A grand jury indicted Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi today in connection with his misuse of a county-issued purchasing card.
The mayor has been indicted on two counts of second-degree theft, a Class C felony; two counts of third-degree theft, misdemeanors; three counts of tampering with a government record, misdemeanors; one count of false swearing, a petty misdemeanor.
Attorney General Doug Chin said the charges relate to alleged conduct that occurred from 2011 to 2015 while Kenoi was in office.
Kenoi made purchases of more than $129,000 on his pCard, but has since reimbursed the county at least $31,000 for personal purchases, including trips to Honolulu hostess bars.
The state Attorney General’s office has been investigating the mayor and presented its case to the grand jury. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest following today’s indictment, but the mayor will be released on his own recognizance after being booked.
“The Department of the Attorney General sought this indictment after an extensive investigation that lasted almost a year,” Chin said. “I thank the investigators and prosecutors for their efforts.”
Chin said Kenoi will likely turn himself in.
County records show that Kenoi used his pCard for lavish outings that included drinks, dinners, luxury hotels and more than $100,000 on trips to Washington, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Texas, the Philippines and Japan.
Kenoi also used his pCard to pay for a $1,200 surfboard, his $565 Hawaii Bar Association dues and luxury stays at the Marriott Waikoloa Beach at $469 per night. He also spent $400 at the Camelot Restaurant and Lounge hostess bar and $892 at the Club Evergreen hostess bar — both in Honolulu.
Kenoi has publicly apologized and taken responsibility for his actions.
Here are the specific charges and maximum potential penalties, according to the Attorney General’s office:
>> Counts 1 & 2: Theft in the second degree, Class C felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
>> Counts 3 & 4: Theft in the third degree, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
>> Counts 5, 6 & 7: Tampering with a government record, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
>> Count 8: False Swearing, a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
CORRECTION: Mayor Billy Kenoi charged more than $129,000 on his Hawaii County-issued purchasing card, and subsequently reimbursed the county at least $31,000 for personal charges. A previous version of this story said he made unauthorized purchases of more than $129,000 for personal purposes on the pCard.