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Maui mayoral candidate arrested at debate appears in court

  • COURTESY MAUI COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
    Nelson Waikiki Jr.
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WAILUKU » A Maui mayoral candidate is under arrest after he was taken into custody at a candidate forum on a warrant connected to a criminal case.

Nelson Waikiki Jr. is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center on $100,000 cash-only bail, the Maui News reported. 

His lawyer, Ben Lowenthal, was not immediately available for comment Thursday. 

Waikiki appeared Wednesday morning in 2nd Circuit Court for a hearing on allegations that he failed to comply with conditions of his release in a criminal case. Authorities say Waikiki failed to show up for drug testing in May and June.

Waikiki, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced in December after pleading guilty to felony securities fraud charges in connection to an investment scheme involving Opunui Water Co. and Opunui Land and Water Co. 

The indictment says nearly two dozen people invested more than $100,000 with Waikiki, who was not a registered securities broker, between July 2008 and December 2012.

After his arrest last year, Waikiki was jailed for more than nine months. He was released in April after he changed his plea.

On Tuesday night, Waikiki was among six mayoral candidates who appeared for a forum at Seabury Hall. Two plainclothes police officers were waiting outside the meeting hall and he was arrested.

As part of his release from the fraud case, Waikiki was required to report to the Maui Intake Service Center, submit to drug testing and refrain from using alcohol and illegal drugs.

Under state law, a person sentenced for a felony may not become a candidate or hold public office between the time of sentence and final discharge. Waikiki’s sentencing is scheduled to take place weeks after the Nov. 4 general election.

Waikiki agreed to pay $141,000 in restitution as part of his plea deal.

Of that, $60,000 would be paid before or at the time of his sentencing. Waikiki agreed to be sentenced to a 10-year prison term instead of probation If he fails to make the $60,000 payment.

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