by Andrew Walden
His term of office expired June 30, 2019, but Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Chair Damien Kim is still on the HART Board. Board members will be considering nomination of a new Chair at their next meeting Thursday, July 18, 2019, but Kim won’t be leaving then. Kim says he will stay until a replacement Board member is selected.
In a statement released July 15, 2019 by IBEW Local 1186, where Kim serves as President, Kim explains:
“After voluntarily serving on the HART Board for the past eight years, I termed out in June, I did not quit – the City Council of Honolulu and HART asked me to remain on the Board until a replacement is chosen, which I will gladly do for them.”
Kim tells Hawai’i Free Press his continued participation is necessary for HART Board to maintain a quorum. HART Board has ongoing difficulties maintaining a quorum due to legal ambiguities created when the Legislature added four new positions to the Board. A Honolulu Charter amendment designed to reduce quorum requirements failed in the November, 2018, election.
Says Kim, “The Honolulu City Council is currently seeking a replacement (for me), no estimate (as to how long that will take has been) given as of yet.”
We asked Kim for comment on the federal investigation of IBEW 1186 and Pegasus LLC / Pacific Equity LLC. He replied:
“No news to report as everything that was asked was complied to.”
Did Kim elect to term out because of the investigation?
“No. I have served for eight years and my term was over in June. I have a full-time job in running IBEW Local 1186 and this year, and next will be very important negotiations that will take up a lot of time. Due to the time constraints, I would not be able to help HART as much. HART takes up a lot of time as the Board is more involved.”
In April, HNN reported:
The FBI is investigating the local electrical workers’ and plumbers’ unions over a $6 million investment in a private company, Hawaii News Now has learned.
Back in December, FBI agents subpoenaed the financial records and board meeting minutes of the IBEW Local 1186 and the Plumbers & Fitters union, Local 675.
Local 1186 is headed by Damien Kim, who also serves as the chairman of the board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
There is an ongoing federal investigation into the project, but the investigation into the union situation is happening independently of any investigation into rail.
Sources said the feds want to know why Kim and Reginald Castanares, the former leader of the plumber’s union, each invested $3 million in union funds into a company called Pegasus LLC….
April 13, 2019: HART board chair under federal investigation — but it’s not about the rail project
June 19, 2019: Damien Kim Leaving HART Board as Federal Investigators Close in