State Sen. David Ige announced Monday that he would not be supporting Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s appointment of Brian Tamamoto to fill a small-business seat with the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

Ige maintains it’s not about the person, at least not Tamamoto. 

In reality, it’s more about bucking his political rival. Ige is running against Abercrombie for governor in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary. 

Ige said he doesn’t think the company Tamamoto works for, Royal Holdings, LLC, is a small business under the law, defined as an “independently owned and which is not dominant in its field of operations.”

“This is not about an individual or company,” Ige said in a Senate news release. “It is the principle as this position is designated for a small-business representative and I question if a holding company of the Kobayashi Group fits the definition. Citizens are concerned already about the make-up of the HCDA and the pace at which it is approving projects.”

The release says the 40-story Royal Capitol Plaza, the first residential project HCDA approved, is among the Kobayashi Group’s projects in Kakaako.

Soon after the Senate release went out, Ige posted it on his campaign website

Ige said he won’t vote for Tamamoto at the Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.

Read past Civil Beat coverage of the gubernatorial race here.

Nathan Eagle

Photo: State Sen. David Ige. (Civil Beat file)