State Ethics Commission Resolves Charge Against Patrick Chong Tim, Conservation and Resources Enforcement Officer
From Hawaii State Ethics Commission February 24, 2020 (excerpts)
a) Respondent Chong Tim was, at all times relevant herein, employed by the State of Hawai‘i DLNR as a CREO III for DOCARE.
b) Prior to early-2019, Respondent Chong Tim was assigned to District 4, which encompasses Windward O‘ahu. His duties included enforcing state laws and regulations, investigating complaints, and conducting field observations and inspections as required. …
d) Respondent Chong Tim was also employed at iWaterman LLC (“iWaterman”), which is a private for-profit company formed in 2014. iWaterman trains law enforcement officers, military personnel, and other individuals on the use of marine reconnaissance vehicles, such as jet skis. Respondent Chong Tim became a paid trainer for iWaterman in 2015.
e) From 2018 to present, Respondent Chong Tim has also been a paid trainer for the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group, LLC (“BWRAG”), which is a private business whose activities include educating and training surfers in ocean risk management, safety protocols, and skills.
f) Respondent Chong Tim, by taking the following actions, used his state position and resources to assist iWaterman and/or BWRAG:
i. In or around May 2016, Respondent Chong Tim used his state radio during an iWaterman training for a private client.
ii. At least four times in 2018, Respondent Chong Tim used his state email account and/or his state title to facilitate and organize iWaterman trainings. Respondent Chong Tim used his state title by signing some of his email communications as: “CREO III Division of Conservation and Enforcement Resources [sic] Department of Land and Natural Resources.”
iii. On at least two occasions in 2017 and/or 2018, Respondent Chong Tim drove his state patrol vehicle to iWaterman trainings.
iv. On or about January 29, 2018, Respondent Chong Tim used state sick leave at DOCARE to attend and be paid for two days of a private iWaterman training.
v. In or around April 2018, Respondent Chong Tim utilized his state title in an email requesting additional space for “DLNR/iWaterman” to store items at Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi (“MCBH”). He stated that MCBH could proceed “with the use under DLNR as a partnering agency.” Respondent Chong Tim was not authorized to request additional storage space on behalf of DLNR, and his use of his state title and reference to DLNR falsely created the impression that he was requesting additional space on behalf of DLNR instead of iWaterman.
vi. On two occasions in 2018, Respondent Chong Tim utilized his state patrol vehicle to travel to and/or from the airport to attend BWRAG training events.
g) In or around 2018, Respondent Chong Tim assisted iWaterman in obtaining a Marine/Ocean Event Permit to allow it to operate in offshore Oahu waters from October-December 2018. Respondent Chong Tim personally met with officials from DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation regarding the permit, and thus represented iWaterman before his own state agency for pay.
h) In or around June 2018, Respondent Chong Tim took action as a state employee by discussing an official DLNR press release regardingiWaterman with a DOCARE official prior to its release. At the time of that discussion, Respondent Chong Tim was also a paid employee of iWaterman….
Given the violations of the State Ethics Code, the Commission believes it is reasonable, fair, and in the public interest to resolve the Charge by (1) issuing this Resolution of Charge, (2) requiring Respondent Chong Tim to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 to the State of Hawai‘i, and (3) referring this matter to DLNR/DOCARE for further action as appropriate. …
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