HILO, Hawaii — The deputy attorney general prosecuting Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on theft charges has accused the mayor of using his government-issued credit card to buy “exorbitant amounts of alcohol.”
Deputy Attorney General Kevin Takata filed court documents saying a majority of the 15 card receipts presented to jurors of Kenoi’s personal purchases were related to alcohol. He also says the alleged purchases made on his card weren’t reimbursed until media requests seeking copies of the mayor’s card records were filed.
A grand jury indicted Kenoi in March on charges of theft, tampering with public records and making a false statement under oath. The charges stem from the alleged misuse of his card from 2011 to 2015.
A yearlong investigation by the state Attorney General Office’s was launched in April 2015 after Kenoi acknowledged he used the credit card to cover personal expenses that included nearly $900 at a Honolulu bar. He was also accused of charging a $1,200 surfboard and nearly $2,000 worth of bicycle equipment to the card.
Other bar tab purchases included $400 at another Honolulu hostess bar and $700 at a Hilo karaoke bar, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2c3dW6j).
The county followed with its own audit in July 2015 and found that 145 transactions totaling $23,683 from the mayor’s office were questionable, didn’t follow county policy or might have violated state law.
Kenoi reimbursed the county for $22,292 in charges between January 2009 and March 2015. He later paid back an additional $9,500.
Todd Eddin, Kenoi’s attorney, filed several motions on Aug. 8 to have the case dismissed. The motions claim a “violation of the defendant’s right to a fair and impartial grand jury proceedings” and a “violation of (Kenoi’s) due process rights.” One motion to dismiss two theft charges against Kenoi is “based on failure to provide adequate notice as to the terms of the charges,” according to court records.
In his response to the motions, Takata said the mayor “alleges that his status as a public figure entitles him to special consideration that has never been extended to any other criminal defendant.”
A judge will consider the motions at a Friday hearing.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/