UPDATED 6/6/11 10:47 a.m.

Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle is redecorating his office for $7,351.

The cost of new drapes and other renovations will be paid for from gifts from two Honolulu residents.

The Honolulu City Council on Friday approved the mayor’s acceptance of the gifts. Managing Director Doug Chin described the gifts in letters to the council on May 17. Carlisle is accepting:

  • Custom-made drapes valued at $1,508.48 from Lauren Wright, of Hawaiian Golf Properties, who will buy them from Wong’s Drapery (read the city document describing the drapes
  • $2,146.81 in renovations to the mayor’s office from Wright
  • $3,696 in renovations to the mayor’s office from Christopher Racine

In addition to the new drapes, planned renovations include:

  • Removing one layer of fabric wall-covering
  • Patching wall-covering, two different colors
  • Installing new wall-covering

Section 13 of the Honolulu City Charter enables the council to accept gifts to the city, and the Honolulu Ethics Commission provides detailed guidelines on what kinds of gifts are appropriate.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto said he’s not authorized to disclose whether Carlisle sought advice about the gift.1

“Assuming the office renovations are a gift to the city, the gift would have to comply with Resolution 05-349, CD1, FD1,” Totto told Civil Beat in an email on Monday. “Note the definition of ‘gift’ does not necessarily include a gift of services for the renovation, but would presumably include the materials.”

Chin told Civil Beat the gifts were for both the large office into which the mayor invites reporters and other members of the public for press conferences and ceremonies and the smaller, private office attached to that room.

“The gifts to the City approved by Council on Friday were for both: Mayor’s inner private office (wallpaper damage) and the ceremonial office (drapes).”

The gifts aren’t considered political contributions, but it appears both Wright and Racine are active in local political campaigns.

Wright contributed to Carlisle’s mayoral campaign, donating $250 in September 2010 (other political contributions Wright has made include $500 to Mufi Hannemann in November 2009 and $2,000 to George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign).

In city records outlining the renovations, Racine’s address is listed as a post-office box, so it’s not clear if he is the same Christopher Racine of Honolulu who donated $6,000 to James “Duke” Aiona’s campaign for governor in October 2010. Judith Racine, of the same address, also gave $6,000 to Aiona.

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