decades of State and County service, volunteer efforts and participation in our society that you haven’t a clue what you are talking about, ever. I pay more taxes than you do even though I’m retired and I participate more in the life of our Island community each year than you ever have. Perhaps you should get a pet. Having to care for another life can really brighten up your dreary little white-painted concrete block apartment off of Young street.

        • At the very least he is guilty of extremely poor judgement. What “we” forget, is that he is a leader of the community and should be held to higher standards than the everyday Joe walking the streets.

        • cellodad – requiring allie “to exercise a more astute analysis of issues” is not possible since he/she does not possess a critical thinking skill set. Allie can always learn to do so but it doesn’t cast a positive light on the graduate degree program he/she already went through.

        • Uh no. The decision to prosecute was in the province of the Prosecuting Attorney and perhaps, was not well thought out. I’m curious why the AG seemingly approved.

        • Does anyone else smell hypocrisy?…Allie will now cast her vote for Hillary Clinton the biggest crook to ever run for the Presidency.

        • bumbai good point – illustrative of those who are not able to objectively analyze & process information.

        • What is the hypocrisy bumbai? Can you be specific on just why she is the biggest crook ever to run for the presidency? Seems like the Donald has her beat with his Trump University and groping women.

      • 100 percent agree Cellodad. If there was not a clear policy that the mayor could not authorize these purchases, theft is extremely difficult to prove. Kenoi is a liar and BS specialist, but proving he is guilty of felony theft was a long, long, in fact impossible task. The prosecutor’s office should have known that.

        • Unfortunately the state has no laws about being utterly incompetent while on the job. If there was such a law it would have been a slam dunk to send him to prison.

          Either way his political career should be over. Lacks integrity and high morals.

        • agree with Warrior. Kenoi lucked out with a sloppy, inept law about personal spending. But as we have read, Kenoi has a secret dark side and it will likely come out again. Those close to the scene report his bad temper, hateful, even racist words, and his odd night life. We all look forward to Mayor Kim who will bring honesty and competency back to the office.

      • One way to make this never happens again is to get rid of the pCard. When you have a sitting Mayor appointing members for an Ethics Board, City Councils making up the Ethic rules as they go and then poke and prod those Ethic rules, you have corruption in the making.

        • Good thinking, South76. “Get rid of the pCard.” Let them pay upfront with their own plastic and justify it later with receipts and reports. It’ll penalize the vast majority who are honest, but it’ll control for the handful who are dishonest.

        • kimo – The reason that those cards exist is that a lot of people will not burden their own credit cards for public business. They shouldn’t have to do that.

        • klastri — in MOST of private sector America, which you know nothing about, since you’re an illegal criminal in this country, employees turn in what are called “expense reports” to get reimbursed for business related expenses AFTER they have been charged to their personal CC or corporate CC but even the employee is on the hook for all the corporate CC charges on a personal basis until the corporation reimburses the validated expenses.

          You know nothing klastri! Complete shill poster cheer leading for politicians that wouldn’t give you a split second of their time.

    • Ahhhh… you’re broading your vocabulary.
      “shibai” a term we’ve been using long before you set foot on Hawaii Nei.

      I’m proud of your acclimation.

    • Good for Kenoi, that’s how business is done so what’s so shocking. He did it for the Big Island. He didn’t rig anything or grabbed anyone in the privates so no big deal. So if he’s not guilty will they let him back on the team? Or is just being charged an infraction of the handbook?

  • My guess is he’ll be found guilty on some and innocent of others.
    Bottom line… he won’t be heavily punished.

    I firmly believe current politicians are afraid of his popularity and the possibility he may encroach into their political territory and challenge their offices.

    Shoot.. he could run and win governorship of Hawaii.

  • Like I’ve been saying … there was no crime. Violations of p-card rules do not necessarily constitute a criminal act.

    The AG wildly overreached here. There was never any possibility of a conviction.

    Congratulations to the defense team and to the jury. This was the right verdict.

    • Correct, no crime. Possibly a procedural misuse of the pCard, but that’d be between him and his department. And publicly, not wise to mix business and pleasure. My guess is that he doesn’t have the best credit rating, might spend more than he should, and maybe felt he had no choice but to use the pCard at Evergreen (for business purposes, of course).

      Not sure about his political effectiveness and value now. That’ll be for the voters to decide.

      • no crime? you must be kidding. he knew darn well that some of the charges were personal expenses, yet he did not voluntarily pay them back, only after he got caught and these actions were made public. He had admitted to these indiscretions, that they were wrong. had these transaction not been questioned, he would not have paid them back. so there are real intent that he was not going to pay the back unless he was pressured to. theft is when you know what you did was wrong and did not voluntarily resolve them. the fact that the people of Hawaii county were willing to forgive him does not make what he did was not a crime.

        • No, I’m not kidding. The law doesn’t say what you think it says or what you think it should say. The law says what it says. This was not a crime.

    • Right. Based on the polices and procedures of the County with Pcard use there was no evidence to prove any wrong doing. Time and money wasted. Bottom line there was NO case.

      • My wife reminds me that I don’t know much, except about the law. Thankfully, that’s one thing I definitely know.

        Thanks.

        Hopefully, there will be a deep forensic analysis inside Doug Chin’s office to figure out what happened here. It was a mess from the first day.

    • it does constitute a crime if you charge personal expenses and have no intentions to pay it back. the crime here is theft, he knew that charging personal expenses on his pcard was prohibited, yet he continued to do so over a period of time. if theft is committed and then the thief returns the property, it is still theft. kenoi had stated publicly that what he did was wrong and apologized. if he had not been pressured to reimburse the county for these obviously personal expenditures, he would not have done so. the policy of the pcard stated that if you charge a personal expenditure on the card, you must reimburse the county with a 30 day period. and why did kenoi reimburse the county after he was pressured; if he sincerely believed those expenditures were valid county business expenses, he would not have made any reimbursement; the fact he did shows that he knew and agreed that they were not valid county expenses and would not have made reimbursement had there been no pressure for him to do so.

    • @twitter6: Actually, if you read the evidence in the case, it is not an open season on P-Card use unless you are the Mayor of the Big Island and it is for a legitimate business purpose. Of course if you can’t justify that you spent money on the P-Card for a legitimate business purpose, you have to pay it back just like Kenoi did. If you ask me, the only thing he may be guilty of is being careless in terms of separating his personal and business spending, and the last time I checked, that wasn’t a crime. I am glad Justice prevailed today. Was his spending unethical? Sure, but it wasn’t illegal as long as he paid it back at some point. What a waste of money. His political career was over anyways. LOL!

    • Don’t forget in some instances, they will have over 800 days to repay the debts. Of course if the media get’s wind of the usages, you’ll have to drum up the money a little faster.

  • Here is a thought, can we get information on how much public dollars were spent to bring this matter to trial? This should include the salary and overtime each of the government prosecutors make and put in for. How many staffers were used to research for the case, and how many outside vendors and contractors were used to effectively bring this matter as far as it has gotten? What price justice?

    • Glad someone’s thinking outside the box. SA ought to investigate the prosecutors. Who were they? What are their qualifications and track records for this type of case? Who was responsible for what? Who had oversight over all? Names and details, please. Why? Because someone or everyone screwed up big time. How in the world did they not know that the Big Island p-card policy does NOT rule out liquor purchases? This is the elephant in the room. This should have been the first step in their case construction: What are the rules that Kenoi allegedly broke? To not know them or to so poorly interpret them is a huge blunder. As rytsuru suggests, find out what the true cost of this trial was and determine whether or not the prosecutors have wasted our tax dollars. If they have, then what is the extent of the damage and who should be held accountable? Also, just as if not more important, HOW should he/she/they be held accountable? Prosecution has failed big time, exposing a longstanding puka in our justice system that turns a blind eye to its own “crimes.”

  • Braddah Billy is out – time fo party! SMH, what a travesty of justice. I guess good old Billy is back on track for the Governor’s race in a couple of years…

      • This hardly means that our system of criminal justice works. Because you like Billy, you feel the system works. Because you don’t mind a government employee spending a lot of our money, you feel the system works. Because you don’t find it embarrassing that a government official acts like he’s above the law and should have an unlimited bank account, you are happy with the results of this “trial”.
        We have concluded that Hawaii jurors aren’t very bright, or they are sympathetic towards a used car salesman that knows when to use the crocodile tears.

        • That’s not true, of course. You don’t understand the law, so I would expect you to write something like this. The jury got it exactly right. There was no crime. You just don’t understand that what the mayor did wasn’t a crime. Juries cannot just fabricate law to suit their emotions.

        • May I suggest that you respect the decision of the jury. They were the people who sat through the trial, weighed the evidence and came back with their verdict. The fact that the deliberated for so long indicates that the jurors engaged in prolonged deliberations, they seemed to work hard before coming to their decision. You need to respect that. Your statement that Hawaii jurors aren’t very bright only shows your own ignorance; you were never in the jury room, just some back seat driver trying to second guess the decision of those who actually served on the jury.

      • I think I understand K what you are trying to say but their might be a less provocative way to say it. Yes it shows that our system of justice works in the sense that the jurors were able to put aside their personal feelings and focus solely on issues of law and whether laws were violated. In that sense, it is a compliment to the intelligence of the Jury System. (I don’t like the Mayors style, behavior, or actions much but I think the Jury got the legal issues right. Good for them.)

        • I’m a litigator and not bilingual. I can only speak Provocateur.

          The jury got it right. No crime. A good verdict.

        • Haha! I’ve worked with many litigators. Dave Schutter once had me on the stand for two hours on cross. I’ve also known litigators who, when out of the courtroom were really nice guys and very interesting also. You called this one correctly and I knew you were correct from the beginning as regards points of law. One of the things I had to learn, as someone who is always right, is that there are a number of ways to make people realize how right I am. They don’t always involve hitting them over the head with my rightness. I realized this because being right is only a step on the path to changing things.

        • Cellodad – I know that you choose to be subtle, and I applaud you for that. I’m not good at subtlety. I’d rather be right by completely destroying an opposing witness on the stand, and leave the person in a pool of his or her own filth. Doing that reduces the chances that the person will ever bother my client again. It turns out that fear is a very effective tool, as much as it pains my wife to watch. That, plus we always win. That helps too.

    • In some countries like North Korea, you’ll be given a fair trial for crimes you’re actually innocent of and then get executed. The fair trial was only to make you feel good about your rights.

      In the USA, you’ll be given a fair trial for crimes that you’ve actually committed, like OJ Simpson, HitLIARy Clinton, has and you’ll be set free if you have enough high priced lawyers.

      But you don’t have to believe me, law alumni from Trump University and federal judge Klatri can give you more details about how HitLIARy managed to persuade a few witnesses in the past into committing suicide before opening their mouth.

  • The corrupted court system. Kenoi must have promised to take the jury out for drinks and pupu with the City p-card after all this. Way to go Billy Boy, hope the menehunes don’t bite you in the ass for story telling and crying times.

      • I would sure like to know who you are klastri. You have such strong opinions on almost everything, but never do I see any logic, reason, fact or a solid thought process. So you want Billy to avoid jail, we get it. But show something, anything that supports your comments.

        • Having “Billy avoid jail” has nothing to do with anything. He didn’t commit a crime, and never should have been tried. That’s what I’ve been writing since this whole mess began. The state had no case. Zero.

          The only commitments I have really are to my family and the law. I’ve been a litigator for decades and like a lot of trial attorneys have devoted my life to the law. So I hate to see when the law is abused like this.

          I couldn’t care less if you disagree with me and don’t understand how I think. Right now, I’m unable to think of a single thing that interests me less than what you think about me. Believe me.

        • klastri- How about predicting the Hillary outcome now that the FBI found additional emails (650,000) on Weiner’s/Huma’s laptop.

          Still think she’s going to win by a landslide?

        • DannoBoy – We’re a nation of laws. It has provided a remarkable nation for us to thrive in.

          I’m not a subject matter expert on human nature.

