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$2.85M settlement with city reached in Puana lawsuit

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2019
                                Gerard Puana
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2019

Gerard Puana

The City and County of Honolulu has settled a civil lawsuit with Gerard Puana, the victim of the Kealoha corruption and bribery scandal, in the amount of $2.85 million.

Ian Scheuring, the mayor’s deputy communications director, confirmed the settlement amount but could offer few other details about the city’s agreement.

“Until the settlement agreement is approved by the Honolulu City Council the city is going to decline the opportunity to comment further on the case,” Scheuring told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this evening.

Puana’s attorney, Gerald Kurashima, could not be reached for comment on the case by press time.

The settlement, announced in federal court today, follows the 2019 federal case involving public corruption and conspiracy of Louis and Katherine Kealoha, which included the framing of Puana, Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, for the alleged 2013 theft of the Kealoha’s mailbox, following a financial dispute with the Puana family.

An initial lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Gerard Puana, alleging that he was wrongfully arrested, incarcerated and maliciously prosecuted in a pair of criminal cases in 2011 and 2013 as a means to thwart efforts by Puana to recover money he believed Katherine Kealoha had swindled from him and his mother, Florence Puana.

Last December, a federal court ruled Puana could sue the city, despite the city’s objections. The plaintiff initially requested $30 million, however, later court rulings drastically reduced that amount.

Currently, the Kealohas are both serving time in federal prison.

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