Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his prosecutor wife, Katherine, are suing the city Ethics Commission to try to stop an investigation into the circumstances surrounding their missing mailbox.

It’s a convoluted case that came to light about a year ago, and involves a bitter family dispute over money, allegations of a frame job and concerns about the abuse of government power.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission launched an investigation into the matter several months ago, but has been tight-lipped ever since. The case has also been forwarded to the FBI.

Honolulu Police Department Chief Louis Kealoha sits during anouncement of Smart 911 at HPD headquarters. 9 sept 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, right, has been under scrutiny over the past year. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Kealohas contend in a lawsuit filed Sept. 4 that they’ve been unfairly targeted by the Ethics Commission, and they want a judge to dismiss the investigation.

They say the commission has refused to provide them with the official complaint that has been made against them or any of the investigative materials that have been compiled.

According to the lawsuit, this information is necessary so the Kealohas can mount a proper defense to any allegations that might have been lodged against them.

The Kealohas also say Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto and a former investigator, Letha DeCaires, are “not qualified” to investigate the case due to “a conflict of interest.” The lawsuit does not specify what the conflict is.

Kevin Sumida, who is representing the Kealohas, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Kealohas filed the suit under the names of “Doe” and “Roe” to protect their “privacy interest.”

Such a tactic is typically reserved for plaintiffs who might suffer from public ridicule should their names be included in a publicly available lawsuit

Well-known Honolulu defense attorney Marcus Landsberg says it’s strange that the Kealohas sought anonymity considering the publicity surrounding their case and the fact that they’re both public figures.

But he said the underlying claims of the lawsuit are even more intriguing.

“You normally don’t sue the Ethics Commission,” Landsberg said. “Normally what you should do is say that I would like the Ethics Commission to investigate me so they can exonerate me of any ethical problems.”

The lawsuit was initially reported by Hawaii News Now.

Read the lawsuit here:

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