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Kauai councilman settles lawsuit over political retribution


A Kauai councilman who sued the county over claims his civil rights were violated for going against political foes has agreed to settle the lawsuit for $290,000.

Councilman Timothy Bynum sued the county in 2012, saying he was unfairly charged with zoning violations at his home because he was critical of former Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

The settlement was scheduled to be put on the record during a hearing in federal court in Honolulu on Friday. Bynum’s attorney, Margery Bronster, said the defendants’ attorneys asked for it to be postponed so they could present the settlement to the county council. The settlement is listed on the agenda for the council’s April 11 meeting.

The settlement was negotiated by the county’s insurer, said Robert Katz, one of the attorneys representing the county.

According to court documents filed by Bronster, both sides agreed to settle the suit in February. The documents say the defendants must pay Bynum $290,000 by April 15.

“His allegations are totally false,” Iseri-Carvalho said Friday.

She said she hasn’t seen any settlement documents.

“I absolutely believe that the truth needs to be heard. It’s caused a lot of chaos in the county,” she said. “It’s shocking to me that at this point, they want to try to settle the case.”

Iseri-Carvalho said she is included in the lawsuit only in her professional capacity and was dismissed from the suit in her individual capacity. Sheila Miyake, an inspector in the county Planning Department, is a defendant in both professional and individual capacities. Miyake’s attorneys couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday.

“The settlement gives the impression that all of the defendants are liable, and that’s totally false,” said Iseri-Carvalho, who is now retired and in private practice.

The unsigned settlement documents state that the agreement isn’t an admission of liability from either party.

Bynum’s lawsuit claimed that zoning violations were lodged in 2010 after allegations that he was illegally renting out a portion of his home. He says officials from the Planning Department illegally entered his property without a warrant and photographed the inside of his home.

His lawsuit says he was prosecuted for political reasons. A deputy state attorney general later dismissed the criminal case against Bynum.

The lawsuit claims the zoning violation jeopardized the sale of Bynum’s home. Buyers in escrow asked the Planning Department if there were any problems with the property’s permits.

“The representative of the Planning Department wrongly and maliciously informed the buyers that the alleged zoning violations would run with the land and transfer to any new owners,” the lawsuit said. The buyers pulled out of the deal.

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