The Honolulu Ethics Commission said in a press release today that the city’s special events coordinator has resigned in the wake of accusations that she has blatantly abused her position and egregiously misused city resources.
Patty Teruya, the commission said, was allowed to resign rather than face a contested case hearing.
Teruya is former chairwoman of the Waianae Neighborhood Board as well as the Nanakuli/Maili Neighborhood Board, and was also a candidate in last year’s special election to fill the City Council seat vacated by Todd Apo. She has been an outspoken community leader over the years.
The ethics commission said her resignation came at its meeting on Dec. 19.
"The Commission deemed Ms. Teruya’s alleged violations so ‘numerous and egregious’ as to make her ‘unfit for continued employment with the city’ if proved," the press release said.
The commission also said in its release:
Based on an investigation it found probable cause that Teruya:
>> "Misused her city computer privileges by accessing 2,135 non-work related websites over a two-month period;
>> "Sent and received 174 non-work related emails within the span of four months to support her campaign for Council, as well as the campaigns of city and state politicians; to conduct job searches for her boyfriend; to sell her boat; and for personal shopping;
>> "Exploited her authority as Special Events Coordinator over non-profit organizations and vendors to make them submit letters of recommendation to bolster and advance her city career; and
>> "Endorsed her close friend for service contracts for at least eight city- sponsored events to the exclusion of other contractors.
"These violations are some of the most blatant I’ve seen in the city, and happened after the Commission staff, her department head and 2 other city agencies told her not to misuse public resources for her own benefit" said Chuck Totto, the Executive Director and Legal Counsel for the Commission.