KHON2 has a new assignment editor starting Monday, and he’s a familiar face in Honolulu’s media and political worlds: Nestor Garcia.

This will be Garcia’s third stint with the local FOX affiliate. He was a reporter from 1981 to 1991 and from February 2014 to June 2015.

“I see my role as being a mentor to some of these young people — young enough to be my daughter,” Garcia said. “I just want to see to it that the reporters have the resources so that they can do their jobs.”

Garcia resigned from the station last year not long after it was reported that he agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines related to ethics violations from his time as a Honolulu City Council member from 2003 to 2013.

KHON reporter Nestor Garcia in a 2011 photograph toward the end of his decade-long tenure on the Honolulu City Council.
KHON reporter Nestor Garcia in a 2011 photograph toward the end of his decade-long tenure on the Honolulu City Council. KHON

He paid an $8,100 civil fine in connection with accusations that he accepted prohibited gifts from lobbyists and failed to disclose conflicts of interest when he voted on legislation that affected those lobbyists, Civil Beat reported in May 2015.

In January of that year, the Honolulu Ethics Commission found probable cause that Garcia had violated laws regarding acceptance of prohibited gifts as well as the failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

Garcia accepted more than $1,700 worth of gifts such as free meals and golf to talk to lobbyists about rail, transit-oriented development, growth in Kapolei and other issues before the Council, the commission determined.

Garcia was also fined $6,500 by the commission, in 2012, for breaking conflict of interest rules and misusing city resources in his paid capacity as the executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce.

The fine was the largest in the history of the Ethics Commission.

Garcia said the news world had changed a lot since he was a reporter, in particular the rise of social media.

“We have to try to keep news fresh and pertinent, and from a variety of sources,” he said.

Asked if he would be assigning stories involving the City Council or the Hawaii Legislature, he said he would “keep my eye on them.”

But he said the KHON newsroom is primarily “producer-driven.”

“I’ll be sitting behind a desk,” he said.

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