As Katherine Kealoha spends her first days in jail following a guilty verdict in a public corruption trial, a Honolulu City Council member is seeking answers from the city agencies embroiled in the case.

To minimize future “operational breakdowns in employee supervision and oversight,” Councilman Ron Menor proposed a resolution Friday urging the Honolulu Police Department, the Police Commission and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to conduct internal reviews and establish corrective measures.

“The City Council has grave concerns as to how such abuses of power by the former chief of police and a high-ranking deputy prosecutor were allowed to go on, seemingly unchecked,” the resolution states.

Honolulu City Council member Ron Menor.
Honolulu City Council member Ron Menor wants to know why the Kealohas’ misconduct was allowed to go “unchecked.” Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

The resolution follows the criminal convictions of former deputy prosecuting attorney Katherin Kealoha, former police chief Louis Kealoha and two former officers on federal charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for attempting to frame Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for stealing the couple’s mailbox.

Menor’s resolution also cites other alleged misdeeds by Katherine Kealoha, including that she helped friends avoid criminal prosecution.

The resolution calls for:

  • An assessment of each entity’s policies and procedures governing employee supervision and oversight by senior personnel;
  • An evaluation of how the abuses of power in the Kealoha case were “able to flourish” within the framework of each agency’s operations;
  • A review of each organization’s standard operating procedures for reporting and investigating employee misconduct or procedural improprieties and the safeguards in place to protect whistleblowers;
  •  A set of recommendations for improvement

The reports should be submitted to the council no later than 180 days following adoption of the resolution, it states.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author