comscore Kenoi admits possible card misuse | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Kenoi admits possible card misuse

  • Hollyn Johnson / Hawaii Tribune-Herald

    Mayor Billy Kenoi testifies during his trial in Hilo Circuit Court.

Hawaii island Mayor Billy Kenoi has acknowledged in an agreement there is probable cause that he violated the county ethics code by using a county-issued credit card for personal purchases.

Kenoi’s lawyers, Todd Eddins and Richard Sing, issued the advisory opinion Wednesday as part of a deal with the Hawaii County Board of Ethics.

The agreement will prevent an investigative hearing from taking place in response to an ethics complaint, the Hawaii Tribune Herald reports.

It comes just more than a week after a jury acquitted Kenoi on all counts for the card purchases that prosecutors alleged did not qualify as county business.

Before offering Wednesday’s deal, Kenoi’s attorneys argued that the trial outcome proved Kenoi did nothing wrong.

“It’s been established the mayor is not a thief. The mayor is not a liar,” Sing said. “We object to the process. He’s been acquitted.”

Some board members expressed dissatisfaction that Kenoi did not attend the meeting, which took place in the same building as his Hilo office.

“This really warranted his presence,” said Chairwoman Ku Kahakalau, who had prepared questions for Kenoi.

Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland filed the complaint in the spring of 2015, alleging the violation of county ethics code, which prohibits the use of public property for anything other than a public purpose.

The board delayed the complaint multiple times because of concerns that it could impact Kenoi’s trial in Hilo Circuit Court.

Hyland said he was satisfied with the agreement.

“That’s the best I’m going to get, so that’ll do,” he said. Hyland added that “it would have been nice if it was a bit more timely.”

The agreement recommends that the mayor stop using the credit card, which Kenoi has not had since the state Procurement Office revoked it in April 2015. Kenoi’s attorneys have said he has paid back the county for his personal purchases.

Eddins and Sing declined to comment following the decision and said the mayor would not comment.

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  • He’s completely unrepentant, I’m so disgusted. I don’t care how many pretty speeches he makes, how cutesy he can bruddah local boy wala`au — I’m disgusted with a system that allows this kind of chicanery. This is the kind of thing that erodes public confidence and morale.

  • this is sad & bad as in not good — if you or I go down to the expensive jewelry store and look at and walk out of the store w/ an expensive watch or bracelet — we get out of the store and am walking through the mall. 2 minutes later we get stopped by store security and arrested for theft. can we at that point say–i have the money in my pocket–there it is–i meant to pay–really. we are not going to get off –this would not be an excuse –“oh I just delayed payment but really I meant to pay” thieves say this all the time–I meant to pay, i was going to pay. Only the people that are powerful or have connections or are seemingly well liked –these people get off…there is an exception for these people—the mass of the population do not. hawaii is too liberal–cops get off, politicians get off, high paid or popular business people get off–no good at all but what can anyone say–hawaii is a D state w/ liberal thinking and ways–hawaii is always behind the mainland–in customs, in politics, in the economy–just too slow to be ahead of the game or to be even with what is happening. hey billy–lets party tonight–on you right? drinks for everyone on billy! we have to celebrate w/ billy because he got off——-he may have done something wrong? come on–dont even print this rubbish

  • A farce at best, justice not served at worst. Despite his lawyers’ claims, Kenoi was not acquitted of being a thief or lying; these were not the charges. He committed theft of public funds and he lied about it. The fact that he paid it back after being caught does not erase the wrongdoing. On the other hand, maybe he just confused his P-card with his Maika`i Card. Happens all the time.

  • “The agreement will prevent an investigative hearing from taking place in response to an ethics complaint,” What an easy way out by ageeing there is probable cause that he violated the county ethics code by using a county-issued credit card for personal purchases. Imagine if all pCard holders did what he did.

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