Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Honolulu Corporation Counsel Leong targeted in federal corruption probe, Legislature to probe Ige Cabinet appointees, Hawaii County to consider GET increase, fishing reopens off Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Corruption scandal spills over into city hall as top attorney gets federal target letter. The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Honolulu’s top civil attorney that she’s a target in the federal corruption investigation that has already zeroed in on the city’s highest-ranking law enforcement officials. Hawaii News Now.

City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong, the city’s top civil attorney, went on paid leave effective today after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Police Corruption Probe Snags City’s Top Lawyer. Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong is the latest top city official to be named a target in the ongoing Justice Department investigation. Civil Beat.

City's top attorney on paid leave after getting target letter. Two years ago, Leong played a role in the $250,000 payment to Chief Louis Kealoha that led to his retirement. KITV.

City's top attorney receives target letter from feds. KHON2.

Honolulu police Sgt. Daniel Sellers was not in on the alleged mailbox theft conspiracy and is not expected to testify in the upcoming federal criminal trial against retired Police Chief Louis Kealoha, Kealoha’s former deputy prosecutor wife and three other former members of the Honolulu Police Department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit, according to details contained in Sellers’ plea agreement. Star-Advertiser.


Senators: Some Cabinet Nominees Won’t Make It. Some Hawaii senators say they aren’t inclined to confirm the governor’s choices for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Department of Budget and Finance and the Department of Public Safety. Civil Beat.

The former chief of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Monday that there’s no political will to deal with the consequences of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Tribune-Herald.

Federal workers are turning to loans and food banks — and looking for new jobs. For some federal workers, growing uncertainty about the government shutdown has them contemplating a career change. Hawaii News Now.

Coast Guard Members Continue Public Safety Missions, About to Miss Paycheck. On Tuesday, Members of the U.S. Coast Guard will miss their first paycheck since the partial federal shutdown began in December. Hawaii Public Radio.

Student loan debt in Hawaii has doubled since 2008 but is increasing at a slower rate than the national average, according to a report from Experian Consumer Service. Star-Advertiser.


The eight certified members of the Honolulu City Council voted unanimously to make Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi their interim chairwoman as a challenge to Trevor Ozawa’s 22-vote election day victory over Tommy Waters remains unresolved. Star-Advertiser.

Rail delays to cost $160m more. The Honolulu rail authority has tentatively agreed to pay contractor Ansaldo Honolulu JV $160 million as compensation for years of construction delays on the 20-mile rail line. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Will Pay Train Maker $160 Million To Cover Rail Delays. Rail officials said the settlement with Ansaldo covers a delay of more than 2,000 days. Civil Beat.

HART announces tentative settlement with contractor over costly delays. Ansaldo Honolulu had a $574 million contract to build the electrical system and facilities and maintenance buildings. Hawaii News Now.

Company owning Kakaako roads fined by state for failing to meet road safety standards. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Armed with an opinion from the state attorney general, Mayor Harry Kim is asking the County Council to consider raising the general excise tax. West Hawaii Today.

Bonnie Irwin, the current provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University Monterey Bay, was recommended for approval by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents as the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s next chancellor, it was announced Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Bonnie Irwin will take over as UH-Hilo chancellor on July 1, 2019, if the UH Board of Regents approves the recommendation at its January 31 meeting. Big Island Video News.

Officials seek innovative ways like community court as homeless solution. It’s one thing to have a site that can house and service dozens or even hundreds of homeless in West Hawaii. But it’s quite another to entice some of Kona’s most troubled residents to participate in the program. West Hawaii Today.

Eruption a factor in decrease of Big Isle home sales in 2018. Tribune-Herald.


The state Board of Land and Natural Resources voted Friday to reopen Bottomfish Restricted Areas off Hana and the Penguin Banks off Molokai/Lanai based on new data on bottom fish stocks in those areas. Maui News.

After 19 years of teaching students how to build cottages for kupuna and classrooms for their school, Rick Rutiz is stepping down as executive director of Ma Ka Hana Ka Ike.  Maui News.

HI SOUP, a community-project funding organization, is partnering with the Malamalama Maui Project to fund one of three community agriculture projects on Maui. The event will be held at Heritage Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. Maui Now.


State park officials have set March 30 as the projected completion date for the total reconstruction of public facilities at Haena State Park. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said Monday that Kaumualii Highway by the Hanapepe Bridge will be closed for one lane of alternating traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday in preparation for bridge construction work. Garden Island.

Dog kills nene, triggers altercation. Garden Island.

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