Saturday, January 28, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, April 11, 2022
DPP Scandal Spreads to Liquor Commission?
By Andrew Walden @ 5:18 AM :: 2979 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

Has the federal investigation of corruption in the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting spread to the Honolulu Liquor Commission?

In February, 2021, federal authorities busted five DPP employees and a local architect in a bribery scheme.  Four are now pleading guilty.

In his March 16, 2022, State of the City Address, Mayor Rick Blangiardi mentioned an internal DPP audit of ‘Third Party Reviewers’ while outlining plans to reform the crime-ridden department.

On March 7, 2022, just days before Blangiardi’s speech, Co-Vice Chair of Honolulu Liquor Commission, Darren Y Lee, resigned ‘effective immediately’.  Lee’s resignation became public at the March 10, 2022 Liquor Commission Meeting.

Lee is one of three ‘principals’ of Palekana Permitting and Planning, one of Honolulu’s leading party reviewers.  The company figured prominently in a February, 2020 Hawai’i Free Press article: ‘Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits.’

Lee had been serving on the Liquor Commission since 2016.  His term was renewed by Blangiardi in 2022 and would have continued until 2025 had he not resigned.  Another Palekana principal, Dennis Enomoto, served as Liquor Commission Chair from 2001 to 2011.

In his ‘immediate’ resignation letter, Lee explains: “Recently, issues both within the Liquor Commission and in the community with other directors, commissioners and elected officials have caused serious concern and made me re-focus my priorities to my profession and family.”

What are those ‘issues’ demanding an ‘immediate’ resignation?

Hawai’i Free Press asked Lee if he had been contacted by State or Federal investigators looking in to DPP corruption.  He did not respond to our request for comment.

Hawai’i Free Press is also seeking a copy of the internal DPP audit of third party reviewers.  In violation of UIPA, DPP has not provided us with a copy of the audit.


PDF: Resignation Letter

VIDEO: March 10, 2022 -- Liquor Comm Meeting where resignation was announced

Feb 2020: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

Dec 2020: Federal corruption probe targets DPP staffers

Feb 2021: Feds Bust Six in DPP Bribery Scheme


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii