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Ethics panel: Caldwell committee didn't break laws, but raised concerns

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:08 p.m. HST, Oct 18, 2013



The city Ethics Commission has ruled that a transitional team that raised funds to help usher in Mayor Kirk Caldwell to Honolulu Hale and Caldwell's office should have filed gift reports but otherwise committed no other violations.

An advisory opinion issued by the commission released today, however, raised serious questions about $110,000 used to help pay for a inauguration luau held in Caldwell's honor.

It recommended that the city should enact safeguards to "reduce the risk of gift law violations for city officials when contributions are made to pay for transition, official inaugural or unofficial inaugural expenses."

Caldwell, in a release issued by the transitional committee, said: "I am gratified that the Commission found that I did nothing wrong while transitioning into the office of the mayor. Frankly, I was surprised that there was even an investigation to begin with, as the Mayoral Transition Committee followed the traditional practices used by our mayors and governors for as long as any of us can remember."

The report, however, said the case "underscores serious concerns about the integrity of city government when large donations are made for a mayor's benefit from those who have much to gain or lose from their business relationships with the city administration." 

The Mayoral Transition Committee, formed by Caldwell's supporters in December 2012 shortly after his election, collected $381,000 in private contributions, much of it from the same donors who contributed to Caldwell's election campaign.

Money raised was used to pay for a inaugural luau, costs associated with actual "transitional" functions such as interviewing candidates for city department heads and the formal inaugural ceremony itself.

The Ethics Commission said the money used for transitional functions, which amounted to about $62,000, were used "to support legitimate government functions" and therefore should have been reported as gifts under the city's gift policy. The committee and the mayor's office failed to do so, the report said.

The commission said $145,000 attributed to the inaugural luau was not a government function. The money was used to subsidize the cost of attending, the report said, and while some paid $25 to go to the event at Moanalua Gardens, others went for free.




Cover Letter by staradvertiser


Ethics Committee Report by staradvertiser



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Leinanij wrote:
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's not a government function?
on October 18,2013 | 01:21PM
GoldenDisc wrote:
First time I've heard anyone complain about taxpayers' money NOT being used because private donations did the job.
on October 18,2013 | 04:38PM
Skyler wrote:
So, the ethics committee is giving Caldwell a bye on this & we're supposed to be satisfied? Un-f'n real.
on October 18,2013 | 01:43PM
pueouhane wrote:
For not being invited to the party? This was a blind witch hunt, quack quack!
on October 18,2013 | 01:45PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I'm sure Krik is also concerned about the millions that PRP and the Carpenter's Union poured into the campaign to get him elected.
on October 18,2013 | 01:49PM
localguy wrote:
Just another example of how Kirk Caldwell hasn't got a clue what it means to be in charge, what leadership values are, leadership by example, ethics, the list goes on and on. So Kirk, here is a lesson for you. A person in charge must ensure everything they do reflects only professionally on them. No hint of impropriety, cheating, special favors, sweet heart deals, putting your needs ahead of others. Sad to say Kirk is just another clueless, dysfunctional, Nei bureaucrat. Island standard.
on October 18,2013 | 01:55PM
defendoahu wrote:
A quick scan of MAYORAL TRANSITION COMMITIEE SCHEDULE OF CONTRIBUTIONS As of February 11, 2013 turns up these familiar names: Beaver-----HRI Hoag----HRI Wheelwright----BYU Group 70 (George Atta---DPP) Tyau----HRI PCC Business pending before the City ? You bet-------ever hear of Envision Laie ?
on October 18,2013 | 02:59PM
primo1 wrote:
Caldwell, in a release issued by the transitional committee, said: "I am gratified that the Commission found that I did nothing wrong while transitioning into the office of the mayor. Frankly, I was surprised that there was even an investigation to begin with, as the Mayoral Transition Committee followed the traditional practices used by our mayors and governors for as long as any of us can remember." Meaning that even though it's unethical, that's the way it's always been done.
on October 18,2013 | 03:39PM
Skyler wrote:
Business as usual.
on October 18,2013 | 04:30PM
MakaniKai wrote:
No class. And taxpayers that did not vote for this charade of a mayor are f ''c k d. $$$$$$ out da pocket!
on October 18,2013 | 03:41PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Hahahaha Makani
on October 18,2013 | 04:25PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The PRP guys are all going "whew, I thought they was going look into all the other stuffs."
on October 18,2013 | 05:29PM
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