The case is the first local prosecution following a scandal exposed by federal investigators.

An elderly Honolulu architect is facing a state bribery charge after allegedly offering cash to a Honolulu plans examiner to approve a permit for a Wahiawa home.

Kiyoshi Toi, 89, was arrested on Friday following a grand jury indictment on July 21, according to a press release from the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office released Friday evening.

He is accused of trying to influence Alexander Laurente, an examiner in the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, court records state.

“It is, of course, illegal for government employees to solicit bribes,” Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said in a statement.

“It is also illegal for people to offer bribes in hope of circumventing the law,. In this case, the city worker recognized and refused the bribe and alerted his supervisor. He did the right thing.”

The case is the first of its kind to be filed since 2021 when the feds busted six people in a yearslong bribery scheme at DPP. Five former DPP workers – Wayne Inouye, Kanani Padeken, Jason Dadez, Jennie Javonillo and Jocelyn Godoy – pleaded guilty. Three were sentenced to prison time. Padeken and Godoy are awaiting sentencing. Additionally, architect Bill Wong pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for bribing city employees.

The local prosecution follows criticism from community members who have observed it’s often federal officials, not local law enforcement, who catch corruption in the islands. As a candidate, Alm campaigned in part on anti-corruption efforts and spoke extensively about his intent to restore public trust in tarnished government institutions.

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