RFP Posted for Honolulu Ethics Commission Audit
Ewa Villages Convict Released to Money Shower—Collected Pension for 15 Years while in Prison
SA: The state says former city Housing Department employee Michael Kahapea has paid just $50 toward the $365,000 he was fined for stealing millions of dollars from the city’s ill-fated Ewa Villages project, so it’s going after Kahapea’s state retirement payments for the rest.
The state attorney general filed a civil lawsuit in state court Wednesday against Kahapea and the state Employees’ Retirement System.
The lawsuit says Kahapea is believed to be receiving a state government pension (thanks, HGEA) based on his years working for the city. (It has been paid out for years and they are finally getting around to) It is seeking garnishment of Kahapea’s state pension for $364,950 plus 10 percent annual interest from the date of Kahapea’s October 2000 state court sentence….
A state jury found Kahapea guilty in August 2000 of 23 counts of theft, 11 counts of forgery, five counts of unlawful ownership of a business, two counts of money laundering, two counts of failing to report income and one count of bribery.
Lee told the jury that Kahapea diverted $5.8 million from the Ewa Villages relocation fund to himself, family and friends through bogus moving companies and false and inflated moving expenses. He used the money on frequent trips to Las Vegas, where casinos came to recognize him as a high roller, and had even chartered a plane there for friends and family.
Circuit Judge Rey Graulty sentenced Kahapea to five consecutive 10-year prison terms. He also fined Kahapea $365,000…. (5x10=50)
By the time Kahapea went to trial, he had been fired from his city job….
Hawaii Paroling Authority Administrator Tommy Johnson says Kahapea became eligible for parole in 2012, but it wasn’t until May 2015 when the board granted him parole. He said Kahapea was released in July 2015…. (5x10=15 per HPA Soft on Crime Math)
read … Corruption Pays Off Again and Again
DoE School Construction: “Malfeasance, confusion, lack of process and no oversight”
MN: …The new wing at Maui Waena, the fifth largest intermediate school in the state with 1,183 students, was first proposed in 2005, and then-Gov. Linda Lingle released $8.7 million for the project in 2007. At the time, construction was slated to begin in 2008 and completed a year later.
In December 2013, Ray L’Heureux, then assistant superintendent for facilities, told a meeting at the school that construction would begin by the end of that year.
Ground-breaking did not occur until July 2014. Officials said then that construction would take a year and that the classrooms would be ready for the beginning of the 2015-16 school year….
Since then, there have been more delays. Move-in dates have been pushed back to October and now possibly January.
The initial delays were blamed on a “soap opera” of “malfeasance, confusion, lack of process and no oversight” with much of the blame falling on the original contractor, L’Heureux told the Maui Waena gathering in 2013. Education Department spokesman Brent Suyama said in April that the contractor did not to meet regulatory requirements, including failing to complete an environmental assessment on time, which delayed the initial permits.
“The DOE continues to make adjustments to their processes,” Woodson said, adding that he didn’t know if legislation was necessary to fix the system. He did say that “a lot of it is systemic” relating to how the state goes about building and repairing school buildings.
The items that need to be completed include the installation of Wi-Fi, which is needed to run the phones and security system, and of a phone and heat sensor in the elevator to make it operational, and obtaining a variance from having to install a septic system for disposal of chemicals from the science lab, Yap said.
Furniture for the first floor has arrived but not for the second floor, Yap said. That may be just as well because the furniture cannot be moved upstairs without the elevator.
No date has been set for a final walk-through, he said.
The building may not be ready for people, but it is currently being cooled by an air conditioner on a timer, which school officials have been hesitant to adjust, Yap indicated….
read … Maui Waena building move-in date delayed again
Proposed affordability rules for Kakaako draw concern
HNN: …developers say a new draft proposal for future affordable housing in Kakaako will make it harder to build middle-income projects like theirs.
"I don't see us doing another 801 if the proposed rules go through. I don't see it," said Dale Nishikawa, CEO of Marcus & Associates, which heads sales for the project.
"From a sales standpoint, we would be uncomfortable with trying to sell 1,000 units under rules like that. I don't believe we would be able to do it."
Under the draft rules, the Hawaii Community Development Authority wants to lower maximum income for buyers from 140 percent to 120 percent of median income.
This would make the affordable homes available for people who make less money. But it will also mean fewer people would be eligible to buy into workforce housing projects.
For a family of four, the new rules will drop the maximum incomes from about $120,000 to $100,000 a year.
HCDA officials say a recent city study showed that 120 percent area median income level is where most of the demand for housing is….
Related: Ethics complaint: HCDA Falsifies Kakaako Workforce Housing Affordability Formulas
read … Proposed affordability rules for Kakaako draw concern
Paradise for Lawyers: UH law school graduates can pay off loans quickly
SA: University of Hawaii law school graduates attract starting salaries that give them a good shot at paying off their debt quickly, a national magazine reports.
U.S. News and World Report said earlier this month that the UH William S. Richardson School of Law is one of the 10 best law schools in the country in terms of starting salaries that exceed the debt that graduates carry.
read … Lawyer Paradise