comscore Mayor Kenoi case goes to jury | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Mayor Kenoi case goes to jury

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON / HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Mayor Billy Kenoi held back tears Wednesday as he spoke about his family during his testimony at his trial in Hilo Circuit Court.

HILO >> It’s now up to a Hilo jury to decide whether Mayor Billy Kenoi should be punished on any of five criminal counts against Kenoi for the use of his county issued purchasing card, or pCard.

Following six days of testimony that spanned two weeks, deputy state Attorney General Kevin Takata told jurors in his closing arguments Monday that “rules apply to everyone except the mayor. Apathy is the accomplice to political corruption. The verdict is yours. Do justice. Do equal justice.”

After Takata’s initial closing argument, Kenoi defense attorney Todd Eddins displayed the words “NOT GUILTY” on a courtroom screen throughout his own closing argument.

Eddins ended by telling jurors that “Mayor Kenoi’s an honorable, decent family man who worked tirelessly for this county… and you’re lucky to have him. And he’s been wrongfully accused by the state government. … It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to right a wrong. It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to tell the state government it’s wrong.”

Eddins then touched his heart and said, “Restore a good man. I hand William P. Kenoi over to you.”

Kenoi originally faced eight counts related to 15 transactions that he charged to his pCard from 2011 to 2014.

Following the prosecution’s case, Judge Dexter Del Rosario dismissed three counts related to tampering with government documents, leaving Kenoi to face four counts of theft — two of them second-degree felonies and two third-degree — and one count of making a false statement under oath.

The theme of Kenoi’s defense has been that the charismatic and personable mayor used his connections from Washington, D.C., to Honolulu to the Big Island to regularly entertain people in government and private business — often in after-hours gatherings involving alcohol — to keep money flowing to Hawaii island.

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  • There was no crime committed here. The state will not obtain a conviction that will survive an appeal.

    I’m not sure what the AG was trying to prove here, but whatever it was, they failed. I’m pretty sure the defense team has already prepared an appeal, should the jury return a guilty verdict on any of these charges.

  • There is such a huge contrast between the cry cry Billy who is realllllly sorry (although he is completely innocent….), and the wild and crazy Billy at the strip club drinking taxpayer’s money. I hope he spends a couple of years in jail to teach him whats right and wrong.

  • Obviously we don’t know all the facts because we weren’t in the courtroom but it sounded like the county rules did not prohibit the mayor from buying booze with the pcard. If that’s true then Billy walks.

  • If nothing else, a result of this trial may be that guidelines and rules for County and State P-card use will be re-written and strengthened. I know in my former (State) organization, nobody would dream of trying to do some of the things that were described in the trial and the media.

  • I hope that Todd Eddins is not running for office. Eddins feels that Kenoi did nothing wrong. He better look at the guidelines for use of the P-card. No where on the guidelines does it say, you can buy liquor, buy surf boards, entertain. The crying is just an act and Billy sure know how to perform. Why did the SASA’s who worked at the school system get fired for using State money to purchase items? The Judge and jury need to take a good look at this Billy Kenoi and ask the State for the P-card guideline so that they can make their decision basic on how to use the P-card. I blame everyone involved. Only when Billy boy got caught did he start to pay back, he had no intention to pay back. Judgement is guilty.

    • Well, the rule in regard to how Counties can use the P-Card, in purchasing items that are blocked statewide, was amended for Counties. In 2003, PROCUREMENT CIRCULAR NO. 2003-06, Amendment 13 was issued, in which statewide blockages of services for “entertainment/recreation” was lifted from the counties, provided the counties filed and got approved by the state procurement office form SPO-35.

      I am pretty sure Hawaii County immediately filed for it. If they didn’t, than that is bad mark No. 1.

    • Mr. Eddins is a defense attorney. His argument in behalf of Mr. Kenoi was not that Mr. Kenoi did nothing wrong, but rather that he did not violate the law under which he was charged.

      Thankfully, you weren’t the judge because you appear to know absolutely nothing about the law under which the state charged Mr. Kenoi.

      The County guideline and past practice for the card used by the Mayor was presented at trial. You seem to be completely ignorant of the facts of the case and the law. Do you often comment on subjects about which you know nothing?

      • Eddins ended by telling jurors that “Mayor Kenoi’s an honorable, decent family man who worked tirelessly for this county… and you’re lucky to have him. And he’s been wrongfully accused by the state government. … It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to right a wrong. It’s an opportunity and privilege for you to tell the state government it’s wrong.”
        I just want to say that I work for the C & C and the guidelines we have for the use of the P-card is all the same.
        Klastri – you need to get educated, get a job and open your eyes. Kenoi is a cry baby and a lier.

  • This was Billy’s apprenticeship before he goes BIG TIME in Hawaii State politics…I guess he didn’t “get the memo” as to how to do it without getting caught.

  • the reason kenoi purchased a lot of liquor because he is an alcoholic; he probably drank while working. alcohol is not a way to gain favors from others, except another alcoholic. government officials, especially federal government are usually not allowed to drink while working. kenoi is guilty but he might be exonerated because the prosecution did not do a good job. this would be a travesty of justice. he may have worked hard for the county but he is not entitled to steal from the country to satisfy his own personal needs.

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