Maui County is seeking a contractor to investigate what went wrong with the county’s granting of construction permits that allowed a monster house to go up in Napili, prompting public outcry and accusations of wrongdoing.

Maui locator map

The Office of Council Services on Wednesday published a request for proposals for someone to conduct a formal legislative investigation of Maui County’s Planning and Public Works departments related to their approval of development permits for the massive structure at 5385 Lower Honoapiilani Road. The towering home, which dwarfs any nearby structure, is under construction by developer Greg Brown.

Maui Monster house
Developer Greg Brown is building this home on Maui. Ryan Siphers/Civil Beat/2022

Proposals are due by Sept. 29 and the deadline for the final report is Dec. 5.

Subpoena power may be invoked to summon the director and deputy planning directors, zoning administration and enforcement division administrator, the director and deputy directors of public works, the development services administrator and assistant administrator and building plan examiners, the RFP says.

The investigation is under the purview of Council member Tamara Paltin’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee. Paltin represents West Maui and lives near the Brown structure.

Tamara Paltin, Maui County Council member, West Maui District 

The committee can summon anyone needed to complete the investigation whether they are elected, appointed or employed by the county. Others, including former county employees, can be asked to appear and testify on a voluntary basis, the document says.

In August, the Maui County Council authorized Paltin’s committee to conduct the investigation.

Maui resident Kamanu Balinbin has testified before the Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee and has signed a sworn declaration that he has inside knowledge of a county employee receiving a bribe that allowed Brown to get permits to build his gargantuan house in violation of county codes.

Paltin has said she won’t schedule a hearing on the matter until she has received written documentation from Balinbin and others who are alleging wrongdoing.

“Still have not received any info from Napili bay community association,” Paltin wrote in a text message late Thursday afternoon.

The Napili Bay Community Association formed in response to the Brown development. Its members have strongly and vocally criticized how the county has handled the matter and have called for county officials to be investigated.

Paltin decided to hire an outside investigator after meeting with the director and deputy director of the Office of Council Services, the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee’s legislative attorney and the Maui County Council chair, she said.

Planning Director Michele McLean said by email she had not reviewed the RFP so she could not comment on it specifically. But she said her department has provided all the relevant and requested information and will continue to do so.

“We have acknowledged that errors were made, and they have been corrected, and we are confident that the investigation will find that our actions were appropriate throughout this process,” McLean said.

Read Kamanu Balibin’s sworn declaration:

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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