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GOP hits Garcia on conflict of interest

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The Hawaii Republican Party has filed a formal ethics complaint against City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia, alleging he failed to disclose a $5,000-a-month job funded primarily by rail supporters.

Party officials also called on Garcia to step aside as chairman pending the investigation.

“The Honolulu City Council has long been plagued by ethics troubles and it appears City Council Chair Nestor Garcia is keeping with this sorry pattern,” Jonah Ka‘auwai, party chairman, said Friday in a news release.

Garcia has been executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce since early 2009. It is a part-time job that includes taking minutes at chamber meetings and organizing events, according to a report by KITV. Several companies that would benefit from the rail line are members of the chamber.

City ethics law requires disclosure of conflicts, but not recusal from voting on matters in which said conflicts exist.

Garcia, who represents Council District 9, which includes Makakilo, Waipahu, Kunia and Mililani Town, has said he will begin disclosing his association with the chamber whenever rail issues come before the Council.

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