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Resident files new complaint over Big Island mayor’s charges

    Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said that his county credit card being taken away is sufficient punishment for his history of using it for personal purchases.

HILO » A resident of Hawaii’s Big Island is filing a new ethics complaint about Mayor Billy Kenoi’s use of his county credit card.

West Hawaii Today reported Saturday that Lanric Hyland filed a complaint against finance director Deanna Sako.

Hyland said Sako has violated the county ethics code because she didn’t prevent Kenoi from misusing his county-issued credit card.

The Board of Ethics, which had recently voted 3-0 not to consider the complaint against Kenoi until the state attorney general wraps up his case against him, is likely to consider the new complaint at its July 8 meeting. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Attorney General Doug Chin called the Board of Ethics delay unusual and unnecessary.

Hilo attorney Brian DeLima, who is representing Sako, said he hasn’t yet seen the complaint, but if it is similar to previous charges against his client, he thinks it’s unfounded.

"We will respond to any allegations, but I don’t think it has any merit," he said.

Kenoi has acknowledged to the media he used his pCard for personal purchases ranging from big bar tabs to surfboards, although he maintains he paid the charges within months of incurring them.

In all, he’s paid back $31,112.59 of the $129,580.73 he charged during his tenure. His account was closed in April.

The mayor has publicly apologized and is continuing his mayoral duties during the investigation. He’s hired three Honolulu attorneys and said he’s cooperating with the attorney general.

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