Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha will have to pay back $250,000 he got from the city in a retirement deal because of the crimes he committed, a Circuit Court judge ruled on Tuesday.
The Honolulu Police Commission agreed to the quarter-million-dollar deal in 2017, while Kealoha was under criminal investigation. In exchange for letting him retire in good standing, he had to agree to pay the money back if, within six years, he was found guilty or pleaded guilty to any felonies related to his policing job.
Since then, he has been found guilty of felony conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges related to a scheme to frame his wife Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for the supposed theft of their mailbox. In addition, the former chief pleaded guilty to bank fraud. The case involved the filing of a false police report that purported to document his wife’s bogus claims of identity theft.
“There was an agreement,” said Honolulu attorney Duane Pang. “Kealoha failed to abide by the agreement.”
Kealoha did not respond to the city’s legal team, according to Pang. He did not file a response in court and was not represented by an attorney, according to court records.
Judge Bert Ayabe granted the city’s motion, ordering Kealoha to pay back the money. That is on top of the nearly $700,000 in restitution the now estranged Kealohas owe their victims, including the estate of Katherine Kealoha’s late grandmother Florence Puana.
Louis Kealoha continues to receive a Honolulu Police Department pension of about $9,700 a month.
Meanwhile, city taxpayers are still on the hook for Kealoha’s legal fees, according to another court ruling earlier this month.
That case relates to the Honolulu Police Commission’s decision in 2019 to approve Kealoha’s request for city-provided legal representation. The decision hinged on whether Kealoha was acting in the scope of his duties as the police chief when the events at the center of his criminal case occurred.
The City Council, which is in charge of approving city spending, unanimously voted to challenge the decision in court, but lost earlier this month.
Circuit Judge James Ashford ruled on Dec. 2 that the police commission did have the power to approve the hiring of Kealoha’s legal team, meaning the city is on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sign up for our FREE morning newsletter and face each day more informed.
Not a subscription
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.