Hawaii Island Elections Administrator, Former Senior Elections Clerk, File Defamation and Negligence Lawsuits
News Release from Office of Ted Hong, Plaintiffs’ Attorney, September 6, 2012
Yesterday afternoon, Elections Administrator, Patricia Nakamoto, and former Senior Elections Clerk, Shyla Ayau, filed separate defamation and negligence lawsuits.
They have sued Hawaii County Clerk (Jamae Kawauchi), Hawaii County Council Chair (Dominic Yagong) in their individual and official capacities as well as the private investigator that Yagong hired. The County of Hawaii is also named because at the time of the decision, Kawauchi and Yagong may have been acting in their official capacity as County officers.
The lawsuit alleges: (1) Defamation as a matter of law; (2) Defamation as a result of negligence; (3) Invasion of Privacy and putting Nakamoto and Ayau in a false light; (4) Negligent investigation; and (5) Negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit also alleges that the repeated publication and leaking of false information to the media injured their reputations and standing in the community. Each lawsuit specifically points to confidential information that had been intentionally and deliberately disclosed by Kawauchi and Yagong to support their decision to terminate Nakamoto and Ayau. The Complaint also refers to specific incidents where information that was required by law to be remain confidential was also leaked to the media.
Of the original four County Elections Workers that were fired by Kawauchi and Yagong, three have been reinstated and given their jobs back. The fourth employee had an union arbitration scheduled for October, 2012.
Hong commented that Kawauchi, Yagong and the “Gang of Four” in the current Council leadership intentionally ignored this problem, rejected every opportunity to resolve this problem, and left Nakamoto and Ayau no choice but to file this lawsuit. Hong stated that it is tragic that pride and politics was more important to Yagong, and Council members like Brenda Ford, which will now result in a huge and unnecessary expense to County taxpayers.