The highest ranking Honolulu permitting employee to be implicated in a federal bribery scandal intends to plead guilty in the case this month, court records show.

Former chief building examiner Wayne Inouye previously pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting bribes while working in the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. Between 2012 and 2017, federal prosecutors say Inouye accepted over $100,000 from customers in exchange for expediting permits through the city’s notoriously slow bureaucracy.

Federal Building and US Courthouse.
Inouye is scheduled to appear in federal court on Oct. 17. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Inouye’s trial was scheduled for November. However, his attorney Thomas Otake informed the court this week that Inouye will change his plea to guilty. The details are still being sorted out, according to Otake, who declined to comment further. A plea agreement has not yet been entered into the court record.

A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17 in federal court.

Inouye retired from the department in 2017 after having worked there since 1979.

In pleading guilty, Inouye joins three of his former colleagues and one of his customers who also admitted to their roles in the bribery scheme.

Former building plans examiner Jennie Javonillo, who worked for DPP for 32 years, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for taking over $63,000 in bribes over the course of a decade. Jason Dadez, a former building inspector, also pleaded guilty and admitted to providing favorable treatment for solar panel permit applicants at $100 a pop. He was sentenced in July to 18 months behind bars.

Former building plans examiner Kanani Padeken and Bill Wong, the Honolulu architect who bribed her with at least $28,000 between 2017 and 2020, have also pleaded guilty. Their sentencing hearings have been delayed until December.

The last defendant standing is Jocelyn Godoy, who worked in DPP’s data access and imaging branch. She has maintained her not guilty plea and is scheduled to stand trial beginning Jan. 23. 

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