      • Thanks. Being found Not Guilty is not the same as being found Not Wrong. I do believe that this case will lead to more effective scrutiny of the discretionary spending of elected officials.

        • Let’s hope so, Cellodad! Kenoi is astute. He knowingly used the Hawaii County Charter to his advantage as the document is vague and ineffective. The trial brought immediate attention for the revision of the Hawaii County Charter regarding the use of pCard. Thank the Hawaii County Council and Hawaii County Ethics Commission for spending the taxpayer’s moneys. They failed miserably as the State was forced to bring immoral Kenoi to trial. Auwe!

    • No. The jury decided that the law wasn’t broken. They were not asked to decide anything else. If you were the defendant, you would want this handled exactly the same way.

    • I really don’t want to be identified as Klastri’s nicer step-brother but he was correct in this case. The usage guidelines for the Mayor or Hawaii County were so vague as to make it nearly impossible to prove criminal malfeasance in this case. I don’t think that the Jury was incorrect as much as I think that they dutifully performed as they were required to under the Law. I don’t much like Mayor Kenoi but I am encouraged that the system is just in requiring jurors to consider the legal arguments rather than the emotional ones.

      Mayor Kenoi is at a crossroads. He can say to himself “I can do anything and I will” or he can say “I learned something here about my responsibilities to the people.” It’s up to him.

        • Perhaps, but that was not an issue in this trial. hon. You speak to a more systemic issue. You might want to infer a conspiratorial intent but I don’t believe it is valid. I think the sloppiness of the guidelines has to do with the idea that we really don’t want to believe that people we know and trust would willfully defraud us. Perhaps unrealistic but admirable since human society is substantially built upon trust.

        • (Allie: Next week, I’m going to be staying in a Waikiki condo as a break from the onerous exigencies of retirement. Where’s the best place from which to order a real Italian pizza? 🙂 )

        • CelloDad — I recommend the pizza joint located in the dicey area Allie works at. Make sure to go very late at night. Allie can tell you all about the shady ICE heads lurking around late nights nearby. The good news for you is that it’s a gun free zone unlike the Pizza Hut in North Carolina where a robber was shot dead. Since you don’t condone CWP or killing of criminals when in danger, you can rest assured none of the pro CWP holders here on Oahu will use their weapons, or lack thereof in this case, to defend you if you’re faced with any immanent danger. Keep your 911 on speed dial, I’m sure the HPD will arrive in time to help you. Bon Appetite!

          Pizza Hut, the way it should be here but sadly isn’t.
          http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/10/31/breaking-news/police-say-pizza-hut-employee-shoots-kills-attempted-robber/

        • Dear Dragginginthewater: (I was going to ask if you were nuts and had spoken with a health care professional but realized that it would be to little avail. Please have a nice day hating stuff.)

        • Oh yeah Draggginginthewater, Don’t you dare to presume what I condone nor what I I have done when threatened. (I repeat done, not “would do”) You have just no clue. One of your problems is engaging your mouthparts before having adequate information to inform your words.

        • Cellodad – It’s an example of prideful and willful ignorance. The kind that under other circumstances may produce pity and a feeling of sorrow. But not in his case.

        • cellulitedad — looks like you’re not back peddling away from the post where you were insulting those making fun of a criminal that fell out a high rise to his death when he attempted to hurt/rob a 76 year old lady. I recall you stating how horrible that the criminal died and how he should be alive today. We all know where you stand on the issue. Just pathetic, I hope no one ever defends you if the need arises, cowards like yourself and klastri try to peddle their way out of their original posts and then come back and insult others again.

        • dragoninwater – You won’t understand any of this of course, but you are a pathetic and loathsome sociopath. You have probably already received that diagnosis (someone who wished death on someone is probably mentally ill) and you may actually write your comments either from prison or a from inside a forensic hospital. If that’s not the case, just wait a bit. You’ll be in one of them soon.

          I never “peddle” out of my posts, but good luck with your delusion.

