The chief and his wife, Katherine Kealoha, a high-ranking city prosecutor, blamed her uncle, Gerard Puana, for the theft. But after allegations surfaced that the Kealohas framed Puana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office forwarded the case to the FBI.
Since then a special prosecutor out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego has been assigned to the case, and grand jury proceedings are underway.
Essentially, Caldwell called on Kealoha to be more transparent about the investigation and his involvement in the case.
The chief has been quiet on the matter, and has refused numerous interview requests on the subject.
“I’ve actually told the chief, perception becomes reality,” Caldwell told Hawaii News Now. “I’ve encouraged him from time to time to step out and say more. That’s about as much as I can do as mayor.”
That’s a big turnaround for Caldwell, who last year refused to comment on any of the allegations surrounding the chief.
When Civil Beat asked the mayor on several occasions to discuss Kealoha and the impending investigation, it was rebuffed.
The only thing Caldwell said was that the case was “in litigation and it’s a private matter so we can’t talk about it.”
University of Hawaii political science professor Colin Moore tried to put Caldwell’s recent comments into context.
He told Hawaii News Now that the mayor — who’s up for re-election in 2016 — might be trying to distance himself from the chief.
“(Caldwell’s) worried that the community doesn’t trust him,” Moore said. “I think maybe he sees this as a way to separate himself from the scandal early on.”
The mayor declined a Civil Beat request for an interview Thursday. Kealoha also declined to comment.
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