ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE HAWAIʻI COUNTY MAYOR’S USE OF GOVERNMENT PURCHASING CARD
News Release from Office of the Attorney General, April 14, 2015
HONOLULU – Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that, at the request of Hawaiʻi County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, the attorney general’s office will investigate facts related to Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s use of his county-issued purchasing card, or PCard.
“In discussions with the county prosecutor and Hawaiʻi County Police Chief Kubojiri, we have concluded an independent investigation may guard against an appearance of conflict under these circumstances,” said Chin. “I appreciate Prosecutor Roth and Chief Kubojiri for their cooperation and support of the law enforcement community.”
Facts learned during the course of the investigation will determine whether the attorney general’s office pursues or recommends criminal charges, administrative discipline or no further action. Mayor Kenoi has not been charged with a crime. A criminal conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a violation of law.
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The Honorable Douglas S. Chin
Dear Mr. Chin, April 6, 2015
Per our conversations over the last week regarding Mayor Kenai's expenses on his county PCard, I am writing this letter requesting that the Attorney General review the facts and determine if further action needs to be taken.
The events related to the Mayor's actions have garnered an unusual amount of public attention and have called into question government trust and integrity. For this reason, I believe it is important to restore trust in the Government and that the Mayor's actions are reviewed in the cleanest most independent and transparent way possible.
While my position as the Prosecuting Attorney is an elected position, independent of the Mayor's Office, my First Deputy Dale Ross and I sit in on the Mayor's Cabinet meeting.
Further, my office is currently preparing for hearings on our departmental budget. Both the Mayor's office and the Fiscal Department of the County play a major role in approving the budget. While we do not believe that either the Mayor or the Fiscal Department would use a review of the Mayor's PCard use by our Department as a factor in determining our budget, it does create the appearance of a conflict which people already have brought up.
Per our conversation, I am attaching the County's "Purchasing Card Cardholder Agreement" and the "Purchasing Card Program and Procedures" to this letter.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Mitchell D. Roth
PDF: FULL TEXT with attachments
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Kenoi Blames Investigation for "Pain to my family"
Statement issued by Billy Kenoi, April 14, 2015
“I respect the decision by the Department of the Attorney General, and will cooperate fully as the process unfolds. I remain committed to the people of Hawaii Island and to my responsibilities as Mayor. I deeply regret the pain that this investigation will cause to my family and to the fine people of our community. I do not anticipate making further public statements regarding this matter. Thank you.”