The Honolulu City Council on Thursday approved four resolutions authorizing the payment of up to $150,000 to retain the services of three outside law firms to represent Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha in four lawsuits.

Normally, the city’s Corporation Counsel would represent the city in all legal proceedings.

But because Kealoha recently sued the city and its Ethics Commission for investigating him, the Department of Corporation Counsel felt there was a potential conflict of interest if it represented Kealoha in other legal proceedings, according to the resolutions.

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha gestures as HPD Commissioner Sheehan questions him. 7 sept 2016

Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s suit against the city is forcing the city to find outside legal help to defend him in other lawsuits.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The four resolutions passed without any objections from City Council members.

The council approved up to $50,000 to pay the McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon law firm to defend Kealoha in a case brought by Christopher Baker after he was denied a license to carry an operable firearm in public. Another $50,000 was approved to pay the same firm to represent the chief in a case brought by Kirk Fisher, who was also denied a permit to carry a firearm.

The council also approved up to $25,000 to be paid to the law office of Cary T. Tanaka to represent the chief in a case brought by Jamie Kalani Rice, who claims HPD officers used excessive force on him after he was seen speaking and chanting to an endangered Hawaiian monk seal on Nanakuli Beach. He was also arrested after the incident.

Up to $25,000 was also approved to pay the Chung & Ikehara law firm to represent Kealoha in a case brought by the family of the late Sheldon Paul Haleck, who claimed that Haleck was killed by HPD officers and that Kealoha and Corporation Counsel Donna Leong tried to cover up the incident.

About the Author