Mayor Billy Kenoi is our State’s 2nd ever mayor to face criminal indictment.
Former Honolulu mayor Frank Fasi was indicted almost 40 years ago, but the indictment was dismissed when the chief prosecution witness refused to testify.
Almost every candidate associated with Mayor Kenoi in the primary election on August 13, 2016 lost resoundingly, most of all Kenoi’s former managing director/chief assistant Wally Lau, who insincerely uttered that Lau had nothing to do with Kenoi’s alleged felony theft.
Among Kenoi’s supporters who lost are Hawai’i County Council District 5 incumbent Danny Paleka; State Senate candidate District 1 Dennis “Fresh” Onishi; and State Senate candidate District 2 Greggor Ilagan.
Although mayor-elect Harry Kim rides the huge wave of restoring trust in government, Kim’s history as mayor shows profligate payroll expansion, thereby reversing fiscal stability of the previous Mayor Stephen Yamashiro administration 1992-2000, not to mention Kim’s exorbitant overtime pay as former civil defense director, and Kim’s recent attempted takeover of HCEOC. Mayor-elect Kim, like former Honolulu mayor Frank Fasi, tried to unseat Kim’s understudy Mayor Kenoi in 2012, just as Fasi tried to unseat Fasi’s understudy, Mayor Jeremy Harris.
Prosecutor candidate Mike Kagami also lost in a landslide to incumbent Mitch Roth. Kagami was Kenoi’s former corporation counsel Lincoln Ashida’s “ace in the hole,” so to speak (Ashida’s confidant), and Ashida himself lost to Mitch Roth for the vacant prosecutor’s seat in 2012, Ashida backed up by Kenoi’s “good ole’ boys” gang.
Former Honolulu mayor Jeremy Harris himself was the subject of campaign finance scandals, after engineers, architects, and other city contractors pled no contest to illegal donations to Harris’ campaign.
Harry Kim was the worst fiscal mayor in the history of Hawai’i County. Under Mayor Harry Kim employee rolls grew by 442 employees, from 2,681 to 3,123 — $59 million in new salaries – -not including the taxpayer contribution to retirement pensions, and lifetime medical and health benefit coverage, which taxpayers will pay seemingly into perpetuity.
Kim also lobbied for a taxpayer-funded $125 million trash incinerator.
Kim milked taxpayers in overtime as Civil Defense Director and actually was the highest paid government employee in the State, making more money than the governor did.
When the Kenoi administration did not give Kim a high profile position with the County, Kim tried to run HCEOC for Kim to stay in the public limelight.
Also under Kim’s watch was the inept handling of Public Works Dept.’s Stan Nakasone, the Highways Division Head, who allegedly awarded the curb, gutter and dry well cleaning contract to his friend and fellow County employee, Randy Riley.
And the alleged cronyism continues to this day. Look at Riley’s industrial baseyard in a residential area.
In his 2012 re-election campaign Mayor Kenoi outspent former mayor Harry Kim by a much larger margin than Wally Laui spent in this year’s primary race, yet Mayor Kenoi barely was able to eke out a hair-thin win over former mayor Kim. One could say that Harry Kim has great name recognition based on 1) trustworthiness and 2) dependability — that these 2 qualities surpass any thoughts of “guilt by association” regarding Wally Lau’s connection with Mayor Kenoi.
With regard to Mayor Kenoi’s likely outcome in criminal court, Mayor Kenoi’s attorney might cut a deal for a deferred acceptance of no contest plea to theft triggered by continual alcohol consumption, regardless of Mayor Kenoi’s prior “danc” for marijuana possession some 30 yrs. ago. Such a plea averts Mayor Kenoi’s potential disbarment as an attorney. Though 1)attorney general/prosecutor Taketa is not a white collar crime specialist (instead, violent crime field); and though 2) Taketa won’t ask for a change of venue (which decreases Kenoi’s chance of acquittal) because such move might trigger Mayor Kenoi’s appeal tactic to overturn a conviction against Mayor Kenoi based on Mayor Kenoi’s trial attorney not asking for a change of venue, which might result in ineffective assistance of counsel (Taketa also might’ve had to “consolidate” Honolulu’s Evergreen Lounge matter with Hilo’s matters); and though 3) the U.S. Attorney’s Office has not “federalized” Mayor Kenoi’s alleged crimes for federal prosecution (no double jeopardy here)(County Prosecutor Mitch Roth correctly referred Mayor Kenoi’s case to our State Attorney General , because Mayor Kenoi purse-strings our County Prosecutor’s budget) — despite these 3 supposed advantages for Mayor Kenoi — Mayor Kenoi’s attorney might not want to risk Mayor Kenoi’s being disbarred if Mayor Kenoi is convicted of a felony crime (theft).
H.R.S. Section 706-622.9 is the never-used (and never heard of even by attorneys and judges) statute by which Mayor Kenoi’s attorney might cop a plea to avert Mayor Kenoi’s potential disbarment. Section 706-622.9 says in part: “… a person convicted for the first time of any class C felony property offense … is eligible to be sentenced to probation … if the person … has been assessed by a certified substance abuse counselor to be in need of substance abuse treatment….” [includes alcohol treatment]