Department of Planning and Permitting Examiner Sentenced to Ten Months in Prison for Bribery Scheme
News Release from U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii, Wednesday, September 6, 2023
HONOLULU – Kanani Padeken, 38, of Kaaawa, was sentenced today in federal court by Chief United States District Judge Derrick K. Watson to ten months imprisonment, two years supervised release, and forfeiture of the $28,400 in bribes she took in exchange for expediting the approval of permits issued by the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) of the City and County of Honolulu. The sentence reflects Padeken’s substantial assistance to the government in the investigation and prosecution of others.
After a lengthy investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into corruption at the DPP, honest services wire fraud charges were filed against six individuals, including Padeken, arising out of schemes in which employees of the DPP took bribes in exchange for performing official acts at DPP. The other five defendants also entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced:
• Wayne Inouye, 66, of Honolulu, a former Chief Building Inspector at DPP, was sentenced on May 24, 2023, to 60 months imprisonment, two years supervised release, and a $100,000 fine for taking more than $103,000 in bribes and for making false statements to federal investigators with intent to conceal his crimes, in Cr. No. 21-00034 LEK. Because Inouye returned the bribe money after learning of the government’s investigation, a fine, rather than forfeiture, was sought by the government.
• Jennie Javonillo, 73, of Waipahu, a former Building Plans Examiner at DPP, was sentenced on June 27, 2022, to 30 months imprisonment, two years supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and forfeiture of the $58,000 in bribes she took, in Cr. No. 21-00038 DKW.
• Jason Dadez, 45, of Honolulu, a former Building Inspector at DPP, was sentenced on July 6, 2022, to 18 months imprisonment, two years supervised release, and forfeiture of the $12,900 in bribes he took, in Cr. No. 21-00037 DKW.
• William Wong, 73, of Honolulu, an architect, was sentenced on July 27, 2023, to 12 months and one day imprisonment, three years supervised release, and a fine of $5,000, for making bribes of more than $117,000 to DPP employees, in Cr. No. 21-00041 DKW. The sentence reflects Wong’s substantial assistance to the government in the investigation and prosecution of others.
• Jocelyn Godoy, 60, of Pearl City, a former employee of the Data Access and Imaging Branch at DPP, was sentenced on August 30, 2023, to 60 days imprisonment and two years supervised release for taking more than $800 in bribes, in Cr. No. 21-00036 DKW. The sentence reflects Godoy’s substantial assistance to the government in the investigation and prosecution of others.
According to information presented to the court, while employed by DPP as a Building Plans Examiner at DPP, Padeken solicited bribes from architects and others in exchange for expediting the approval of building permits by DPP. Those who paid bribes to Padeken had their permit applications sped through the DPP approval process ahead of other applications. From January 2017 to March 2020, Padeken solicited and accepted bribes of at least $28,400 from Wong.
“This series of prosecutions exposed a pay-to-play system whereby public officials blithely violated their positions of trust for personal gain, and businesspersons readily bought an unfair advantage over their fellow law-abiding citizens,” said United States Attorney Clare E. Connors. “Because the people of Hawaii deserve honest and accountable public institutions, our office will vigorously pursue these types of integrity crimes and do our part to restore confidence in government.”
“This sentence marks the end of these DPP employees scheming and accepting bribes, thus corrupting the system,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “Today’s sentence reinforces to the public that the FBI remains committed in investigating and holding those accountable as they deprived the people of Honolulu of the honest services to which they’re entitled.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that resulted in the convictions. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Nammar and Craig Nolan prosecuted the case