by Andrew Walden
Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm could have bagged a drunk legislator, but instead he gave the Judiciary an opportunity to get the legislature off its back, budget-wise.
Of course, we are referring to the Alm’s subpoena of credit card records and video from the AnyPlace Lounge in Rep Sharon Har’s recently-dismissed DUI case.
It reads like Alm’s office was trying to expose the other legislators and lobbyists allegedly present at the bar the evening of Har’s February 22, 2021, DUI arrest.
It's good to have leverage.
After the Supreme Court’s recent gut-and-replace decision, one could expect another round of legislative attacks on the Judiciary this session.
Thanks to Judge Hartley’s bizarre acquittal and dismissal, it won’t happen.
Think back to March, 2021: Vaccinations had only just begun. COVID emergency orders banned all sit-down dining at bars and restaurants.
On March 19, 2021, Hawai’i Free Press received an anonymous tip:
Complaint was sent to State Ethics Commission and Campaign Spending Commission.
On night of Rep. Sharon Har DUI arrest, she was leaving an illegal party lobbyists threw at the Anyplace Cocktail Lounge on King Street.
Several lobbyists illegally paid for free drinks and food at the Anyplace bar for Har, Senate President Kouchi was the host, along with his Kauai buddy Rep. Tokioka (who defended Har during the appointment of the House investigative committee and opposed its formation), and other legislators from House and Senate.
See if this is swept under the rug by police? Just ask Kouchi and Tokioka where they were that night.....
Neither Kouchi, Tokioka, Har, nor her attorney Howard Luke responded to our request for comment.
Gary Kam of the Campaign Spending Commission told us: “The Campaign Spending Commission has not received a complaint concerning Representative Har.”
Dan Gluck of the Hawaii Ethics Commission responded: “Any complaints lodged with the Ethics Commission are required, by statute, to be kept confidential. As such, I would not be able to confirm whether the Commission has received a specific complaint.”
The Prosecutor’s March 12, 2021, subpoena demands include:
A copy of video surveillance at the premises of AnyPlace Cocktail Lounge on February 22, 2021, from 4:00pm -10:00 pm.
'Merchant copies' of credit card and debit card receipts reflecting payment by credit or debit card on that date during that time period; and
Records of food and drink orders that correspond to the foregoing credit or debit card payments on that date during that time period.
Imagine perusing credit card receipts showing which lobbyists bought alcohol for which legislators while watching highlights from six hours of video of their illegal mask-free bar party held in the midst of statewide COVID lockdowns.
Page 126 of Har’s DUI case file (1DTA-21-00387) shows $133.75 paid at Anyplace Lounge at 10:07pm February 22, 2021, by James Kawaihalau, co-owner of 808 Support Services, apparently including the four beers allegedly ordered by Har between 7:27pm and 7:49pm. Use Google and think: Construction industry and HECO.
Will this be included in Sharon Har’s 2021 Gift Disclosure report?
Har was arrested at 10:20pm.
And the Judiciary finally got the leverage it needed to get the Legislature off its back.
Asked for comment, Kawaihalau responded with one word:
If someone has those six hours of subpoenaed video from AnyPlace Lounge, we have two words of advice:
VIDEO: Rep Har DUI Arrest: Smelled of Alcohol, Yelled 'Black Lives Matter'
PDF: Har DUI Case File