  • Hey Kenoi,

    Alright!! Lets celebrate, why don’t you buy us a round at Club Evergreen, and don’t forget to bring your P-Card with you, you are truly the “Golden Boy” of the 50th State, and bring that 2nd rate state attorney general with you and his boss Kaneshiro, with your dream team on your side they were no match for your charms and crocodile tears.

    • Kaneshiro is the Honolulu Prosecutor, a county position. Takata is a deputy AG, a state position. His boss is Doug Chin, not Kaneshiro. In fact, when Kaneshiro took office, one of the first two attorneys to be fired were Takata and Pu’u, the attorneys in this trial.

      • There was a reason Keith fired Takata…..taking a case to court, loosing and wasting tax payers money to prosecute a “no crime” case. All done probably to further his career if he won.

        • (Yeah, I remember that. There was a lot of politics in the Office at the time. I recall when we served the warrant on the armored car robbery case at Tapa Tower. Keith wanted to be first through the door. Cooler heads prevailed.

  • Kenoi’s fate had been decided even before anyone ever stepped foot into the courtroom . From day one the judge made it known that Kenoi was gonna walk and the whole trial was a waste of time. The prosecutors were far from adequate and even managed to get on the bad side of the judge. Only winners here are Richard Sing and Todd Eddins. Not only did they get a bunch of air time in the media, but I’m sure they were well compensated for their efforts. Both are based in Honolulu, so that means travel expenses as well as spending nights on the outer islands.

    Hope the various government agencies learn from this and firm up their pCard policies. I’m sure Kenoi has learned from this and after a brief time in exile will be back in the political scene.

    • It’s hard to even count the number of errors in this comment, so I won’t bother.

      This was never a crime, and Mr. Kenoi should not have been charged. His attorneys did exactly what defense counsel is supposed to do – point out the failures in the state’s case. The state never had a case.

      • Number of errors? How so? From day one the judge gave vibes that the case had no merit. (No crime was committed). The prosecutors continued on even after a bunch of charges were tossed by the judge.

        I agree, this case should have never seen the inside of a courtroom. Defense counsel did an excellent job in pointing out that Mr. Kenoi did not break the law.

        Defense counsel did their job and not only gained media exposure, but also were well compensated for their efforts. I remember the good old days when Todd Eddins was a public defender. He eventually went into private practice where he does an excellent job today.

        • Sing and Eddins were not well compensated. Figuratively speaking, they were fighting for their best friend’s life. Money was not a consideration in this case.

  • For those of you complaining that this (correct) verdict is some kind of corrupt act, you are wrong. The law under which Mr. Kenoi was charged did not apply to how he used the p-card, so there was no crime to be convicted of.

    If you think there should be a change to close gaps in the law, then complain to your legislator. This was without any question whatever the correct verdict and outcome of this case. Mr. Kenoi should now petition for reimbursement of his defense costs. If this wasn’t malicious prosecution, then I don’t know what is.

    • In some countries like North Korea, you’ll be given a fair trial for crimes you’re actually innocent of and then get executed. The fair trial was only to make you feel good about your rights.

      In the USA, you’ll be given a fair trial for crimes that you’ve actually committed, like OJ Simpson, HitLIARy Clinton, has and you’ll be set free if you have enough high priced lawyers.

      But you don’t have to believe me, law alumni from Trump University and federal judge Klastri can give you more details about how HitLIARy managed to persuade a few witnesses in the past into committing suicide.

      • You really do love internet conspiracy theories, don’t you? You refuse to learn anything, so debating with you isn’t productive. You are proud of your ignorance, so please enjoy it.

        • I stated he committed suicide but you just claimed that Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons’. If there is anyone that believes in conspiracy theories, it’s YOU! You are proud of your ignorance, so please enjoy it.

        • dragoninwater – You’re lying of course, as you always do. I claimed no such thing and you just made that up. You are a pathological liar.

          There aren’t many thing lower than a liar.

    • You right Klastri – Kenoi should go for reimbursement of all his court costs, since he “won” and the state lost, I don’t think the state should have gone after Kenoi if they felt he had not broken the law. I’m sure some analysis had to be done before undertaking this case, if not this just would be a waste of taxpayers money. Maybe Kenoi won in a court of law, but in the eye of the public opinion he has lost.

