Reporter Nancy Cook Lauer continues to report on the story she broke last weekend regarding Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. Excerpt:
A state attorney general investigation and an ethics complaint are following this week’s revelations that Mayor Billy Kenoi regularly used a county-issued credit card for personal purchases ranging from a $1,200 surfboard to visits to Honolulu hostess bars.
County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said he and state Attorney General Douglas Chin discussed the issue Tuesday and decided it would be best for Chin to handle the investigation, to make it more independent of the county.
“With all the questions and inquiries and accusations, it just should be as transparent as possible,” Roth said Friday. “An independent review would be better than having another county agency look into it. …”
The county’s legislative auditor also is looking into the county’s use of purchasing cards, known as pCards. Auditor Bonnie Nims said last month the audit is ongoing and expected to wrap up in the next few months. She couldn’t be reached Friday for an update.
And, a Kapaau resident who previously filed election complaints in a County Council race said he plans to file an ethics complaint next week. …
Kenoi has paid back all personal expenses and apologized for his behavior. His county-issued purchasing card has also been torn up.
Kenoi, who is in the middle of his second and final term as mayor, has been said to be a potential candidate for governor or Congress.
Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Capitol in January.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
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