The Hawaii State Ethics Commission announced Tuesday that it has resolved its investigation into Big Island Sen. Josh Green’s failure to disclose property he owns on Oahu.

The commission decided to agree to a settlement in which the senator must pay a $300 administrative penalty, giving him a lighter penalty in large part because of his cooperation in the investigation.

“The Commission believed that Senator Green should have exercised greater care when completing his financial disclosure statements,” the commission wrote in its resolution of investigation.

Sen Josh Green listens during Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health as Chair Roslyn Baker speaks with senators during meeting about SB2478 relating to long-term elderly care at the Capitol.
Sen. Josh Green, seen here during a legislative hearing last session, says his failure to report his Honolulu property to the Ethics Commission was a misunderstanding of the law’s requirements. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“The Commission was also concerned that information required to be listed on Senator Green’s disclosure statements went unreported for so long. Nevertheless, based on the totality of circumstances in this case, including Senator Green’s cooperation and his immediate efforts to correct his previous financial disclosure statements, the Commission did not believe that further investigation or administrative action was in the public interest.”

Civil Beat reported in March that Green owned property in Honolulu and was living on Oahu part-time, raising residency questions.

Green, who has served in the Legislature since first being elected in 2004, currently represents District 3, which includes the Kona-Kau area of the Big Island.

The commission did not take up residency issues, instead focusing on the required financial disclosure statements that lawmakers and other public officials are required to file each year.

The commission found that in 2005, Green acquired an ownership interest in an Executive Centre condominium unit in Honolulu, where he resided from 2005 to 2010 when working at the Legislature.

In 2010, the commission found that he moved to another property but still owns the Executive Centre property, which he rented out in 2013 and 2014.

“The financial disclosure law required Senator Green to report his interest in the Executive Centre property on his financial disclosure statements from 2011 up to the present,” the commission wrote in its resolution. “However, Senator Green’s financial disclosure statements for this period of time did not include the required information about his interest in the Executive Centre property.”

Green explained to the commission that he did not report his interest in the property due to “a misunderstanding” of the financial disclosure reporting requirement.

“Senator Green stated that he had always considered the property to be for his ‘personal use’ while away from his home in Kona,” the commission wrote. “He stated that he did not view the Executive Centre property as ‘an investment property’ and therefore did not report his ownership interest.”

Read the full resolution from the commission below.

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