      • This case was a defective mess from the start, so I’m not sure what the AG was thinking other than to make news. That doesn’t seem to have worked out very well for him.

        • You know, I was thinking… We require a Participation in Democracy class in the high schools but it’s really horrible. Perhaps a Constitutional, Criminal, Civil law requirement at 11th grade might be more useful. Please contact me via FB or Linkdin if you are interested in or think this might be useful.

  • I know good people that lost their jobs because they violated Pcard protocols. However nothing even close to what Kenoi admitted too. They were never given the chance to say sorry and pay back their wrongdoings like kenoi. I really doubt kenoi will lose his job! Now everyone has to go back to training on Pcard ethics because of this knucklehead!

  • So happy for you Mayor Kanoi but so sad for the 100’s of 1000’s us tax payer lost for this stupid trial. Should make those who brought up the issue pay us tax payer back.

  • The not guilty verdict doesn’t change the facts presented. Whatever integrity he may have once had is gone and whatever good deeds he may have once done will be forever overshadowed by these events in my mind.

  • This whole case is a distraction. While I don’t endorse the guy or condone what he did and irrespective whether a guilty verdict for misappropriate spending to the tune of a few thousand dollars. He paid back the questionable expenses, he should have been fined with a small financial penalty and have been on probation and then be done with it. Instead, the inept prosecutor went out on a massive witch hunt and wasted thousands of tax dollars far exceeding the amount in question, trying to prosecute the guy.

    The amount of abuse is trivial compared to the real crooks like Krook Caldwell and the rail project and it’s estimated possible $14-billion dollar expense to complete which includes the power plant needed to power the train.

    If anyone out there deserves to be put through a witch hunt and criminal trial for misappropriation of funds, it should start with Krook Caldwell and his rail scam, his $2.2-million dollar home of distinction that he classified as a historic home, the theft and misappropriation of funds from the Hanauma Bay! The laundry list of misappropriation of funds and theft is into the hundreds of millions by Kirk and every prosecutor looks the other way.

  • It was a totally weak case. Chief executives should have the leeway to use public funds for legitimate business. Just happens that plenty of business gets done with a beer or a drink in your hand. Private sector CEO’s don’t get raked over the coals for manini stuff like this. Pure prosecutorial grandstanding.

  • I can understand the validity of the lunches and gift expenses. However, the surfboard and especially the hostess bars do not seem work-related in any form. The prosecutor should have included those in the charges against Kenai. Big mistake.

    • Kenoi paid back the hostess bar tab and other “questionable” charges, so the issue was moot. There were other statutes that could have been charged for other things, but the AG and his goons missed the boat.

      Then again, the whole dog and pony show wasn’t about justice in the first place. The trial and publicity for Kenoi WAS the punishment for his deeds.

  • How could an attorney not know what he was doing was wrong? It is a sad day for taxpayers and for maintaining accountability of our public officials. Let hope this travesty of justice does not send the message that it is OK to abuse P-cards to the rest of our inept local government. OK legislature, governor, and city councils…time to tighten up the rules/laws and make clear that Govt credit card abuse will not be tolerated.

    • I truly hope you’re right, Bully ,”it stopped Kenoi from becoming the next governor of Hawaii.” Kenoi’s arrogance and deceit has brought him this far in his Hawaii County political career. He’s now termed out and no longer mayor of Hawaii Island. It’s unfortunate that this scandal occurred during his final term. Right…Telfon Billy!! It’s a travesty that Kenoi knew what he did and got away with it. Another political-hack bites the dust! Auwe!!

  • One thing that comes out of this is the awareness that the county needs to make restrictions that booze cannot be bought by officials that are using tax payers dollars, not even the Mayor.

    Wanna drink? Fine, on your own money.

  • Mayor Kenoi is an alcoholic and a bit of a cad – what he really needs is prayer. He needs to find his way to an altar, ask for forgiveness of his sins and make his peace with God Almighty. Jesus is his only hope.

  • This is Hawaii! You can get away with anything! What did he do? Offer all the jurors drinks at his fav establishment on his p card? Or dances with his favorite ladies? Shame on Hawaii!

  • Do you REALLY think that if you or I had pulled the same stunt using a P-card, that we would have been given the benefit of the doubt and treated with kid gloves like this thief? What a joke this so-called “justice” system is in the Nei.

  • I am still puzzled by the prosecution’s choice of theft offenses. Mostly alcohol and food related. In my opinion, if I were on he jury, being presented with Kenoi’s purchase of a paddle board, mountain bike and paying personal renewal of his attorney BAR Annual Dues would fall under personal use. How does a paddle board or mountain bike be used to promote the Big Island? Why didn’t Billy pay his dues for his BAR renewal from his own pocket? Million dollar red flag is that he did not repay any of these 3 expenses until the media brought this up. Prosecution used no common sense and poor judgement. It’s like they wanted to let him off, only going through a sham of prosecuting Kenoi.

  • It’s a good thing that the most serious charges such as spending hundreds of dollars at buy-me-drinkie bars and a surfboard were not added to the list of official criminal charges by the Attorney General.

    Only the purchases that were the easiest to defend were allowed to go to trial. Kudos to Governor David Ige and the Attorney General for helping achieve achieve this verdict.

  • This is not right. If all that he did is not theft that why did we spend the money to try to convict him. This case should never had gone to a jury trial. Hope keno I doesn’t ever hold another government job. At least he should repay the approximate 100,00oplus that he charged. How can the case not include even the surfboard!! Doug chin you should a shame of you self and staff

  • THe case had to be brought. Law enforcement can’t just turn a discretionary blind eye to this sort of thing.

    The verdict was probably correct. Seems like Hawaii County rules and policies permitted it.

    No time frame for reimbursements. No ban on alcohol spending. No limits on Mayoral discretion.

    Overall, what Kenoi did doesn’t seem all THAT bad. Entertaining, lubricating dignitaries and volunteers. Would be one thing if there were $50,000 nights on the town. That wasn’t the case. This was beer from Longs.

    Also, I suspect Kenoi’s/Hawaii County’s booze paid dividends for the County. Don’t you?

  • Big Island jury acquits Big Island mayor. Did anyone expect a different outcome? Big Island people always close ranks. Had this case been tried in Honolulu, Kenoi would be issuing mea culpas all the way to a brief respite in a cell block.

    Bottom line, if you believe Eddins’ position that Kenoi was authorized to spend as he wished with his P-card, why did he reimburse the county after he was caught? Shouldn’t he have just said, I’m authorized to use my P-card in any manner I want.

  • No surprises here folks. It was the out come from the get-go. Dirty politician with the same mind set in the jury box. Can’t imagine any juror who lives on the Big Island to find him guilty and then be able to live safely after. Only after the Mayor was questioned by the media, did he pay up. Some monies owned where over 2 years due. So I say his INTENT was to not pay was always there in spite of what the jury foreman told the media that the State did not prove intent. The Good Old Boy System is alive and well.

  • The prosecutors should have put the surfboard, bike, and hostess bars charges in the trial also. Even though they were paid sooner than the other bills that took up to two years, it shows a flagrant disregard that the county’s credit card is supposed to be for official business only. Everyone else is expected to pay their credit cards monthly. Whether it was: poor prosecution, good defense, vague laws, charismatic defendant, unsophisticated country bumpkin jury, or whatever’s…we need our elected officials to clean up and toughen P-Card laws lest the rest of our local govt. squanders our tax dollars further.

  • He simply got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The real question is, how long could he have gotten away with not paying back the taxpayers if nobody noticed what he was doing? It kind of reminds me of when Bill Clinton got caught having an affair while being President… The moral standards of our elected leaders seem to be on the downtrend but still acceptable to their supporters.

  • The issue of the use for the P-card – Every State and City office that has a P-card has a copy of the guidelines. It is just so shameful that some people read it and others just say or well if can, can and can not then still can. Mr. Kenoi is just a very lucky man that his charming personality won his case. God doesn’t sleep and there are mirror where every you go. God bless him and hope his years to come are rewarding.